Tycoons Rush as Burmese Insurance Privatized

By May Lay 7 September 2012

A dozen private companies have been given permits to offer insurance services in Burma for the first time since 1963—including subsidiaries of tycoon-run Max Myanmar, Kanbawza Bank and AsiaWorld.

Burma’s Insurance Business Supervisory Board (IBSB) was set up by state-run Myanma Insurance to monitor the industry and representatives told a press conference on Wednesday that only 12 out of 20 applicant firms met the necessary standards.

“Our IBSB rejected eight from the 20 companies which applied as two didn’t have the necessary capital amount, one was requesting be an insurance dealer and four companies would be set up by selling shares to the public. Insurance companies need a strong capital background. Finally we found only 12 companies that met the criteria of IBSB,” said Aye Min Tun, president of Myanma Insurance.

Subsidiaries of Max Myanmar, run by tycoon Zaw Zaw who has close ties to the former junta, AsiaWorld, founded by infamous heroin trafficker Lo Hsing Han, and Kanbawza Bank, chaired by Western sanctions listed Aung Ko Win, are amongst those companies approved.

Six billion kyat capital is needed to offer life insurance while 40 billion kyat in necessary for general insurance—including car insurance, fire insurance, money exchange insurance, cash transfer insurance and insurance of valuables.

“These 12 companies are not yet sure if they will start offering insurance services or not,” added Aye Min Tun. “They have just passed the registration step. They now have to pass some more important steps to get insurance business permission.

“They also have to send the limited capital amount of their money to the Myanma Economic Bank. We will then check to see if this money is white or black-market by seeing if tax has been paid.”

Prospective firms had to lodge application forms with Myanma Insurance by June 29.

The 12 private insurance companies which passed registration are: Apex Insurance Company (AGD-Asia Green Development Bank), I.K.B.Z Insurance Public Company (Kanbawza Bank), Great Future International Insurance Company, Capital Life ltd Insurance Application. (Diamond Star), Global Standard Insurance Public Company (Shwe Taung Business Group), Green Asia Insurance Company (Asia World) Jade King and Jade Queen Service Company, Myawaddy Insurance Company (Myawaddy Bank), Pillar of Truth Insurance Company (local oil and gas company), Citizen Business Company (Co-operative Bank), Ayeyar Myanmar Insurance Company (Max-Myanmar), Myintmo Min Insurance Company (Myanmar Economic Corporation).