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Insurance Sector in Bangladesh: Market Report 2023

Insurance Business in Bangladesh 2023

Due to fluctuation of US dollar exchange rate and global financial crisis, the overall investment activities in Bangladesh has reduced significantly, which has also been impacting the insurance sector in the yeas 2023. The market growth rate will be lower than 2022.

Bangladesh insurance market is in an upward trend despite the low penetration rate. It has potentialities to growth and advancement as opined by the insurance expert from home and aboard. Quite often the insurance professionals of the country require insurance information associated with Bangladesh insurance market. In this research paper (a 4,000-word report) we have just attempted to compile information from reliable sources. You will get enough food for knowledge in your way to know about the Bangladesh insurance industry.

A comparison with insurance markets in the SAARC region

Geographically Bangladesh is located in the South Asia where insurance sector is emerging due to modest GDP growth rate and high density of population in the ‘SAARC’ region. In the last decade, the insurance sector of the South Asian market has been rapidly emerging, particularly in Sri Lanka and in India. There is a significant insurance penetration rate i.e. 3.69% in India despite the fact that the Indian growth has been occasioned by agriculture and health insurance. However; their highest premium generating premium portfolio, is automobile insurance. So, human capital development at CRC can smooth the way for tariff revisions/adjustment that would contribute to market development. They would be determining premium based on pricing components that includes risk premium, expenses, profit and commission. In comparison with Sri Lankan market, Bangladesh insurance has a lot of scopes to expand. The market premium in Sri Lanka is higher than that of Bangladesh through Sri Lankan population is about one-third of Bangladesh.

Talking about Pakistan insurance market, it has been improving in the last 5 years particularly the Life Insurance sector with a tremendous growth of 30 to 35% annually (Pakistan Economist, 2018). Nevertheless; insurance penetration rate is less than 1% in Pakistan.

Talking about the insurance market in Nepal, the total size of the insurance market has reached to Rs. 57.53 billion (USD 517m) in the year 2017, according to a report of the Himalayan Times (HimalayanTime, 2018). Beema Samiti (BS) is the regulator of the Nepalese Insurance sector. Currently there is neither insurance premium tax nor composite insurance company in Nepal.

According to India Brand Equity Foundation, the countries insurance industry is expected to reach USD 280 billion by 2020 (IBEF, 2018). In the year 2017, the insurance penetration rate was 3.69%, which was 2.71% in 2001. The main driving force of Indian market, is mainly of the increase in insurance awareness among the potential customers, and partly of availability of products through multiple distribution channels. In the recent past, non-life sector has experienced an overall growth rate of 17.50% year-on-year. With 48% market share of in the life, and 89% in the non-life segment, the private insurance companies still have huge growth potentials.

UPDATE: the insurance regulator in Bangladesh has introduced the noble initiatives for unification of the ranks or grades of insurance employees of 80 insurers. Under the leadership of its present chairman – Dr. M Mosharraf Hossain, FCA, the regulatory body has, for the first time, been successful in eradicating the long prevailing vice in the market. Another noble initiative has been introduction of similar grading systems among the insurance companies.

Further reading on Ways and means for improvement and changes in the insurance sector of Bangladesh

Present position of insurance industry 

According to Swiss Re Institute, in the year 2021 our insurance sector’s contribution to GDP is 0.29% by Life, and 0.11% by Non-life, totalling 0.40% (defined as Premiums / Gross Domestic Product). It stands 69th in the world in terms of premium volume for the year 2020 (Ref: Swiss Re Sigma 3/2021).

The Economy of Bangladesh has rapidly been shifting from agricultural to the services sector. The role so played by the service sector is burgeoning as well. Insurance is one of the ingredients of the financial services industry has a lot to play if it is promoted properly. In this comprehensive and ultimate guide on the insurance sector of Bangladesh, we will walk you through the itineraries of the market. Let’s delve into the insurance market of Bangladesh.

In spite of the stable growth rate (around 4%) of the Bangladesh insurance industry in the last few years, the expansion of the insurance business, particularly the non-life sector, has experienced a downward trend in the year 2022 because of poor investment and slowdown of economic activities led by the political unrest. The experts have the fear of what the industry was likely to have the similar experience in 2023.

