Malaysia issues 4 new Islamic life insurance licenses as part of financial liberalization

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – Malaysia’s central bank said Wednesday it has approved four licenses for Islamic life insurance to mostly foreign-led operators as part of an ongoing liberalization to make Malaysia a regional Islamic finance hub.

Bank Negara Malaysia said in a statement it had planned to award only two insurance — or family takaful — licenses but raised this to four due to growth potential in the sector, the country’s economic recovery and the strength of the applicants.

The operators are a 70:30 joint venture between American International Assurance and Alliance Bank Malaysia, a 70:30 venture between AMMB Holdings and Britain’s Friends Provident Group plc, a 60:40 venture between ING Management Holdings (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. and Public Bank and a 70:30 venture between Great Eastern Life Assurance and the Malaysian Armed Forces Cooperative Ltd.

“The new family takaful operators have strong value propositions that will further enhance the development of the family takaful industry in Malaysia,” Bank Negara said. “They will also contribute strongly towards reinforcing Malaysia’s position as an international Islamic financial hub.”

No details were immediately available on when the banks will start operations.

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