Newly appointed Sovannaphum Life Assurance Plc CEO Loke Kah Meng is confident that the insurer can chalk up continued healthy growth this year despite key sectors of the economy being hit by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Global Banking and Finance Review rated Sovannaphum Life as the fastest growing life insurer in Cambodia for three consecutive years – 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Having celebrated its fifth anniversary on April 1, Kah Meng says the company is set to continue its outstanding performance with the domestic life insurance sector on a strong growth trajectory.

“We expect to continue accelerating the pace of growth to at least two to three times the industry average, with ambitions to be the market leader in terms of total new business premiums

“This we will achieve through expanding the network on bank partners and increasing the branch coverage. We are introducing a fast-track strategy to grow agency distribution, where we will recruit entrepreneurial individuals to run their own business without the need for any capital outlay of their own,” he told The Post.

The Kingdom emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in ASEAN for almost a decade pre-Covid, with gross domestic product (GDP) averaging eight per cent annually.

This has resulted in Cambodia’s fledging insurance sector registering remarkable growth, with total gross premiums increasing at an average of 35 per cent annually for the past half-decade, according to the Insurance Association of Cambodia.

“A good benchmark estimate of the life insurance industry’s growth rate should be at least twice the rate of gross domestic product growth in a developing country.

“Cambodia is now a lower-middle income country with an emerging middle class making considerable strides in improving their standard of living and quality of life.

“There are also many young Cambodians with a higher education that are aware of the importance of insurance and the need for future financial planning to protect them and their families from unfortunate life events,” Kah Meng said. The industry veteran said Sovannaphum Life is actively embracing digital technology to benefit its clients. “As part of our digital transformation strategy, we have put in place the ‘U Smile System’ – our proprietary digital submission platform – to reduce the turnaround time for policy issuance and to align market trends. “And with social media a very powerful tool in Cambodia, we are maximising our reach to the younger generation of Cambodians via Facebook and other digital media platforms,” he said. With disruptions to the economy expected again this year, the company has asserted that it is fully committed to maintaining the course of its present business plans over the medium term despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

To mitigate these, Sovannaphum Life has targeted market segments covering the emerging middle class for savings and education products, as well bank and microfinance customers with loans requiring protection, using the company’s “Credit Life” products. With it celebrating the milestone anniversary this year, the company is holding a series of special events to commemorate the occasion and share its success with its customers. “Sovannaphum Life celebrated its fifth anniversary on April 1. We would like to thank our customers who have supported us for the past five years with the ‘Sovannaphum Life 5th Anniversary Contest’ offering total prizes of 125 million riel to be won. “There will be five lucky winners per month who will receive a five million riel deposit into the savings account of a bank or microfinance institution partner. The contest runs over five months, starting on April 1 and ending on August 31,” Kah Meng said. In addition, the fifth anniversary will also incorporate a 360-degree campaign covering social media, outdoor media, multimedia, print and digital press, and on ground events.

“Being in a people-centric business, the company believes in listening to its customers. Sovannaphum Life hopes to further strengthen its commitment to providing peace of mind and protecting family finances throughout the Kingdom by re-establishing its ‘Here for you, Here for Cambodia’ brand promise,” he said.