Arab Reinsurance Company: a new dimension
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Moody’s expects stronger reinsurance profitability in 2019 - Bahrain’s economy achieves 2.73% Growth in Q1 2019 - S&P turns stable on Lloyd’s - UAE - RSA provides discounts to DEWA customers for home ins. - EgyptAir launches insurance policy tender for assets - Saudi Arabia - Foreign investment more than doubled in 2018 - Egypt - 'Seamless North Africa 2019' to discuss fintech trends - FDI inflows to Bahrain rise 6% to $1.5bln - Bahrain – InsurByte tackles insurtech trends - Saudi Arabia - Malath, ANB extend insurance deal - Citi MENA Fintech Challenge launched - ArabNet Beirut conference celebrates 10 years - Dubai - DIFC issues new insolvency law - Moody’s expecting stronger reinsurance sector profitability in 2019 - UK insurer Legal & General picks Amazon for blockchain deal - Dubai - AREA 2071 hosts 20 global startups worth AED42.2 m - Saudi Arabia - Medical insurance must for family visa extension - UAE - Medical Liability Law will reduce medical errors - Egypt – EGP 18.1 B ins. sector premiums in 4 months - Fintech set to expand in Mideast, Africa, says S&P - FinTech has power to disrupt global finance says IMF’s Lagarde - China mulls raising caps in equity investment for insurers - Fintech Startups in Lebanon: Financing the Future - Health Dubai: AED 20,000 fine for delayed ins. 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Act after Eid break - Dubai car rental agency to get Dh115,000 compensation - Bahrain National Holding acquires major stake in Health 360 - Bahrain - BBK launches a management program in fintech - Misr Ins. Holding targets EGP 4.2bn profit in FY19/20 - UAE - Etihad Credit Ins. and Dhaman partner to support growth - Dubai - DFM to organise international investor roadshow in New York - Egypt - Fawry to acquire EME International’s fintech division - UAE - Profits of 28 insurers at AED 591.65 m in Q1 - Egypt – Ins. sector has the highest average wage - Bahrain is among first countries to adopt fintech - Arabnet Beirut celebrates 10 years of technology - UAE - ADNIC partners with FAB through ‘payit’ option - ‘Game of Thrones’ ins. to reimburse fans who can prove spoilers - China allows insurers to use credit derivatives - ECI signs MoU with ADCB to support UAE businesses - Digital: Morocco in force at Vivatech Paris - Bitcoin price crashed by nearly 20% in minutes - Saudi non-oil growth to top 2.9% this year - Dubai – Overseas treatment through prepaid card - Generali posts solid growth and profits in Q1 results - Kuwait - MPs approve insurance law - Gulf Ins. Group announces net profit of KD 3.7m for Q1 2019 - NBB forges ahead with open banking in Bahrain - 2019 General Assembly - Bahrain highlights its plans to target InsurTech - KSA - Al Alamiya inks insurance deal with Riyad Bank - Visa partners with Bahrain FinTech Bay - Fintech is Key to Shaping Sustainable Islamic Finance - USA - Chinese Citizen Indicted in Anthem Hack of 80 Million People - Digital Ins: Aegon Life on-boards eBaoTech - CMA inaugurates health ins. diploma course for Omanis - Kuwait - Al-Roudhan lifts suspension of 3 ins. Companies - UAE: AED 24.4 million as profits for “Dubai Insurance” - UK: RSA sees strong growth opportunity in five industry practices - Moumen Moukhtar, the new President of Misr Insurance Co. - SAR 55 million profit of 13 Saudi insurance companies - Growth outlook lowered for GCC economies this year - Saudi Arabia may relax shares limit for foreign investors - Dubai to switch to 25% autonomous vehicles by 2030 - $1bn Mubadala fund set for big Abu Dhabi launch - Board of Directors of Arab Re: positive results in year 2018 - KSA - CMA Approves the Capital Increase of Walaa ins. - Bahrain - New strategies urged to tackle cybercrime - KSA – SAMA celebrates the graduate of 2nd bath in cybersecurity - GCC Board Directors Institute Launches Director Program - KSA finance ministry announces 30 years Sukuk issuance - Oman – Awareness campaign on health ins. Policy - SoftBank to invest $1bn in fintech firm Wirecard - Bahraini start-ups prospering thanks to Al Waha - Kuwait Finance House wins Fintech award - Samsung Developing its own Blockchain system - UAE - Mubadala was Awarded Anti-Bribery ISO certification - Saudi Arabia - 20 boxes in the Bold investment initiative - UAE - DIFC FinTech Hive launches career mentorship program - Kuwait - Six insurance companies suspended - First Bahrain Insurance Hackathon - Digital transformation of Middle East financial services is accelerating - KSA - Tawuniya to obtain qualitative leap in health practice - KSA - SAMA nods to Arabia Insurance’s capital raise - Saudi Arabia launches $3 bln package to support private sector - Etihad Credit ins. teams up with Sharjah Chamber - Development of driverless vehicle blockchain tech with IoT Firm - China - Blockchain-Enabled Notary Opens Office - South Korea - Hospital to create Blockchain Data Management - Sharjah Ins. to pay 7 fils/shr dividends for FY18 - UAE - Insurance House issues perpetual bonds - Egypt bourse unveils new insurance policy tender - Bahrain Kuwait Ins.: Profit at BD794,000 in Q1 - Arab Federation of Exchanges conference tackles SMEs - Dubai's economic growth will accelerate in 2019 and 2020 - World Bank to invest $200 million in