Arab Reinsurance Company: a new dimension
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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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Tackling Climate Change

Former President of the US, Obama once said “But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change”.

Climate change is becoming the biggest challenge of our time, spanning continents, countries generations and civilizations. The Earth is constantly heating at an alarming and unprecedented rate and the average temperature continuing to rise.

Two thirds of the global warming has occurred since 1975 at a rate of roughly 0.15 – 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade. Sadly, this change is believed to be permanently modifying the earth’s climate.

The main trigger is the greenhouse effect, which is increasing the amount of heat retained by the atmosphere hence causing the rise in temperature. Normally, the greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere block heat from being released, otherwise the temperature would have been around 33 degrees Celsius colder on average. Since the Industrial Revolution began and especially over the past 50 years, the Human activities, such as

deforestation and burning fossil fuels at a great rate, have contributed to an increased concentration of atmospheric CO2 along with other gases making the greenhouse effect worse.

The following table lists the 2015 annual CO2 emissions estimates (in thousands of CO2 Tons)


Source: Various sources & Arab Re research


The data only considers carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and cement manufactures, but not emissions from land use and forestry.

With this constant increase in CO2 emissions and average temperature, it should be expected to see record losses of ice melting in the Arctic Sea, increasing thus the sea level and exposing big cities like New York, Sydney and Mumbai to the risk of drowning. Over the last one hundred years, the ocean has seen a rise of 10 cm to 20 cm. This will influence too, the precipitation patterns with more storms and floods hitting the coastal zones. Oceans and Coral reefs are at risk as well. The latter are starving of oxygen causing eventually the death of the coral while oceans are becoming more acidic.

With the growing threat posed by climate change,

an unprecedented unification of governments all around the world to combat this risk was embodied though the famous 2015 Paris Agreement.

This was is a turning point in the road to low Carbon economy. The accord was negotiated by 196 representatives at the 21st Conference of the UNFCCC in Paris. As of July 2017, 195 UNFCCC members have signed the agreement, out of which 154 have ratified it. Those ratified countries have one aim that is to keep warming well below two degrees Celsius with a target to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Awkwardly and despite the US ranking as second highest emitter of CO2 worldwide, the US government decided recently to withdraw from the agreement causing widespread condemnation. Yet this has given China, ranked first, an opportunity to take the lead. To note that the EU remains one of the world’s carbon polluting regions and comes second just after China and US.

In line with their commitment towards the agreement, the Chinese government along with many European countries have adopted recently national programs aiming at reducing the greenhouse gas emissions i.e. building renewable capacity and nuclear reactors as well as limiting the use of coal in addition to giving incentives to buy electric and hybrid cars.

The target is that by 2020 there should be a 20% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990, and by 2030 a 40% percent reduction.

The common consensus is that there is definitely a relationship between the global warming and severe weather events.

The climate change has the potential to affect the frequency and severity of extreme weather,

which results in hotter heat waves and worse droughts as seen in the example below:

 

Source: Various Sources & Arab Re Research

With total losses increasing fivefold since 1980’s and reaching $170 billion today, the climate change has definitely become an emerging risk particularly for the insurance industry. It has indeed a profound impact on insured losses which could top at 1 trillion $ in a bad year.

The most disastrous year for the industry was in 2005 after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck America. Hurricane Katrina alone resulted in combined insured losses of around 41 billion $ and is considered to date as the worst insured loss event in the history of insurance anywhere in the world even bigger than 9/11.

The amassed number in extreme weather events has led the insurance sector to adopt a list of mitigation and preventive measures such as:

• Closer coordination with the construction sector by ensuring that rebuilding of properties are done in a sustainable way using better materials;
• Avoiding investments in companies that are major CO2 emitters
• Wider adoption of CAT modeling which is now being measured on a per risk basis for catastrophe exposure;and
• Tightening of policy wording with the use of named storm perils while excluding damages resulting from storm surge.

Additionally, the increased losses are making some of the previously insurable assets to become uninsurable.

The average annual gap have seen a rise from 23 billion $ in the 1980s, to 100 billion $ today. In response to this growing protection gap, 29 of the leading insurance industry organizations including Allianz, Aon, Aviva, Lloyd’s, Prudential, Swiss Re and Zurich launched in 2008 the Climate Wise, a global network with the main target of supporting the insurance industry to better communicate, disclose and respond to the risks associated with the risk of protection gap.

