Viriyah Insurance PLC on exciting developments in the Thai insurance industry
Thailand's insurance sector is experiencing unique growth thanks to an evolving array of customer needs and investor demands
Viriyah Insurance PLC is already a market behemoth in its native Thailand and, with the launch of the AEC, is poised to take the next step into the wider world of the pan-Asian insurance market. World Finance speaks to Natdhanai Mankosol about how the insurer is staying abreast of trends in the industry.
World Finance: Thailand of course was recently triple B plus stable rated by Fitch, that’s a huge accomplishment for the sector as well as the region. Can you tell me, what does that do in terms of promoting your own goals in the insurance sector?
Natdhanai Mankosol: For the insurance industry I think it feels, being rated, that we don’t have many many insurance companies to be rated there, because some companies in Thailand have been rated triple A, A, generally Thailand’s rating wouldn’t be worse than triple B positive. It’s getting that we have a society of insurers, and the OIC, the Office of Insurance Commission, are trying to get things better and we are expecting the revenue to grow more and more. It wouldn’t be effective in a negative way, so we are expecting that we will be getting better in the next few years?
[T]he Office of Insurance Commission, are trying to get things better and we are expecting the revenue to grow more and more
World Finance: Very interesting, now to continue that momentum, what do you think the government can do in terms of promoting the Thai insurance industry to international investors?
Natdhanai Mankosol: The Thai insurance industry has been developing a lot. The Office of Insurance Commission has been trying to help the industry and all the businesses in the industry to get better. But the whole government doesn’t mean the OIC alone. The OIC has to work out with any other government sectors and other departments. So we’ve got a lot of limitations about the documents or the legislation, regulations. We are not harmonised nicely, so those departments have to work together to help to strengthen the business to grow better.
World Finance: Now of course between 2010 and 2014, Fitch rated the six ASEAN countries about 5.6 percent, whereas Thailand was rated between three and three and a half, comparatively we’re talking about a difference of a margin anywhere from two to 2.5 percent. Does that worry you at all?
Natdhanai Mankosol: No, not really. We wouldn’t be worried about things that much because we have the AEC, that’s the ASEAN Economic Community. With the community, it’s just like the EU, everyone plays a role. One thing that our GDP didn’t grow that much because of the instability of the political issues and situations, and now we’ve got our new government, and everyone seems to be happy with the new government, we’re trying to get things better. So, everything is going to be more positive and Thailand has geographically located right in the middle of South East Asia, we’re likely to be the hub of the South East Asia. The government might need to reconsider more investment in the infrastructure of the country, and the technology and communication, communication is one of the most important things.
[W]e have the AEC, that’s the ASEAN Economic Community. With the community, it’s just like the EU, everyone plays a role
World Finance: Very exciting times it sounds like, so tell me, what is the next step ahead for The Viriyah Insurance?
Natdhanai Mankosol: Viriyah Insurance is going to be investing more in terms of the technology and people. People nowadays have changed a lot of consumer behaviour, everything goes on the mobile. You’ll probably go and buy insurance or just look through your offer with your mobile phone, and when making a claim, you just contact the company using this technology, and even if you’ve had an accident and you just report it where you are, we could get your location, we could send our man right to where you are. Another thing that we try to train and have more skills and other things, in order to run the business in the back office or in the front officer, to get more customer satisfaction and lower the complaints, and others.
World Finance: It sounds like you play an important role in the local insurance industry. Natdhanai thank you so much for joining me today.