According to the statistics of Vietnam Life Business Association, the market's total insurance premium reached 10.339 trillion dong, rising by 9.3% year-on-year. Taking the lead among life insurers was Prudential with 4.270 trillion dong, followed by Bao Viet with 3.425 trillion dong, and Manulife 1.081 trillion dong.

Notably, the number of new life insurance contracts in 2008 was estimated at 552,304, down 13.71% compared to 2007 while that of expired contracts were 594,485, growing by 26.78%. Especially, total money amount for insurance compensation was recorded at 4.572 trillion dong, up 29.5%. That for insurance refund was 2.033 trillion dong, a year-on-year jump of 48.6%, of which Prudential conducted 760 billion dong, Bao Viet 580 billion dong and Manulife 451 billion dong.

The number of insurance contracts being cancelled prematurely increased in 2008 due to the economic difficulties, which pushed up the amount of insurance refund.

The fact is that many people had to tighten up expenses because of the global economic crisis. A fall in number of foreign tourists to Vietnam affected directly to the demand for health and accident insurance, tourism insurance and other kinds of life insurances.

Although any official figure on life insurance business during the first quarter of 2009 has not been released, the association forecasted that the number of contracts and insurance premiums in 2009 will still go up because the market remains at high potential and the economic difficulties mainly have influenced to incomes of people working in import export activities, industrial zones while customers of life insurance firms are mainly sustainable income earners.

In addition, Vietnam does not have to suffer strong impacts from the global crisis due to the country's consumer lending has not actually developed.

Life insurers in Vietnam have made big efforts to change and upgrade products to bring more utilities to the consumers. Vietnamese insurers focus on developing associated insurance and investment associated insurance products.

With investment associated insurance, buyers will be insured in aspect of risk, sudden accident and also become investors who can select the associated investment funds.

As for general associated insurance products, the premium that customers paid will be divided to two parts: one for risk insurance and another for investment.

The association predicted, the life insurance premium in 2009 will grow by 8-10%.

Dau Tu Chung Khoan - March 27, 2009