Etiqa aims to expand into Cambodia next year

The insurance arm of Maybank has operations in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines, and is currently in talks with regulators in Cambodia

By LYDIA NATHAN / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Etiqa Group could expand its operations into Cambodia next year if it receives all the approvals from the related regulators.

The insurance arm of the country’s largest banking group, Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), already has operations in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines, besides Malaysia.

Its CEO Kamaludin Ahmad (picture) said Etiqa has been in discussions with the regulators in Cambodia and the meetings have been very encouraging.

He said the company is looking forward to moving into the region.

“We intend to offer both general and life insurances, and we want to stay for the long term,” he said at a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Kamaludin said Etiqa will need to operate with two companies to provide both insurances as required by the country’s regulatory boards.

“Unlike in Singapore and the Philippines, it allows for a composite licence where one company can do both. But in Cambodia, it needs two, one for life and the other for general,” he said.

“In Singapore, we began with only general insurance and brought in the life insurance in 2014. It was purely for historical reasons that we started out doing only general,” Kamaludin said.

The Philippines’ operation offers both life and general insurances, while the Indonesia’s unit only provides general insurance.

Kamaludin said Malaysia remains the biggest revenue contributor compared to all the markets with about 84% share, Singapore 14% and both Indonesia and Philippines the remainder.

“We foresee the overseas market contribution will grow. In Singapore we have grown about 25% from a relatively small base since we started.”

“But it’s important to note that all four entities in Malaysia are doing pretty well. We recorded a double-digit growth in sales and this year we have been about 11% up.

“So, I do think the operations outside of Malaysia will contribute more in the future, but it won’t be anywhere 30% soon. That will take quite a number of years,” Kamaludin said.

The group announced in January this year that it split into four organisations, namely Etiqa General Insurance Bhd, Etiqa Life Insurance Bhd, Etiqa General Takaful Bhd and Etiqa Family Takaful Bhd.

Kamaludin said sales from the life insurance this year stood at about 55% of its revenue, while the general insurance generated some 45%.

According to Kamaludin, being Malaysia’s largest local insurer, the group saw more than RM1 billion in profit before tax in 2017.

“We expect to continue with this streak and aim to see a double-digit growth next year as well.

“We currently have more than RM30 billion in assets and our customer base continues to grow,” he said.

He added that one of the main goals for next year is to ensure their services are fast and easy.

“Most people will complain and say that claims take a very long time and that the insurance companies prolong things. So, we want to make the process simpler and keep our customers happy,” he said.