Likewise, the African Union is playing its part to reduce the weather-related disasters and in 2012, they have established the African Risk Capacity Agency (ARC Agency) and its affiliate the African Risk Capacity Insurance Company Limited. This body consists of 32 African nations, which aim at helping the members to improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and response to the threats of climate change. The main objective is to assist them in reducing the losses caused by extreme weather events.

As for the MENA region, it is considered as the world’s driest zone with less than 2% of the world’s water supply.

Recently it has been experiencing a tremendous amount of environmental hazards due to climate change effects i.e. the 2013 floods in Sudan, which caused the destruction of around 25,000 houses, the rainfall drop in Tunisia in 2016 causing agricultural losses of around two billions dinars and the extreme summer temperatures in Kuwait reaching 54 degrees Celsius and many others. 

Countries in the region are well aware of these threats and this has pushed Algeria, Jordan, Malta, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and UAE to ratify the Paris Agreement in 2016.

Additionally, all countries have submitted a plan on how they will adapt to the new climate conditions and how they will contribute to achieve their target of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions. For instance,

Morocco, planned to install five solar power plants by 2020 which are sufficient to cover 18 per cent of annual electricity production and save 3.7 billion tons of CO2 emission per year.

Also Saudi Arabia has taken steps to adapt is agriculture, with better water management and more climate resistant crops, while working on lowering the gas emissions. Tunisia, from its side, has made a great progress by embedding in 2014 the climate protection into its constitution and by announcing a 41% emission reduction by 2030.

Most importantly, the World Bank group has come up recently with a new plan that will boost the financing dedicated to climate change by doubling it to 2.5 billion $ per year by 2020 as part of its role of supporting the region in its energy transition phase.

With regard to the insurance sector, more efforts have to be put forward and serious implementations and strategies need to be implemented. This was raised during the latest 14th Carthage Rendez-vous, organized by the Tunisian Federation of Insurance Companies and Tunis Re with the collaboration of GAIF. During the congress,

insurance leaders of the region urged the industry to set up valid system to cover the impacts of climate change

and to build their financial and technical capacities while finding well suitable solutions for the region.

However, the insurance industry is incapable by itself to face the threats and cover the increasing cost of weather related losses. That is why a call for establishing a mechanism involving the private sector through sustainable Public Private Partnerships (PPP) schemes is crucial. The latter is a form of cooperative arrangement between the public and private sector aiming at developing innovative long term relationships between both sectors.

As for the situation in Lebanon specifically, it does not differ from the rest of the region, suffering from the impacts of climate change. According to Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),

with the current level of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission, the temperatures in Lebanon are expected to increase by 1 degree Celsius to 5 degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st Century.

Some international bodies in collaboration with the private and public sector have already started taking timid steps to reduce the costs that climate change will impose on Lebanon.  Such preventive measures include the erection of several large check dams to minimize the effects of floods and the increase of the lending capacity for eco-minded business corporations to invest in renewable energy.

Needless to say, that the Lebanese government should be more committed and involved in the global fight of climate change noting that these anticipated changes in weather will definitely impose direct impacts such as higher temperatures, changes in precipitation and reduction in agricultural productivity. The indirect impacts are expected to hit the economy with a slower growth and lower GDP thus affecting the incomes for workers and exposing the government to lower revenues.

It is obvious that climate change is a real and serious issue and the negative impacts combined with the increased extreme weather events are significant. How ready are we to cope with the impacts of climate change? Are we addressing it fast enough?

People need to know that we do not have the luxury of time and we need to get on truly with climate change adaptation. It is undeniable that climate change along with the concentration of economic values in large cities are posing an unprecedented change in the insured loss trends in the property (re)industry. Global insurers will continue to be intensively involved in studying climate change and adopting climate-friendly initiatives. At a MENA level, non-insurance associations such as banks, universities and industrial groups started tackling climate issues. Therefore, Arab insurers are invited to adopt the commitment made by global (re)insurers even though the MENA zone is relatively less prone to natural catastrophes compared to other parts of the globe.



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