State-run Vietnam Insurance Corp (Bao Viet), the country’s biggest insurer, said it would diversify into banking, financial leasing, real estate and public health insurance this year. A report on Bao Viet Web site (www.baoviet.com.vn) on Thursday January 5 said the unlisted company maintained its leading role in insurance premiums last year, accounting for 39% of the domestic market.
Bao Viet said its revenues rose 8.5% in 2005 from a year earlier to 6.1 trillion dong ($384 million), of which life insurance premiums accounted for 3,1 trillion dong, 10% more than in 2004.
The Hanoi-based corporation provides services related to life, non-life insurance and securities broking.
In 2006, it planned to establish a joint stock bank, a financial leasing company, a real estate firm and a subsidiary to deal with public health insurance, the report said.
Last month, the government approved a partial privatisation plan for Bao Viet, with a registered capital of US$200 million, which allows it to sell up to 51% of its shares to private investors. The state will retain the rest.
In November, the State Securities Commission, the stock market watchdog, licensed the Bao Viet Fund Management Co to deal in investments in securities and financial consultancy.
Saigon Times Daily quoted Le Quang Binh of the finance ministry’s Insurance Department on Wednesday as saying Vietnam’s insurance sector, with more than 30 firms, grew 14% between 2004 and 2005.
Binh estimated their 2005 revenues at more than 14 trillion dong ($882 million), after expanding nearly 30% between 2003 and 2004.
Foreign companies operating in Vietnam’s insurance market include Britain’s Prudential, American International Assurance Co Ltd, New York Life Insurance Co, ACE Ltd and the American International Group.