MALAYSIA'S general insurance industry is expected to grow between seven per cent and 10 per cent this year, led by demand for motor, fire and medical insurance products.
The General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) said in the first quarter of this year, the industry recorded a gross written premium of RM4.13 billion, up by 14.47 per cent over the same period last year.
PIAM chairman Wong Kim Teck said the general insurance industry registered growth in 2011 amid global economic uncertainty and huge catastrophic losses experienced in the region.
Net premiums in the general insurance industry grew at a rate of 8.2 per cent to reach RM9.7 billion last year.
The motor and fire classes of business recorded increases in gross written premiums of RM6.3 billion and RM2.4 billion, or 6.93 per cent and 4.67 per cent rise respectively.
Medical insurance received a 27.8 per cent boost to reach RM820 million last year.
"With the consistent positive growth in the general insurance industry, there is a tremendous potential for general insurance agents in the country," Wong said at the General Insurance Agents Convention 2012 (GIAC) held here yesterday.
Last year, agents contributed the most to the market with 60 per cent of the total general insurance business, compared with other distribution channels.
The Malaysian Insurance Institute (MII) chief executive officer Khadijah Abdullah said insurance agents would continue to play a significant role in the sector as market penetration is still a mere 41 per cent.
Last year, there were 35,611 general insurance agents, up from 34,322 in the previous year.
She urged insurance agents to keep abreast of the latest changes, developments and regulatory requirements in the industry and develop their own talents and capabilities to excel in the business.
In 2011, MII received close to 60,000 candidates who registered for the Pre-Contract Examination for Insurance Agents (PCEIA) as a prerequisite to become an insurance agent in the country.
For the PCEIA general, there was an increase of 1,596, or 22 per cent, from 2010 to 2011.
The GIAC 2012 is an annual event for general insurance agents to share knowledge and experiences.