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KSA - Insurance disputes center to resolve auto claims - Egypt announces ins. fees for electric, hybrid vehicles - Rivals ride rising rates as Lloyd's abandons some ship ins. - MENA Fintech Association established - Saudi insurance market to see mergers soon - UAE - Central Bank launches a platform to report suspicious transactions - Central Bank of Iraq establishes Takaful Company - Kuwait parliament to examine insurance bill - KSA - STC launches 5G commercial services - Saudi Tadawul to lure foreign flows on FTSE third phase inclusion - Facebook's new cryptocurrency Libra revealed - Saudi Arabia - 11.3% growth in banking sector profits in 2018 - Emirates Institute for Banking Concludes Fintech Program - KSA - Al-Etihad Insurance approves capital hike - Egyptian fintech startup, Paynas wins prize - Dubai Health to offer early intervention on patients of concern - Egypt’s FRA finalizes new Insurance Act - MetLife’s LumenLab using Blockchain to automate claims - Profits of GCC insurers at $324.27 m in Q1 - Egypt – Central bank launches 1st fintech portal - Saudi insurers Walaa, Metlife AIG ANB consider merger - Afya 2 Kuwaiti retiree health insurance now available - Oman – Al Madina Takaful to empower SMEs - Bahrain among top ecosystems for female start-ups - Egypt – Central Bank of Egypt signs two MoUs on fintech - Allianz closes on acquisition at New York's 30 Hudson Yards - IAIS outlines new 5-year plan to address insurtech - US cyber premiums up 10% to $2.03bn in 2018 - UAE - Car ins. premium drops 9.5% in H1 - China Life ins. co. premiums grow 4.7 pct in Jan-May - Dubai’s hospitals feel pain of ins. Delays - Abu Dhabi - SALT Announces Its Global Thought Leadership Conference - 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. Approval - China's ins. sector runs smoothly with risks controllable - UAE – Need for compulsory fire insurance - Egypt – Agricultural ins. contract to cover natural risks - Egyptian Football Association gets ins. for Africa Cup of Nations - Egypt – Insurers pay 25% of revenues as admin expenses - Aviva to cut 1,800 jobs in expense saving push - Willis Towers Watson unveils new initiatives to fuel growth - Liberalisation in Myanmar a boon to insurers - Global reinsurance pricing not hard, but firming - June 1 rates expected to be up 10% – 30% for loss-affected accounts - Rate increases unlikely to stick without above-average losses - China's pet insurance market sees bright future - State Farm, USAA join forces to test blockchain solution - Saudi central bank grants licences to 14 fintech firms - Mastercard Partners With Bahrain FinTech Bay - SABIC renews long-standing partnership with Bupa Arabia - Burn-Out is a chronic condition according to WHO - Morocco - Marsh in the capital of Beassur - Belgium - 40% increase in the cost of fire and theft ins. - Egypt’s first FinTech accelerator promotes 10 startups - A.M.Best: Jordan ins. market remains highly competitive - Mohandes Ins. targets EGP 110m profit in FY19/20 - KSA - Al Ahlia gets SAMA's nod on 23% capital cut - Irish University to Offer Blockchain Master’s Degree - KSA – SAMA lifts the Ban on Union Cooperative Ins. - Egypt’s FRA wraps up Insurance Act consultations - NBB joins Bahrain Fintech Bay’s talent programme - AIB-Bahrain in bid to boost Islamic digital banking - Bupa Arabia provides health ins. to 299 orphans - Facebook to Roll Out Cryptocurrency in 2020 - Egypt - CBE to ban issuance of cryptocurrency without licenses - UAE economic growth expected at 2% in 2019 - Smart Dubai, DHA use AI to save lives - Alibaba Announces Blockchain Technology Integration - Gulf Capital acquires 70pc stake in Medica - Bahrain Association of Banks to launch sign language dictionary - Insurer First American left 900 m customer files exposed - Oman – Ins. premiums reached OMR 463.5 m in 2018 - UAE – Reinsurance absorbs AED 2.25 B premiums in Q1 - Egypt – EGP 12 monthly ins. premium on electronic cars - GCC bond and sukuk issuance surged by USD 32 billion in Q1 - Saudi fiscal deficit to reach 7 per cent of GDP in 2019 - UAE - Chinese conglomerate considers $ 10 B investment - MENA fund managers increase investments in Egypt - Bahrain - InsurByte Re-imagining Insurance 2019 - Sovereign investors favour unlisted tech - Amazon shareholders reject facial recognition ban - Kuwait - MoCI obliges all insurers to codify documents - Egypt - Regulator to review draft Ins. 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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To Brexit or Not to Brexit

Too much has been said lately about the Brexit and the consequences that will follow on to the UK financial markets. Given that the capital London is the 2nd largest city in European Union and the 4th largest city in Europe and is considered as a global financial center. Naturally,

Brexit will be a top issue in a country historically known as center of excellence for insurance and reinsurance including its famous Lloyd’s market,

which is the world’s specialist insurance and reinsurance market with more than 50 leading insurance companies and over 200 registered Lloyd’s brokers. In general, UK is regarded as well as the first largest market in term of long term savings in the world and the largest in the EU. In 2014, UK insurers contributed to around 213 billion pounds to GDP whilst employing 334,000 in the industry. This effectively constitutes an essential part to the UK’s economic strength knowing that investments reached around 1.9 trillion pounds in the same period.

