The government of Myanmar has announced that it will welcome five global insurance companies – which includes Canadian insurer Manulife – to establish wholly-owned subsidiaries in the region.

Myanmar’s Planning and Finance Ministry initially announced that only three foreign companies would be provisionally authorized to operate in the region, but a more recent statement has increased the number to five.

It marks the first time that the heavily-state-controlled economy has allowed foreign ownership in its fledgling insurance market, which was estimated to be worth only $13 million in life insurance premium revenue as of 2017.

The entry of multinational insurers with well established operations will bring a jolt of competition to a market consisting only of small local players.

The five companies are expected to begin operating by the end of this year after completing procedures for the establishment of subsidiaries and other requirements.

In addition to the five companies approved on Friday, the government will choose by May other foreign insurers allowed to form joint ventures with local providers under a 35% ownership cap.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

Read more here.