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. 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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The Culprits of Oil Spill Disasters

It is mid-January 1991; the oil valves and pipelines have discreetly been spilling into the Arabian Gulf. In May that year, an alleged estimate of ten million barrels of oil and over eighty sunken wrecked ships polluted the area.

Until this day, the gulf incident remains to be the worst oil spill in history.

Although many lost fleets reside in the seabed of oceans, the shipping and energy industries pose a daily threat to our blue planet.

 The below statistics and figures summarized from the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited’s database show the frequency and amount of oil tanker spills over time.

Source: International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation

We can infer from the numbers above, that one incident can leave substantial damages behind, and that the diminished frequency of oil spills demonstrates better vessel management.

The economic distress and damaged ecosystem at the time of such losses occupy breaking news headlines.

However, it is just as important to reflect on the extent of cover that insurance can provide, and the compromised efforts of policyholders in understanding their insurance policy.

The courts of England have played a significant role in the advancement of insurance, cover, policy, and wording. Once claim disputes reach the courts, and are appealed in front of a judge, the final judgements or rulings, which are referred upon as precedent cases, create new statutory requirements. Accordingly, these statues become law and thus affect profoundly insurance requirements. In response, insurance companies create or amend their insurance programs as required.

Unsurprisingly, the development of insurance liability policies (in terms of cover and reasonably foreseen events) lags behind until this very day. Insurance policies remain uncertain, and are only a mere promise to diminish the costs of abrupt oil outbreaks.

The Deep Water Horizon case shows how costly improper contract interpretation and the uncertainty of insurance policies and can be.
The catastrophic British Petroleum (BP) oil spill in 2010, which had leaked 4.2 billion barrels of oil, received substantial consideration for their operating misconduct and compensation fund for victims.

Initial reports estimated the total amount that BP and its drilling contractor Transocean should pay for the ill-fated rig to be around $750 million (as per property casualty newsletter Feb 13, 2015)1. However, industry experts estimated that the ultimate cost could rise up to $50 billion.
To meet liabilities, BP turned to Transocean’s insurance policy (which named BP as co-insured) for compensation for the extensive sub-surface oil pollution. This evolved into a series of court cases; are BP entitled to claim from Transocean’s policy2? Transocean’s insurance policy covered the rig for a $50 million primary layer from Ranger Insurance and an excess layer up to $700 million dollars from Lloyds3 amongst other insurers. However, the final ruling at

the Texas Supreme Court denied BP’s entitlement; the standard contractual risk allocation in the oil and gas industry holds the principal (being BP) legally responsible for any liabilities incurred by their subcontractor (being Transocean) specifically for sub-surface pollution.

Simply put, BP did not exercise enough due diligence in understanding their insurance policy. It is also worth noting that contracting partners should never interdependently rely on each other’s insurance contracts.

As for BP’s own insurance, they are self-insured through their own insurance company Jupiter Ltd (with an underwriting limit of $700 million)4. Evidently, a good percentage of the overall costs of Deepwater’s deadly spill will probably pay out from BP’s net profit over the years. BP had already paid $20.8 million to federal and state governments along with $175 million to investors, and this was just the beginning. Alleged reports on July 2016 have declared that the total cost of Deepwater Horizon is now close to $62 billion5. Such disastrous events could wipe out years of profits and leave alpha firms bankrupt if the cover reflected in the insurance policy does not match.

Insurance contracts and their wordings by nature lead to different interpretations. A single word or change in punctuation can completely alter the reader’s understanding.

In Transocean’s insurance policy, BP is simply named as co-assured with no monetary cap or clear extent of cover. Moreover, some of the conditions of cover may not apply for either BP or Transocean due to international acts or conventions. The insurance policy itself will not refer to exemptions, allocations of responsibility, or define acts.

Another distinguished oil spill case was the accident of marine vessel Exon Valdez. In which Exon hit a reef off Alaska6. The accident leaked 11 million barrels of oil (approximately 20% of the supertanker’s cargo). The Exon incident raised government awareness, and inspired the signing of the Oil Pollution Act (US) in 1990 (which is still the most important act for oil spills)7. This act dictated the responsibilities of the owners of vessels or other facilities relative to oil leakage. This act continuously influences other aspects in insurance policies as well; wherein its impact on business interruption insurance sets an example. In brief, business interruption policies cover the insured for loss of income, of ceased operations, in the event of a disaster.  The Oil pollution act has specifically demanded that there be a connection between damage to property/natural resources and “pure” economic loss.

This is a problem for claimers because it is difficult to establish a direct connection between pollution incurred and the firm’s operations. Debatably, the subsequent economic loss from a spill will be the cost of their liabilities; however, this does not serve as a direct loss and the claim stands refuted.

