As the provision of private health insurance grows from a low base across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) one trend stands out: the dominance of foreign providers.

The three biggest foreign players — Hong Kong-based AIA, Sun Life of Canada and the UK’s Prudential — appear to have benefited from a decades-long presence in key Asean markets, coming top in our latest quarterly survey of preferred health insurance providers.

In Thailand AIA enjoys a significant advantage, using its almost 80-year life insurance presence to cross-sell health insurance products. Similarly, Prudential’s presence in Malaysia since 1924 partly helps to explain its second-ranked position in Asean’s third-largest economy.

Under-developed public healthcare systems and increasing healthcare demand across the region are key drivers of the business. This means there is likely still to be plenty of room for domestic players to grow.

In Vietnam, the dominance of state-controlled Bao Viet — which a third of respondents cited as their preferred health insurance provider — is likely to continue given its extensive branch network. The insurer last year launched the country’s first cancer insurance policy.

— Ben Heubl, Data Visualisation Analyst