Education key to jumpstarting Malaysia’s life insurance industry - expert

He also advocates diversifying the distribution channel

Education key to jumpstarting Malaysia’s life insurance industry - expert

Insurance News

By Duffie Osental

The new chief executive officer of the Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) believes that channel diversification and consumer education are two ways to increase the stagnant penetration rate of life insurance in Malaysia.

In an interview with New Straits Times, LIAM CEO Mark O’Dell said that growing Malaysia’s life insurance industry is one of the association’s key priorities. The former head of Manulife in Malaysia is keen on using his new role to work closely with stakeholders and regulators to promote the country’s life insurance industry.

“The penetration rate of life insurance and takaful schemes has remained stagnant at 54% over the past five years,” O’Dell told New Straits Times. “And out of 100 Malaysians, only 35 people, or 35%, have multiple insurance and takaful policies.”

O’Dell sees a number of ways to address the stagnant growth of the industry – including diversifying distribution channels.

“One of the initiatives drawn up is the diversification of distribution channels for life insurance,” he said. “This is to provide consumers with ways to buy life insurance. They can either buy life insurance from financial advisers and banks or online.”

He also advocates for continuous financial education and greater accessibility to help the industry reach more Malaysians living in suburban and rural areas.

“To be realistic, people from the lower-income group have a lot of pressing financial needs,” he said. “It is so often, owning insurance is not high on their list. And death as well as sickness does not happen every day.

“It is up to the industry to educate and increase awareness among people that they can rely on life insurance in the event of accidents and untoward incidents.”

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