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Japan insurers enter Myanmar in joint-venture frenzy

Foreign companies rush to claim share after opening of underinsured market

Grand Guardian Insurance's Yangon office. The local insurer is forming joint ventures with both Tokio Marine Holdings and Nippon Life Insurance. (Photo by Yuichi Nitta)

TOKYO/YANGON -- Five Japanese insurers have teamed up with local players to enter Myanmar's fledgling insurance market, looking to provide such products as annuities and automobile policies to a largely uninsured population.

The Myanmar government announced in January that foreign insurance companies would be allowed offer products in the country, either on their own or through joint ventures, after multiple delays in freeing its almost completely closed market. The application period for companies seeking to form joint ventures ends Friday for nonlife insurers and May 3 for life insurers. Shortlisted applicants will be announced in May.

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