According to the statistics of Bangladesh Insurance Association (BIA), the total premium income of private sector life insurance companies rose from Tk. 62,429 million in 2021 to Tk. 66,879 million in 2022. The gross premium income of non-life private sector insurance companies increased from Tk. 21,038 million in 2021 to Tk. 22,670 million in 2022 with a growth rate of 7.76%. In Bangladesh, the marine insurance is considered to be the lifeguard for the non-life insurance business. Marine insurance completely depends on imports which has continuously being disturbed by the political unrest but the market is expected to improve in 2023.
Talking about the market Size and Present Position, the Insurance Industry of Bangladesh is promising and having huge growth potentials.
Insurance penetration rates in Bangladesh
• Combined Premium in proportion to GDP is 0.09% (Life -0.07% and Non-life -0.02%)
• Bangladesh ranks 76th in the world
• World market share is 0.02 percent
• Combined life and non-life insurance market premium is BDT 76,785 million
• Per capita spending on insurance is USD 2.6


History of insurance in Bangladesh 1971 to 2021

Birth of Sadharan and Jibon Bima Corporation

Just after Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, Sadharan Bima Corporation (SBC) and Jiban Bima Corporation (JBC) have been established under the Insurance Corporation Act 1973 as the state-owned organizations to deal with non-life and life Insurances respectively. SBC and JBC are the state-owned reinsurance service provider. Thereafter the permission was given to Private Insurance Companies to operate in accordance with the provisions of the Insurance (Amendment) Ordinance, 1984.

Insurance Administration -Switching from Commerce to Finance Ministry
Bangladesh Government has taken the decision to modernize the insurance law both Life and Non-Life insurance sector. In this context, on 27th July,2008 the cabinet approved two ordinances Insurance Regularity Authority (IRA) Ordinance 2008 and insurance Ordinance (IO) 2008. This two Ordinances will promulgate shortly after president’s assent. Also, Insurance Sector in Bangladesh transferred to Finance Ministry of Commerce Ministry by an executive order of Bangladesh Government.


How to Set Up an insurance company in Bangladesh:

Setting up an insurance company and its capital Requirement
• Company Registered in Bangladesh (Non-Life): A minimum Paid Up Capital of BDT 400 Million is required to be registered for insurance operation.
• Company Registered in Bangladesh (Life): Private Life insurers must have a minimum Paid-up Capital of BDT 300 million /USD 4.31 million of which the sponsor must pay 60% at the outset and the balance 40% by public subscription within three years.
• Company Registered Outside Bangladesh: Private Non-Life insurers must have a minimum Paid-up Capital of BDT 300 million /USD 4.31 million which has to be deposited in Bangladesh through remittance.

Legal Provisions for Insurance Operator in Bangladesh

Section 43 of the Insurance Act 2010 as specifies that: Non-Life insurers must have assets invested in Bangladesh exceeding their liabilities by at least BDT 1 million or 20% of the net premium income whichever is higher.
• Section 22 of Insurance Act 2010 specifies that:
Foreign Investors can hold or purchase shares of a company up to the prescribed limit by the Government and it won’t be higher than the prescribed limit
• Legal Reserve for Unexpired Risks:
100 % is required for Marine Hull and Aviation Hull
40 % for all other classes. Some insurers carry over 50 percent

Historical Numbers of Insurance Companies in Bangladesh 
Following independence of Bangladesh in 1971, insurance industry was nationalized in 1972 and the Government established 4 (Four) insurance corporations and in the year 1973 the structural arrangement of nationalization was changed into two corporations: (a) Sadharan Bima Corporation – For transacting non-life insurance business; (b) Jiban Bima Corporation– for transacting life insurance business. In 1984, following changes in Government policies, it has allowed Private insurers. But the insurance penetration in comparison with neighboring countries is still near to the ground owing to the fact that industry is faced with the challenges of creativity in need-based product design, determining affordable prices, delivering excellent claims services and above all, an acute lack of skilled insurance professionals across the sector.
Foreign insurance companies of the market
Metlife (ALICO) is the only foreign insurance operator in Bangladesh. ALICO has earned the record-breaking gross premium in the life insurance sector. In April 2022, the regulator has approved another two joint venture life insurance companies in Bangladesh. The new companies are Taiyo Summit Life Insurance Company, a joint venture with local summit group and another one -Life insurance corporation of INDIA. But there are still huge opportunities for overseas insurers in Bangladesh market.

As of January 2023, there are 79 insurance companies operating in the Bangladesh market where 45 are non-life insurance companies.