Egyptian startups - Chile – New Cryptocurrency & Fintech Regulations - 60% of organizations trapped in a digital deadlock - Bahrain - SADAD launches Save Your Card Feature in Mobile App - Fintech: China's Wonder News opens $50m office in Bahrain - Abu Dhabi National Ins. Customer Service Excellence Recognised - 99% of UAE execs say innovation has accelerated - 94 Emiratis complete Artificial Intelligence program in UK - UAE ranks 6th in health and wellness index - Central Bank of Bahrain issues draft rules on Ins. Aggregators - Kuwait - Regulator tightens control over insurance sector - China Life insurance premiums grow over 11% - Bahrain set to host InsurByte conference in June - Misr Ins. to cover judges overseeing constitutional referendum - UAE adopts National Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031 - World Bank: $25B for digital transformation in Africa - Telegram’s TON Partners with Wirecard to develop fintech - The Reserve Bank of India excludes cryptocurrency projects - Smart Dubai and Microsoft to accelerate digital transformation - Kuwait - Wethaq Ins. receives $6.48m from real estate fund - 2,000 tycoons move to UAE in 2018 - Saudi Arabia ranks second in global investment destination list - Report Shows Major Security Holes in Banking Apps - Kuwait - Regulator might suspend up to 12 insurers - KSA - Financial Sector Conference fulfills 2030 Vision - Misr Ins. posts $318.7 mln premiums in H1-FY2018/19 - Dubai – Global leaders to meet at Artificial Intelligence Summit - UAE Takaful Companies Catching Up with Conventional Peers - KSA - 3.2m Saudis, 8.1m expats enjoy health ins. - Oman – Regulator adopts XBRL for financials of listed firms - Bahrain launches fintech talent programme - Bahrain - Cigna Life Ins. receives a License from regulator - Saudi financial conference to attract hundreds of experts - ‘Bone-breaking’ ins. fraud gang busted in Italy - Jordan- Aqaba conference on marine ins. kicks off - Oman- Health insurance leading the market - Kuwait - Rising health insurance premiums - Egypt's insurance firms see boost in capital - Egypt: IFC launches support program for fintechs - Mashreq bank joins Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai - China lays down national standards for ins. Industry - Lebanon - Calls for cooperation to enhance cybersecurity - Egypt to launch 8 investment areas, free zones in 2018 - Bahrain - Royal Decree Stipulates formation of Health Ins. Fund - Kuwait – Premiums of Wethaq Takaful grow by 16% in 2018 - IMF’s Lagarde says fintech will shake the system - Calls to establish digital economy body at Arab League - Oman - New health ins. initiative for house helps - Egypt - New health ins. provides coverage for all citizens - Saudi Arabia – Significant decrease in ins. profits in 2018 - DIFC launches roadmap for fintechs entering MEA - AAOIFI appoints new Secretary General - Egypt - AXA signs bancassurance deal with Ahli United Bank - GCC FinTech maturing and driving innovation - Bitcoin hits milestone with its 400,000,000th transaction - Saudi Arabia - 47% of vehicle ins. fraud due to damage mismatches - Abu Dhabi Dept. of Health: Health facilities to provide bills - Dubai - Seamless Middle East 2019 to tackle fintech - Egypt - Insurers pay EGP 2.5 B compensation in 2 months - UAE - 40% off on treatments not covered by insurance - Kuwait- MoH to form panel over 'amendment' of health Ins. - Blockchain Ins. Initiative B3i Expands Its Group of Investors - What UAE people claim for the most on travel ins. - UAE first country regionally in fintech - 100 Arab Start-ups Shaping the 4th Industrial Revolution - World Bank: Vision 2030 Diversified Saudi Income Sources - Investments to UAE expected to rise by 20% in 2019 - Mideast ‘biggest target’ of cybercrime - Lebanon – Oil and Gas summit emphasizes insurance role - MENA - Cyber threats beyond traditional attacks - Fintech Cairo: Fostering Innovation in Financial Inclusion - Moody’s: Takaful demand spurs higher premiums - Kuwait - Health Ins. fees from Jan 2020 to be KD 130 - Bahrain - FinTech Hackathon for Sustainability - Smart Dubai Office endorses du’s Blockchain Platform - UAE – Future Blockchain Summit - UAE - Coursera and INSEAD launch Blockchain Specialization - Dubai - DIFC FinTech Hive accepts applications - Ajman government to enact 'Smart Payment System' - UAE - Takaful premiums reached AED 3.7 billion in 2018 - GCC - Car ins. prices continue to decline in 2019 - Solidarity Bahrain launches the first Ins. Hackathon - UAE - SALAMA Islamic Arab ins. co. reports strong growth - 16 Saudi ins. firms log millions in losses in 2018 - UAE - Community contributions of 21 insurers at AED 2.95 million - Oman - Details of mandatory health ins. Revealed - Gulf Insurance to distribute 36% of par value as dividend - UK Insurers pay £1 M each day for vehicle thefts - UK - AM Best: negative outlook for 2019 non-life ins. - UAE - Among world's top 10 most positive on economy - Lebanon – Government targets transition to a digital economy - Saudi Arabia - Foreign entrants to boost ins. Market - KSA - Najm plays key role in developing ins. Technologically - China - Joint Venture to develop pension ins. - Two Bahraini women join top 100 fintech list
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Spreading Hope In Arab Insurance

