Premiums rose by 9.5% in 2009 and 8.5% in 2010, reaching $ 918 million in total.
Insurance rating company A.M. Best published a report on the insurance sector in Panama, highlighting it as the largest in Central America and noting also that significant growth is expected in the coming years, supported by increased tourism, construction and Panama's efforts to implement transparent financial and tax laws.
The opening of the insurance market in Costa Rica is in full process, and this sounds like music to the ears of the three main Panamanian insurance firms.
Aseguradora Mundial (Worldwide Insurance), ASSA Compañía de Seguros (ASSA Insurance Company) and Compañía Internacional de Seguros (International Insurance Company) which rank at first, second and third place in the Panama market, are analyzing entering Costa Rica's market.
So far this year seven new companies have entered the country. Four are already set up and have plans for 2009, but making a name is no easy feat.
Eastern Pacific Insurance Company, Banesco Seguros and Seguros Constitución are all companies with Venezuelan capital. Permier, another company which already has a license to operate, and BBA Corp. (which just got its license) are also from Venezuela. Joining this group is the Multinacional de Seguros which just bought Ancon Insurance. Ace will be the only of the nine companies that is from the United States.
Panama’s insurance industry grew from 17 participants two years ago to 27 today, and $850 million in insurance policies.
An update to Panamanian insurance legislation has been discussed for the past 8 years. Talks are currently being held between insurers and regulators to modify Law 59 of 1996, the one currently in force in a growing, competitive insurance market.
Three international insurers, BUPA Latinamerica, BMI Companies and Best Doctors Insurance Limited are organizing their entry into the health insurance market in Guatemala.
Best Doctors Insurance Limited has agreements with Agromercantil Seguros SA, a local insurer to offer personal and business insurance. The formalization of their entry into the market is Wednesday, May 2nd.
During 2008, Panamanian insurance companies subscribed premiums for $776.6 million, with growth of 27.47% in the sector.
Reporter María De Gracia writes in her article on the website Pa-digital.com.pa, that “growth during the first quarter of this year is around 11% due to the shrinking of the economy.”
As of April 2009, the insurance field in Panama has 27 competitors. Just in 2008, the Panamanian Superintendency of Insurance and Reinsurance authorized operating licenses to 11 insurance and reinsurance companies.
Before new insurance companies join the market insurers are expanding their range of products and services.
Starting next year it is expected that the Superintendency of Banks (SIB) will authorize the insurers Best Meridian Insurance Company (BMI) and the British Union Provident Association (Bupa) to start operations .
Granting insurance for a period of 15 days and limiting the scope to medical care are some of the changes that are being prepared to re-offer free medical insurance for tourists.
Previously the insurance covered up to 30 days for tourists entering through the international airport of Tocumen, but now the new proposal that is under study by the Tourism Authority would reduce the term to two weeks, which is the length of time that most tourists stay in the country.The benefit was implemented by the Martinelli administration in 2011 andcanceled three years later, due to its high cost.
The National Insurance Institute (INS) created four new companies to face competition in the insurance market.
The firms are called: INS International, INS Services, INS Life, INS Business. With these four corporations and a range of new products, the state insurer is seeking to gain an advantage over its competitors.
Guillermo Constenla, head of the entity, said that the Constitutional Court ruled that the Institute can participate in the international market via a limited liability company.
Changes in the consumption patterns of Central Americans are opening up growing market opportunities in the health insurance sector.
In an interview conducted by Joel Maldonado with the regional business director of the insurance company Bupa, Felix Fernandez, the official announced that the strategy in the Guatemalan market is to offer affordable products to the upper middle class while maintaining excellence in the international section.
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