Potentialities for Investors in the insurance sector of Bangladesh:
With the advent of two newly established companies in 2015, the number of foreign insurers will reach at three who are supposed to make use of their international experiences to local policyholders. Resultantly the existing insurers will leave no stone unturned to retain their market share through innovation and professionalism. As the customer currently gets no risk improvement advice other than conventional and non-focused insurance solution based upon the premium rate set by Central Rating Committee (CRC), a wing of IDRA, the expectations of the customers exclusively revolve round the cost-effective as well as tailor-made products and the prompt settlement of claims. There is huge potentiality for social insurances in Bangladesh.

Legal and Regulatory Affairs of Insurance Business in Bangladesh

Just after Liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, Sadharan Bima Corporation (SBC) and Jiban Bima Corporation (JBC) have been established under the Insurance Corporation Act 1973 as the state-owned organizations to deal with non-life and life Insurances respectively. SBC and JBC are the state-owned reinsurance service provider. And thereafter the permission was given to Private Insurance Companies to operate in accordance with the provisions of the Insurance (Amendment) Ordinance, 1984. Additionally, the supervision of the Insurance Sector has been shifted to the Ministry of Finance from the Ministry of Commerce by an executive order of Bangladesh Government. On March 03, 2010 the Parliament has passed two insurance laws in a bid to further strengthen the regulatory framework for the insurance industry and make the industry operationally vibrant. The new laws came into effect on 18 March 2010, are Insurance Act 2010 and Insurance Development Regulatory Authority Act 2010. So far 08 Regulations have been formed in support of Insurance Act 2010. In 2013, the Asian Reinsurance Corporation Act has been implemented in connection with Insurance Corporation Act 1973 in order to set up the state-owned insurance institutions. Labor Act 2006 and 2016 guides the workers’ compensation insurance in Bangladesh.

Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority Act 2010
In the year 2010, the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA), has been set up by the government, some ten months after The Insurance Development & Regulatory Act 2010 providing for such a body was passed by the Bangladeshi parliament. The new authority replaces the office of the Chief Controller of Insurance.

Regulatory Changes in 2013
With an eye to boosting the non-responsive life insurance sector of Bangladesh, the initiatives so far taken by the Government since the independence, has not been able to drive any radical change, other than a few steps successfully enacted in the last four year or so by IDRA, which has come into force under the auspices of the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority Act – 2010.
However; the news of implementation of the 2013 regulatory order for allowing 60% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the insurance sector is optimistic enough for the nation’s financial services industry because new entrants will introduce competitively priced need-based products for easy acquisition and/or retention of consumers and thus service standard will get better a lot.

National Insurance Policy -2014
Bank and Financial Institution Division have recently drafted the National Insurance Regulation -2014. The recommendation of the said regulation will surely improve the insurance market of Bangladesh as it has defined long-term and short-term goals.

World Bank Project 2017-2019
IDRA initiatives for removal of illegal commission 2019

Insurance Acts in Bangladesh

There are Acts related to insurance and current regulation are done by IRDA. The brief summary of each act can also be read here.
• The Insurance Act 1938
• The Insurance Rules 1958
• The Insurance (Amendment) Ordinance 1984
• Insurance Regulations 1990
• Insurance Ordinance 2008
• Insurance act 2010 
• Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority Act 2010
• Asian Reinsurance Corporation Act 2013
• Insurance Corporation Act 2019

Compulsory Insurances in Bangladesh

Auto Third-Party Liability for bodily injury and property damage (limited cover) is compulsory.
• Aviation liability
• All Imports must be insured in Bangladesh with state-owned Sadharan Bima Corporation or a private insurer, unless an exemption is obtained.

For knowing the various types of insurance products popular in Bangladesh, you can read here.

Insurance Tariff in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is a Tariff Market for Fire Marine Cargo and Hull, Motor, Personal Accident Money Insurance, Workmen’s Compensation business are subject to Tariff. Insurers of Bangladesh are bound by Insurance Tariff regulations in the country. On the other hand; Engineering Insurances are so far a non-tariff business. Quite recently the IDRA has been working on the revision of the insurance tariff in the country.

