How swiftly December has come. And altogether 2018 has been quite a challenging year for all with greater traction on the regulation and compliance fronts. And in the UAE with the VAT, there has been an overall cost increase too which some put at an even 20% for most things. Within the region, there were also greater accidents and disasters pushing claims up, with the renewals expected to be tough going.
For the first time, we hear cedants comparing quality of reinsurance and coming to terms that those using highly rated reinsurers must be prepared to pay more for the renewal and will be expected to charge higher rates, too. Hence there seems a preparedness to accept a hardening market in most classes of business especially as some reinsurers exit the market. There is also a lament that some of the bigger boys are not showing much interest in the region. But, there are still newcomers eyeing the region as always. With reinsurance being a global game and rating agencies insisting on geographical spread, there are still reinsurers looking for business. The facultative market is also still very active as the risk profile gets more complex.
On the growth front, there is higher expectations for 2019 as the economy gathers steam despite the global trade wars and credit squeeze. And technology is seen as the great buzz in most sectors as it disrupts and forces new ways of doing business, creating greater cost efficiencies in good time.
Our cover story this month features the winners of the 5th Middle East Insurance Industry Awards (MIIA) which has come to be seen as the standard bearer of excellence in the market. We want to see the 15 winners in each category push the bar further to raise standards in the market and boost professionalism while making insurance a household word of joy and acceptance.
With tech, we take you across to engage customers directly and give them the option to deal with insurers any which way 24/7. And in big data, it is all about using the data collected to build a portfolio that is innovative with new covers giving more value and service across the board in personal lines especially. This same message is further enshrined in the life business where customer needs and wants take precedence.
Our country profile is on Kuwait – still awaiting its reforms to bring a quick fix for the low penetration in the market. Kuwait has tremendous potential and lots of attractive niches for insurers to tap into as the economy surges ahead.
Our takaful focus this month looks at the changes needed to apply IFRS 17 to takaful models. Though IASB has delayed IFRS to 2022, it is still a-coming even for takaful business.
It is December and hence one must go that extra mile to achieve set targets. As they say in the literary circles, stretch out your arms even farther, till one fine day…
I take this opportunity to wish all readers a fantastic countdown to 2019 and to our Christian readers the very best of Christmas: ‘Tis the season to be jolly.
Middle East Insurance Review