 A historical glimpse of the UK-EU membership, going back to 1975 and two years only after joining the EU, UK held a referendum in June to gauge support for the country’s continued membership in the EU. The majority voted “yes” with around 67% of the votes agreeing to maintain partnership. 41 years later,

the winds of change reversed the previous referendum with the June referendum 2016 voting for the UK’S independence from the EU with 52% of the population,

majority age 40s and above, agreeing to the withdrawal. Withdrawal negotiations will start once the UK files a written notice to the committee and invokes accordingly the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

 The Brexit and its implication on insurance is a long story.

The British divorce from the EU could have an influence on the UK’s economy and specifically its insurance sector as London could be facing a potentially damaging test:

 “Can its ability to attract international talent and wealth survive a hard Brexit.” The major reason is that UK would see itself losing the single market membership that each member of the EU enjoys and which removes the sale and service barriers between the countries.

 There are some major benefits of being part of the EU, the substantial one is to allow the UK insurers to write business in EU member states, a total of 28 countries, without local capital regulatory requirements. Thus, allowing access to a single market through what is referred to as past-porting rights.

The relevance of a pass porting system in the insurance sector means that the underwriters are able to conduct business throughout the EU while being regulated and supervised by the Prudential Authority


(PRA), which is the UK financial regulator.

 Underwriters accordingly are not required to localize funds or to report to any local regulators in any state member they are operating in.

However, if Brexit does indeed happen, the UK insurers may have to make changes to their group structures to be able to have a presence in both the UK and the European Economic Area.

They will have therefore to set up subsidiaries in the EEA and vice versa.

 Another major benefit, would be the encouragement of foreign investments considering that London’s financial services industry is an attractive destination for global investment capital, most of which originating from outside the UK and especially from EU. The UK has been a preferred option for investment for many reasons: namely UK’s legal system, central location and the English language for business affairs. Another importance reason for attracting capital is particularly the access to a single market.

Moreover, the London insurance marketplace enjoys the benefits from the treaties and trade agreements that the EU had negotiated since its formation with countries around the world,

to date. There have been deals with 55 countries and the EU is planning to complete deals with another 87 countries. The consequences of making such deals is to open up countries and to allow as well foreign insurers to operate within the trading partner countries.

In view of the Brexit vote, the UK and Europe are now entering a period of great uncertainty.

As discussed previously, the major impact of cutting ties with the EU will oblige the insurance firms to open EU branches to be able to write business in their respective territories and this will undoubtedly result in significant resource and cost issues. Another major impact would be on regulation as the EU drives that regulatory environment and not being part of the EU will give more discretion to domestic authorities. For example, the UK could opt to pursue Solvency II and the risk would be within the UK only with no regulatory influence whatsoever on or from the EU.

On the contrary, some would argue that the withdrawal of the UK from EU could let the country be a more attractive destination for business. A prime example is Switzerland which is a financially stable country and not a member of the EU.

UK could be as well liberated from the Solvency II stringent requirement which will eliminate excess costs.

 It should be mentioned however that the status of London as a global insurance leader is at risk following Brexit. According to John Nelson, the boss of Lloyd’s of London and the Chairman of the specialist insurance market “The company will quit the city if it is not given guarantees about its access European markets, and added that the group wants more clarity from the government about what assurances ministers will seek during Brexit negotiations”.

At the moment, insurance firms trading at Lloyd’s can sell to the rest of the single market without restrictions,

however Nelson said, “if this were no longer the case, or even if the arrangement was subject to a prolonged period of uncertainty, the market would have to consider “contingency plans” and won’t be Lloyd’s losing out, it will be the UK, he warned”. On the other hand, the French Insurance Association insisted the European authorities to take a hard line with the UK during the withdrawal negotiations and has requested the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) to move to Paris after the process is finished. Bernard Spitz, president of France’s insurer association FFA, stated that” European negotiators should make sure British insurers will not gain a competitive advantage by opting out of European regulations and that some are engaged into maintaining the attractiveness of the city of London. But that is not acceptable for Europe’s insurance or reinsurance sectors.”
 
Therefore, the Brexit could result in lost business for the London insurance and reinsurance market unless the government negotiated a continuity of pass porting rights and formulated various options to minimize its impact. During such negotiations, the UK should agree on what would be the post Brexit relationship.

 There are three realistic potential relationships between UK and EU post withdrawal: either the Norwegian Model, or the Swiss Model and the Free Trade Agreement.

For the first model, known as well as the EEA membership, there is a full access to the single market as a member of the EEA. For example, Norway is obliged to implement all single market rules however does not have any influence over them. Norway is requested to accept the free movement of persons and is required to contribute towards the EU budget. Secondly, the Swiss Model or Bilateral Agreement, the one adopted by Switzerland, which has around one hundred bilateral agreements with the EU that give access to the single market for goods but not most of the services. Switzerland makes contributions to the EU budget and is subject to the free movement of persons. Finally, the Free Trade Area Arrangement, this option provides for a single bilateral free trade agreement.

 Though the first option could give the UK insurance market the pass porting and access needed to single market it could provide few advantages for the UK, as the EU legislation will bind the UK however the UK would not have any influence on it. As for the second model, if UK would opt this model, it will not automatically have to implement new EU legislation with agreements negotiated case by case. As for the third model if adopted, the UK would no longer have to implement all EU rules and pay into the EU budget however under this model, one single bilateral agreement would not give financial services firms the benefit of the EU passport bearing in mind that the negotiation process is lengthy.

 Despite what has been mentioned above, the Brexit could on the contrary give the UK a greater influence as an independent country making their own parliament and shape their own destiny as a world power. It should be mentioned as well that

the Brexit could influence and lead other EU members to hold their own referendums.

This could be the beginning of the end for the European Project.  
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