Insurance firms report a slowdown in growth

17:09 | 04/02/2013
Foreign non-life insurance companies in Vietnam experienced a declining growth rate in 2012 as the local market struggled with economic difficulties.

Liberty Insurance Vietnam, one of the strongest foreign players in Vietnamese insurance market, in 2012 posted annual growth in premium revenues down to 10.11 per cent, compared to 68 per cent in 2011. Direct premiums for US-based insurer increased 10 per cent year-on-year, after soaring nearly 70 per cent in 2011.

Several foreign insurers which grew rapidly in previous years – including France-backed Groupama, the Korea-Vietnam joint venture Samsung Vina, ACE Insurance (Vietnam) and Taiwan’s Fubon – saw their growths in premium revenue slide back  to nearly the general level of the whole market.

Annual growths of Groupama sunk to 41 per cent, following  2011’s 148 per cent and 2010’s 228 per cent. Growth of Fubon declined to 16.6 per cent, following 2011’s 44 per cent and 2010’s 98 per cent.  Growth at Samsung Vina’s dropped to 54.7 per cent. from 2011’s 107 per cent.  The  while ACE   posted a growth of  10.2 per cent from 2011’s 36 per cent and 2010’s 199 per cent.

The Australian player QBE Insurance even saw its premium revenue declining by 7.1 per cent year-on-year, after growing 41.4 per cent in 2011.

AIG’s  performance seemed stable, as its annual growth in premium revenue reached 21.3 per cent, compared with the 2011’s 24.4 per cent. Direct premium of the American insurer grew 18.4 per cent year on year, lower than 25 per cent in the previous year.

Vietnam’s economic struggles are generally blamed for the slowdown in Vietnamese insurance market. In 2012, the growth of the whole market shed a half to just 10.3 per cent from 2011’s 19.2 per cent and 2010’s 21 per cent. Foreign insurance firms, with obvious disadvantage in terms of clients bases, suffered a bigger declines compared with local players.

Big domestic players such as Bao Viet Insurance and PVI saw their growth rates roughly cut in half. Bao Viet’s premium revenue just grew 11.3 per cent year-on-year compared with its 17 per cent growth in 2011, while that of PVI down to 7 per cent from 2011’s 13.9 per cent. Bao Viet cautiously targeted just a growth of some 10 per cent in 2012.

“Vietnamese non-life insurance market in 2012 had suffered several difficulties including significantly decline in economic growth, jumping drug prices and healthcare costs, government spending cuts, credit tightening, Bao Viet wrote in its press release about 2012’s business results. The insurer said it expected continuing uncertainties in the local economy.

By Hai Trang

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