It’s time to start revving up for the rest of the year though the global markets are in pent-up anxiety with the currency fluctuations, stock market volatility, still-weak global economic growth and political tensions in the region.
That seems to be the state of the “new normal”, where it is “business as usual” despite the tensions amid the norms. Insurers, with managing risks as their raison d’être, are unperturbed and can even do better in these challenging times, especially if they can control fraud outflows and capitalise on the fears to offer peace of mind to individuals and corporates as well. This is the name of the game in town now.
The sigma figures of 2014 show how well the region has performed, led by Iran, Saudi Arabia and UAE. And remarkably, the UAE’s life market has surpassed the US$2-billion mark. Time to unravel the secrets in life.
In September, we bring you a cover story on reinsurance as Monte Carlo always take centre stage in the business, with over 2,000 professionals thronging. This time, there will be more from the capital markets to see the best cuts they can carve out of the reinsurance joints. Alternative reinsurance and capital market solutions hold sway these days, though in the Middle East it is still all about relationships and perhaps surprisingly, almost half the premiums go to foreign reinsurers. Can local and regional reinsurers do more to keep more business, or does big just hold sway with greater securities? How are reinsurers grappling with the soft market, and is there hope yet for better pricing? Dream on, say some as more players are a-coming to the region to diversify. Reinsurance is a tough business, but one that holds the insurance industry together though it is still very much a buyer’s market.
Our Country Profile is on Lebanon where players breeze through tough times with optimism and verve, a new ACAL head has great aspirations for a dynamic industry and even talks of setting up a new oil and energy syndicate, and a new Acting Commissioner sees the market trebling in good time with a keen eye on consolidation.
On the takaful front, we look at the efforts of the GTG to accelerate growth in the takaful market and how the industry can or should plug the gap in the takaful chain. Perhaps a more conscious attempt at education is vital to enable takaful to reach its full potential.
We revisit the perennial interest in political violence and political risks where the Middle East is setting the standards and raising the bar.
With September being the time to celebrate, we bring you the headlines from the MICC, all set to mark its 5th Anniversary with a Public Forum on “Managing the Increasing Risk Exposures in an Era of Disruptive Innovation”, with the determination to salute the value that insurance adds to businesses to boost their competitive edge. It is a must-attend event in October in Dubai. Sign up now.
As for the Middle East Insurance Industry Awards, the entries continue to impress. The actual judging will be done in October and the winners, to be selected by secret ballot, will be kept under lock and key till the actual presentation on 17 November held in conjunction with the inaugural Dubai Rendezvous, co-organised with the DIFC and the DIFC Insurance Association. This is a rendez-vous not to be missed to get set for the renewals.
I take this opportunity to wish everyone a great September and a better comeback even if interest rates remain south-bound.
Editor-in-Chief, Middle East Insurance Review