The UAE insurance market is moving in the right direction as listed insurers are showing good results, though the market faces a few challenges, participants of the Middle East Insurance CEO Agenda (MEICA) were told.
Delivering the keynote address at the conference held in Dubai, Mr Omer Hassan Elamin, President, Orient Group, said the market is improving as evidenced by the UAE listed insurance companies' net profit rising to AED1.13 billion (US$309 million) for the first nine months of 2017 against AED722 million for the corresponding period last year.
"We expect a great year, though there are a few challenges. To the best of my knowledge, there are very few treaties, and there are not many reinsurers and many of them do not want to continue. They are demanding increases in prices, and many companies are struggling to retain their market share in the face of competition."
He told the audience, mainly comprising CEOs, that the regulator, the UAE Insurance Authority, has played a major role in organising the market and the solvency issue is being addressed by companies.
Opening the conference, Mr Sivam Subramaniam, Editor-in-Chief, Middle East Insurance Review, said: “We decided to attract the attention of CEOs and challenge the quality of CEOs in the market. So we decided to hold this CEO Agenda with the theme “Are CEOs up to Mark with the Real Challenges Facing Insurance Industry?”
He posed a series of questions to the CEOs present: “What should be on the CEO’s Priority Agenda for 2018? What should be on the CEO’s dashboard to success? Are CEOs personally and collectively ready for the challenge? Can they bring their company to new heights? What will be the new role of CEOs in this era of active regulation and disruptive innovation?.”
Mr Safder Jaffer, Managing Director & Consulting Actuary- Middle East & Africa, Milliman, was the conference chairman.
The ensuing power-packed session, called Executive Hot Seat, Mr Vincent Vandendael, Chief Commercial Officer, Lloyd’s, was interviewed by Mr Subramaniam, followed by the CEO Roundtable on the subject “What keeps CEOs Going in the Day and Awake at Night”. The roundtable panellists included Mr Yassir Albaharna, CEO, Arig, Bahrain; Mr Marc Breuil, President, Asia Middle East, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, Hong Kong; Mr Andrew Smith, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah National Insurance Co; Dr Michael Bitzer, CEO, National Health Insurance Company (Daman); and Mr Mohammed Ali Londe Assistant Vice President-Analyst, EMEA Insurance, Moody’s Investors Service.
In the Special Panel on CEOs in Dialogue with Regulators, Mr Christos Adamantiadis, CEO, Oman Insurance Company; Mr Atinc Yilmaz, Regional CEO, Turkey, The Middle East & Africa, Howden Insurance Brokers; Mr Michael Kortbawi, Partner, BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP; Mr Andrew Bojkowski, Senior Manager, Insurance Supervision, Dubai Financial Services Authority, and Dr Haidar Al Yousuf, Director of Health Funding, Dubai Health Authority, deliberated on topics such as “Whose role is to develop the market?”
The “Special Panel on Digital Disruption Outlook” had panellists Mr Peter Englund, Senior Executive Officer, Head of Commercial Insurance, Middle East, Zurich Insurance Company; Mr Talal Bayaa, CEO/Co-founder, Bayzat; Ms Ambareen Musa, CEO & Founder, Souqalmal.com; Mr Michele Grosso, Co-Founder & CEO, Democrance, and Mr Trevor Maynard, Head of Innovation, Lloyd’s.
The conference was followed by a gala dinner during which the 4th Middle East Insurance Industry Awards was staged.
MEICA was organised by Middle East Insurance Review and sponsored by the MENA Insurance CEO Club (MICC), Oman Insurance Company and Moody's Investors Service, and supported by Dubai International Financial Centre, DIFC Insurance Association, International Insurance Society and Emirates Insurance Association. Asia Insurance Review was the Media Partner.