Central Rating Committee (CRC)

The Central Rating Committee headed by the Chairman of Insurance Development Regulatory Authority (IDRA) is the highest Tariff Regulatory Body who also produces new Tariffs. Under the Central Rating Committee, there are three sub-Committees for Fire Marine and Miscellaneous business. To the cost of Insurance, there is government tax in the form of 15% VAT (Value Added tax) on payment paid by the insured.

Reinsurance Regulation in Bangladesh

Compulsory Cession to SBC: 50% of the re-insurable general insurance business of every insurer shall be re-insured with the State-owned Non-life Corporation-SBC and the remaining 50% percent of such business may be re-insured either with the Corporation or with any other insurer /reinsurer whether in or outside Bangladesh. About 70% of premium income from general insurance business in Bangladesh is retained locally and the rest 30% goes to reinsurers abroad.

Local Retention: Law prohibits fronting business from Bangladesh. Local insurers are obligated to retain a portion of each and every risk. Reinsurance programme is guided by the objective of maximizing retention within the country

Reinsurance Pool: Currently, there is no reinsurance pool in Bangladesh.

Credit rating requirement for overseas reinsurers has been updated in a circular in 2022 by the Insurance Regulator.

Investment Position of Insurers in Bangladesh

Despite the fact that insurers are bound to invest at least 30% in government securities, in the year 2017, they invested 48% (amounting to BDT 13,949 crore) in the year 2017 where the ROI was 2.62% (BDT 365 crore) and some has invested in stock market with ROI of 0.54 percent. However; the total life fund is about BDT 29,118 crores, as per the report published by the regulator body -IDRA.

Taxation and Investment Regulation for Insurers in Bangladesh
Insurance Corporation Tax is between 42.5%. Value Added Tax 15%. There is also a nominal stamp duty on most classes of business. No Taxes are withheld from Premiums Paid overseas for Insurance and Reinsurance. Note: 100% export-oriented organization as in the case of Insurance, enjoys VAT exemption.

Improving ROI of insurance companies
In the last couple of years, the ROI (0.40 percent) from insurers’ fixed assets investment has impacted negatively on their claims paying ability (Daily Star, 2018).It is the expertise of employees i.e. human capital that can contribute to the improvement of the return on investment (ROI) for insurers.

Customers’ Satisfaction in Insurance
Now-a-days policyholders want online services such as online policy issuance, online complaint submission, online claim handling as well as settlement as has already been in place in banking sector. Innovative marketing methods and distribution channels i.e. Bancassurance can also be introduced as the existing penetration rate indicates huge opportunity for the professional insurers.

Natural Catastrophes in Bangladesh

Flood: Floods are annual phenomena with the most severe occurring during the months of July and August. Regular river floods affect 20% of the country increasing up to 68% in extreme years. The floods of 1988, 1998 and 2004 were particularly catastrophic, resulting in large-scale destruction and loss of lives. Approximately 37%, 43%, 52% and 68% of the country is inundated with floods of return periods of 10, 20, 50 and 100 years respectively (MPO, 1986).
Cyclone: March-April and October-November is the Cyclone time in Bangladesh. Flood hits normally in July-September which is a common feature of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is located in the Catastrophe region and Flood and Cyclone are the main catastrophes. Devastating Cyclone occurred in 1970 where about one million people died. In 2007, 2010 & 2011 we have experienced severe Landslide due to Rain / Flood water in Chittagong.  For knowing details on climate change impact on insurance.

How to improve Insurance industry in Bangladesh

Utilizing digital marketing
Government of Bangladesh (GOB) has undertaken 10-year development plan to introduce digital services with the slogan of “DIGITAL BANGLADESH”. Currently the total number of mobile phone and internet users are respectively 153m and 120million (BTRC, 2018).
So, insurers’ prospects in digital marketing, is tempting. This approach includes using Search Engine like Google, Social media platform like Facebook, YouTube etc.
Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (Central Rating Committee) Ordinance – 2012, Section No.- 04, has empowered the members of CRC to recommend time to time premium rates and terms.
Introducing motor database and updating morbidity & mortality table
Motor Insurance Databases (MID) is an UK database of car accidents and written-off cars. Insurers use MID for underwriting and claims matters. Similar database may be introduced in Bangladesh with the influx of human capital for making the path easy for life, disability and liability underwriting managers.

