Despite economic difficulties, the insurance market still surged 20.34 percent in the first half of the year against the same period in 2010, said the Ministry of Finance's Insurance Supervisory Authority.

The authority said that the total insurance premiums in H1 reached nearly 17.4 trillion VND (826.8 million USD), of which more than 10.1 trillion VND (482 million USD) were from non-life insurance, up 22 percent from the same period last year. However, the 22 percent growth rate of non-life insurance premiums in H1 this year was still lower than the surging rate of 25 percent of H1 last year.

Though contributing less to the industry's total premiums, the 15.93 percent growth rate of life insurance in H1 this year was higher than the rate of 14.39 percent in the same period last year.

The authority attributed the better growth rate of life insurance to the development of new products including joint insurance, which met domestic demands. Though not detailing the total number of joint insurance policies in H1, the authority said that the ratio of policy holders who cancel their joint insurance policies was much lower than other kinds.

Industry insiders also said that in the first six months of the year, the insurance market was also becoming increasingly professional because of the participation of more brokerage companies, especially foreign ones. The authority reported that total premiums brought in by brokers surged sharply by 81.8 percent in H1 to 1.8 trillion VND (86 million USD).

The authority's director Trinh Thanh Hoan said that the insurance industry will try to maintain the high growth rate in the second half of the year to gain a total insurance premium of roughly 35.3 trillion VND (1.68 billion USD) for the whole year, up 19 percent over last year, of which non-life insurance would make up roughly 20 trillion VND (952.4 million USD), up 23-25 percent.

However, Hoan also urged insurance companies to improve their capacity to meet financial solvency requirements, foster research and development of new products, restructure in order to retain investors, and enhance their ability to transfer technology.

The country currently has 54 insurance providers, of which 29 are non-life insurers, 13 life insurers, 11 brokers and a reinsurer. Only Generali Vietnam life insurance was licensed in H1 this year./.