The economy of the Arab region is very diverse with various stages of economic development, vastly different levels of income, but with a common heritage and the same challenges. The insurance sector is a dynamic service sector that creates opportunities, enhances welfare and promotes economic activity. In 2014, the Arab insurance industry witnessed a global growth of 10% and total premiums reaching $32 billion dollars. Presently, the insurance sector is growing but still below its full potential and ability due to several factors, including the low level of penetration when comparing to other developing markets.

Most of the MENA countries have seen increases in insurance penetration over the past five years however, it is still low compared to other regions in the world with similar income levels.

The region contributes to five percent of global gross domestic production, but only shares one percent of the global insurance market.There are significant differences across MENA countries, with some countries displaying low penetration ratios (Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, and some GCC countries), and only few showing ratios above 1.5% of GDP (such as Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco).

MENA’s life insurance sector is even smaller, with an average penetration ratio of only 0.3% of GDP; an outlier by comparison with other regions.

Only few countries (UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Lebanon and Morocco) display penetration ratios comparable to those in other emerging markets. When it comes to the Lebanese insurance sector, the industry managed to strengthen its standing over the time despite the ongoing political and security hurdles. In this context, the insurance penetration rate reached 3.24% of GDP in 2014 compared to a 2.6% of GDP in 2003. The expectations are that the Lebanese market will continue to grow during the coming years and Lebanon will remain ranked number one in respect to insurance penetration.

Prior to 2011, political stability, high oil prices and steadily growing GDP attracted international and major insurers and reinsurers to the region boosting the insurance industry.

During the years preceding the Arab political turmoil, the MENA insurance market underwent significant changes. Most markets experienced growth across all lines of business and increase in maturity, both from consumers getting better understanding of their insurance needs and from insurance companies developing stronger capabilities and retaining more risks.

However, since 2011, with the 2008 financial crisis and Arab political turmoil, the environment for insurance companies has been more challenging and the outlook more uncertain.

At the same time, regulators are becoming increasingly active in pushing for additional market discipline by placing additional demands and requirements on insurance companies. Consequently, it would probably create both threats and opportunities for insurers over the next few years.