It is with no doubt that,

the most plausible solution for oil spills from ship-source (ie: travelling vessels and energy offshore vessels) is P&I - in short for Protection and Indemnity.

The P&I’s capacity to cover such enormous claims relies on a shared pool of funds between members. However, government agencies conduct the actual cleanup operations while closely involving the clubs. The limit of cover for clean-up costs and compensation for contamination damage is USD one billion8 any one event; should the costs go higher than this limit, the clubs will liaise with International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund for third party damage only9.
Operational oil and gas facilities have a different insurance solution, whereby “Lloyds” leads the market. QBE is one of the leading insurers, and offers a USD 150 million capacity for oil and gas liability. However, the structure of the policy and pricing have been undergoing changes ever since the BP incident; there has been an increased demand for insurance at double the limits and more stringent regulatory requirements. In response, Lancashire, a lead reinsurer in the energy sector, has raised their levels of premium by 10-30%10.

Lloyds has always been the number one market for oil and gas insurance. However, Lebanon has taken up great interest in creating insurance capacity to cover the forthcoming drilling works in the region. This prevailed in the Annual 31st GAIF conference held in Beirut, Lebanon (in May 2016) whereby discussions of the future of the oil and gas industry for Arab insurers grasped the attention of the international attendants. Mr. Wissam Zahabi, chair of the Lebanese Petroleum Administration, had the liberty of presenting the legal and regulatory structure of the oil sector in Lebanon, which has taken on a promising route for a much more developed track. Engagements were already underway before the GAIF conference, whereby

Mr. Max Zaccar, current president of the Association des Compagnies d’Assurances au Liban (ACAL), has declared that the idea of an insurance pool managed by ACAL members is under discussion with the Lebanese Petroleum Administration

and the Ministry of Energy & Water in an exclusive interview in January 201611. It has been a busy year for the Lebanese Petroleum Administration with several conferences internationally and locally12.

To close, it is just as interesting to compare the average net retention of insurance companies in Lebanon to the $ one billion limit that P&I insurers offer globally.

However, practically Lebanese local insurance companies cover up to $ two million dollars on average under their net retention. As a result, the coverage gap is substantial.

So how will the local insurers contribute to the pool? And to what extent? What capacity will the future pool offer? Where will the funds come from? According to ACAL, in 2015 USD 1.52 billion worth of premium was written across all insurance lines in Lebanon.

A simple comparison shows that this can barely help cover a single oil spill policy of which the minimum adopted insurance limit is USD 1 billion of coverage.

This all leaves us with much anticipation for the challenges to secure coverage and the unfolding accomplishments in 2017.

The presence of oil and gas deposits in the Lebanese territorial waters did not just make headlines; documentation of this has been present for more than fifteen years now.

In 2010, the US Geological survey noted that there are around 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas in the Levant Basin area13.

Until present, there are no wells in Lebanon’s waters. In light of all this excitement, we think how disastrous it would be if we face any oil fiascos that could happen anywhere in the world. However, such occurrences depend on the conduct of the contractor employed and their safety culture. The accomplishments and failures of chief oil contracting firms can serve as Lebanon’s stepping-stone in understanding the insurance requirements of offshore/drilling works.

Insurance goes hand in hand with risk management. This takes us back to the BP case, were Professor Nancy Leveson14, with over 30 years of experience in safety engineering, is on board the Baker Panel investigation of the BP safety culture.

Leveson has highlighted some major shortfalls; if counter actioned, can serve as sound recommendations for future works. It is imperative that the leaders in oil companies provide incentives for updating safety control technology in their firms. To achieve this, the oil offshore industry needs to acknowledge that there is a clear relationship between safety, profits, and future visibility. Leveson also stressed that there are no clear industry standards and that guidelines are weak. The workers on BP’s platform had minimal training, and at present, there are no required certifications for the workers on site.

Many professionals such as Leveson have valuable recommendations for the actual works; nevertheless, insurance companies also contribute to safer operations. The insurer “Travelers” for instance provide their customers with an emergency response plan for different explosion or defect scenarios; however, “Travelers” do not warrant or guarantee accuracy and do not hold themselves responsible15.

In this turmoil, the whole world seems to be more concerned with the continuity of the supply of oil. The US Energy Information Administration (US EIA) has declared that we will have sufficient oil up until 204016. At the same time, BP boldly states “Nobody knows or can know how much oil exists under the earth's surface or how much it will be possible to produce in the future17.” However, pollution-free substitutes are on the rise. Renewable forms of energy such as biofuels and solar energy could be the future. Still,

research and testing to date is modest, and considerable roadblocks lie ahead of us; it would take decades to replace oil.

However, these new forms of energy provide new opportunities for investment, research, and innovative insurance programs. In this light, we can say that the future is not something to be predicted, but something to be achieved.


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