Machine and talent veering toward collaboration
A 2013 Oxford University study conducted technological impact on the different occupations in the United States of America and found that 50% of the total employment is susceptible to automation over the next two decades.
Under the circumstances, the real challenges are building capability for making use of blessing of the information technology. The talents in insurance should be capable enough. Technologies should be incorporated in development of the business model. In this regard companies should not fear experimenting new job models of pilot project rather than directly going untested models. So, in the coming area there should be human-machine collaboration to a greater extent. Only skilled employees would be contributing to furtherance.

Providing for tax incentives to learning
The tax office can offer tax rebate on learning and development expenses of the insurers. Companies should be smoothing the way for education by offering subsidies, cheap funding, and regularly arranging motivational program at organization level.

Improving performance management
In most cases performance management focusing on quantifying performance of the employee rather than managing and improving performance. A 2015 Deloitte study indicates that performance management was one of the areas where there is the biggest gap between the importance of trends, and their readiness to address it. For improved human capitalization, insurance companies need to rethink about competitive assessment performance management philosophy. The HR manager should approach coaching and development basis so as to improve performance management and simultaneously aligning to business strategy and organizational values.

Contribution of insurance industry in Bangladesh economy

Top 10 insurance company list in 2023

Here are highest premium earners in general/non-life insurance

Ranking by Gross Premium Name of General Insurer Address
1st Green Delta Insurance Company Limited Green Delta AIMS Tower (6th Floor ), 51-52, Mohakhal C/A, Bir Uttam AK Khandakar Rd, Dhaka 1212,
2nd Reliance Insurance Limited

Shanta Western Tower (L-5 186, Tejgaon Industrial Area, Dhaka 1208,

3rd Pioneer Insurance Company Limited 5th Floor, Rangs Babylonia, 246 Bir Uttam Mir Shawkat Sarak, Dhaka 1208,
4th  Pragati Insurance Limited Pragati Insurance Bhaban, 20-21, Kawran Bazar, Dhaka – 1215, Bangladesh

Here are highest premium earners in local life insurance market:

Ranking by Gross Premium Name of Life Insurer Address
1st Fareast Islami Life Insurance Company Limited Fareast Tower, 35 Topkhana Road, Dhaka 1000,
2nd Delta Life Insurance Company Limited Delta Life Tower, Plot # 37 Rd 90, Dhaka 1212,
3rd National Life Insurance Co. Ltd N.L.I. Tower, 54 Kazi Nazrul Islam Ave, Dhaka 1215,

Insurance Professional Education in Bangladesh

Malaysian Insurance Institute (MII) has produced 676 associates in the year 2016 only as mentioned at page 28 of Annual Report (MII, 2018). In contrast, it took 45 years for Bangladesh Insurance Academy (BIA) to produce 660 associates.

From Indian perspective, Insurance Institute of India (III), established in 1955, now has 94 affiliated insurance institutes across India. There are 50,198 associates and 26,366 fellow members of the III as of 2016 (III, 2016).

The correlation between total qualified professionals and insurance penetration rate deserves special notice.

Country Insurance school Associate Member by 2016 Penetration Rate**
Bangladesh BIA 660 0.56%
Malaysia MII 27,826* 4.77%
India III 50,198 3.69%
*27,826 (1610 Individual +26,216 Institutional Staffs) **Swiss Re sigma report: 03/2018 (Swiss Re, 2018).

From the above discussion, it is now evident that development of an insurance market grossly banks upon on the human capitalization. The speed of development of a financial market, is also relevant to number of qualified professionals. In such a critical situation, the insurance employees in Bangladesh are very averse to getting professional knowledge and skills, which is one of greatest impediments for a financial sector to flourish. Most of them lacks the enthusiasm and willingness to win in the career.

Future Prospects of Insurance Business

Dhaka is going to be one of world’s top 10 cities with higher GDP growth potentials. According to Oxford Economics, Dhaka will be 2nd highest GDP earing city in the world in 2035. This indicate the massive growth potentials in the coming decade for insurance companies in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh, sitting in the next door to the banking sector of the Bangladesh, which is currently contributing to GDP @40%. Read our detailed article on Insurance Industry of Bangladesh: Career Perspectives

Concluding remarks

In our article we tried to provide you with an overview of the BD insurance market. Let’s have your opinion in the below comment box.

Lastly updated on 21-Jan-2023

1 Comment
  1. […] Unfortunately there is no such institute for insurance professionals. So, the establishment of Bangabandhu Insurance Institute (BII) will be a milestone for the insurance sector in Bangladesh. […]

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