A lot can be said about the analytics of the political, economic and insurance market situation in the Arab world today, yet hope will be the key success factor for the future.

The business term for hope is confidence, referred to as consumer confidence or investment confidence; i.e. the belief in better future prospects as confidence is measured according to spending levels in listed categories.

Turmoil in the Arab world has reached a level where morale, motivation, versatility and adaptability will be more useful than a gloomy rational retrospective analytics.

In the Arab countries severely affected by war, the insurance sector managed to survive under strain while countries affected by turmoil have a resilient yet non-flourishing insurance sector. Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) economies have been negatively affected by decreasing oil prices although the ambitions for insurance remain quite high.

Spreading hope was the hidden message of the May 2016 31st General Conference in Beirut of the General Arab Insurance Federation.

GAIF Secretary-General Mr Abdul Khaliq R Khalil issued a message of hope rather than delving into numerical indicators.

“I’m convinced that every challenge brings with it opportunities which can allow the industry to achieve better growth and profitability. But it requires the right controls in the market and also training and development of employees”. Moreover,

the current president of the Lebanese Insurance Association (ACAL), Mr. Max Zaccar, as well as the previous president, Mr. Assaad Mirza, in addition to other ACAL staff, were keen on a positive forward-looking attitude in all public releases

despite a tumultuous regional geopolitical situation but in light of resilience Lebanese insurance figures.

To date, falling oil prices and regional instability are not the key concerns of the GCC insurance industry, as the major preoccupations have been turning premium growth into profitable growth,  adequately steering compulsory health insurance, enforcing actuarial standards, addressing consumer complaints, strengthening solvability, driving the insurance sector back into a sound sustainability and controlling price competition.

Moreover, the Saudi Vision 2030 was warmly welcomed by the insurance sector as heralding significant opportunities for the services sector, including insurance, while Moroccan insurers optimistically embraced the African vision of Moroccan authorities with the multiplication of Pan-African insurance acquisitions. In Tunisia, a 5-year plan strategy was drafted for the insurance sector. In Egypt, several capital injections were spotted in the insurance sector amid plans for regulatory reforms and positive hopes. The Lebanese insurance sector is still very active and aims at taking advantage of oil and gas insurance projects.

Luckily enough, insurance and actuarial education, insurance awareness programs, as well as regulatory reforms have made significant progress in all Arab countries as illustrated by a series of actions, relayed by the media, compared to previous decades.

The media do believe in insurance. Again, hope and business confidence are the hidden messages of weekly insurance TV programs such as the Lebanese “Ammen Halak” in TL Liban and various series about insurance in CNBC Arabia.

Source: Atlas Magazine, Miscellaneous sources and Arab Re

Favorable socio-economic trends and recent laws on mandatory insurance are likely to spur a rise in demand for health and life insurance products especially in the MENA region's top three financial centers: the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain. From being virtually non-existent in countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the life insurance market in the MENA region has been expanding over the last few years. The MENA Insurance Barometer, published by the Qatar Financial Centre Authority in March 2016, notes that life insurance premiums in MENA totaled $7.9bn in 2014 compared to a US $4.1bn in 2007.

Furthermore, markets instinctively and naturally look for a real and profitable growth, risk-adequate returns on equity, business sustainability, public interest, professionalism and qualification. But,

unfortunately, overall premium written increases in several MENA markets are merely inflation reflections or deeply needed price correction trends.

Genuine organic growth has been driven by compulsory lines boosting overall MENA premiums and Global Takaful figures as well. Perhaps the strategy of Arab insurers is therefore shifting into innovation, as competing on the same portion of business instead of creating new business has led to unhealthy competition and then to an unbearable prices correction, value destruction and reputational issues. New products have to be communicated to make sure new demand is created.

However, the premium volume of compulsory lines, such as motor and health, makes it difficult for insurers to look for business significance elsewhere.

While it is unclear how soon governments in the region will move towards placing more responsibility on the private sector, the outlook for the market is a positive one. This is mainly driven by the economic growth being experienced, and is expected to power the market growth. Insurance can play a crucial role in addressing the key challenges of the MENA region by protecting the assets of individuals, families and businesses and promoting economic development.

Spreading hope or business confidence will only succeed if the proper insurance and reinsurance strategies are set in parallel, in order to cope with the market dynamics and limit losses to a reasonable extent until a better future is reached.

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