Jun 2019

Read the latest edition of AIR and MEIR as an Interactive e-book



Call for nominations for 6th Middle East Insurance Industry Awards

Nominations are now open for the 6th Middle East Insurance Industry Awards (MIIA). The deadline for third-party nominations is 12 June and for self-nominations is 30 June.

Higher medical inflation in MEA compared to global average

The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region has typically seen higher medical inflation compared to the global average, according to an annual global medical trend survey by Mercer Marsh Benefits.

External collaboration and scaled innovation can fuel growth in the Middle East: MetLife's LumenLab

Customer-centricity and fostering constructive collaboration with industry players are crucial elements for innovation and the growth of any business, said Mr Zia Zaman, chief innovation officer, MetLife Asia and CEO of Lumenlab.

Bahrain: CBB issues draft rules for insurance aggregators

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has issued draft rules for insurance aggregators, marking its first strategic move towards InsurTech.

Bahrain: Regulator grants licence to Cigna Life

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has granted a licence to Cigna Life Insurance Company of Europe (Cigna) to open a branch in Bahrain. The licence allows Cigna to expand its business in the kingdom, the regulator said in a statement.

Bahrain: Arig to cease underwriting despite positive 1Q2019 results

Arab Insurance Group (Arig) has posted a consolidated net profit of $1.8m attributable to shareholders for the first quarter of 2019 (1Q2019) from $0.5m for the corresponding quarter in 2018 (1Q2018). Despite the improved performance, the board of directors announced that Arig would cease underwriting activities.

Egypt: Digital health platform achieves milestone for its remote medical advice campaign

Altibbi, a leading digital health platform in the MENA region, has achieved a milestone in its ‘One Million Free Medical Consultations’ initiative, providing 50,000 free consultations in only two months and receiving 87,567 consultation requests on the app.

Egypt: Govt denies privatising new health insurance system

The Egyptian government has issued a statement to deny reports on the privatising of the country’s new comprehensive health insurance system. The cabinet information centre explained that it has contacted the Ministry of Health which affirmed that no privatisation for the new system is being planned, according to Egypt Today.

Iran: Economic council backs proposal for universal insurance fund for Nat CATs

The governor of the Central Bank of Iran has revealed that the Supreme Council of Economic Coordination has endorsed the creation of a universal insurance fund to cover losses caused by natural disasters.

Jordan: Over 80,000 subscribers benefit from SSC unemployment insurance

Around 82,000 subscribers have benefitted from the Social Security Corporation (SSC) services, worth a total value of JOD70m ($98.7m), since the introduction of the unemployment insurance system in September 2011, said media reports.

Kuwait Re's 1Q net profit up 61% to $5.4m

Kuwait Re has reported a net profit of KWD1.6m ($5.4m) for the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 60.8% compared to the same period in 2018, contributed mainly by the increase in net earned premiums and the investment income. Basic and diluted earnings per share (EPS) were 9.25 fils, compared to 5.75 fils in the same quarter last year. 

gig-Kuwait partners Beyontec to drive digital operations

Beyontec, a global insurance information and technology solutions provider with significant presence in Kuwait, has announced that it has been selected by Gulf Insurance Group Kuwait (gig-Kuwait) to implement the Beyontec Suite, its core solution, across general and group life lines and ERP business. 

Lebanese Association of Actuaries organised inaugural workshop to promote actuarial profession

The Lebanese Association of Actuaries (LAA) hosted its first workshop in early May, in response to the increased focus, both locally and internationally, on the important role of the actuarial profession.

Morocco: 3 universities to offer degree in insurance techniques and consultancy

Moroccan students will be able to enrol in a degree programme in insurance techniques and consultancy provided by three different universities starting from September 2019, said media reports.

Oman: Dhamani is not a 'socialised' health insurance scheme - CMA

The move to generalise health insurance among private sector employees, residents and visitors to Oman is not a ‘socialised’ health insurance scheme and will not be subsidised by the government, a senior Capital Market Authority (CMA) official said during a meeting held to introduce Dhamani, the sultanate’s health insurance project, reported Times of Oman.

Qatar: QIC posted 15% increase in net profit in 1Q2019

Qatar Insurance Company (QIC) has reported a net profit of $75m for the first quarter of 2019 compared to $65m in the same period in 2018, according to a press statement. This 15% increase is attributed to improving underwriting results and resilient investment income.

Qatar: QGIRC's board approves future growth plans

The shareholders of Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance Company (QGIRC) have approved the company’s strategic growth plans, including exploring new investment opportunities, boosting its competitiveness and optimising its assets in other sources within Qatar and abroad, said media reports.

Saudi Arabia: SAMA and CMA sign agreement to establish FinTech centre

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and the Capital Market Authority (CMA) have signed an MoU to establish the FinTech Saudi Center as part of the kingdom’s Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP) under the Saudi Vision 2030.

Saudi Arabia: New centre for motor insurance dispute resolution launched

The General Secretariat of the Committees for Resolution of Insurance Disputes and Violations has launched the Center for Settlement of Lawsuits at the General Secretariat for resolution of lawsuits filed by individuals against Saudi insurers.

Saudi Arabia: Tawuniya to develop its first shared-value insurance product

The Company for Cooperative Insurance (Tawuniya) has signed an agreement with Vitality Group, a global provider of health and wellness solutions, to launch a unique health programme in Saudi Arabia.

UAE: Insurance Authority mulling raising foreign ownership limit to 100%

The UAE Insurance Authority (IA) is considering raising the limits on the foreign ownership of insurance companies from the current 49% to 100%, said media reports citing a senior official at the IA.

UAE: Insurance Authority supports protection for the energy sector

The UAE Insurance Authority (IA) has signed an agreement with the 24th World Energy Congress to sponsor and exhibit at the event, aiming to educate attending energy stakeholders on their responsibilities and rights when buying insurance.

UAE: DIFC to replace gratuities with low-cost savings scheme by Jan 2020

The DIFC is reportedly pushing ahead with plans to replace expat workers’ end-of-service gratuity system with a funded, trust-based savings scheme by 1 January 2020, said media reports.

UAE: Insurance House raises $4.4m through perpetual bonds

Abu Dhabi-based Insurance House (IH) has successfully issued AED15m ($4.4m) in perpetual bonds, subscribed by a wide range of investors from private and public institutions, as well as high-net-worth individuals.

UAE: Vast majority of residents fail to insure their homes

Only one in 10 residents in the UAE has home insurance, leaving the vast majority of the population uninsured, said

UAE: ADNIC achieved 43% growth in GWP in 1Q2019

Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC) has recorded a significant growth in GWP for the first quarter ended 31 March 2019 despite challenging market conditions. Its GWP increased by 42.8% to AED1.7bn ($473.8m), compared to AED1.22bn for the same period in 2018.


Lloyd's plans to cut cost long overdue

After years of criticism directed at the unsustainable cost of writing business at Lloyd’s, in a recent strategy document CEO John Neal revealed plans to move to electronic exchanges within the next year in a belated response to competition from cheaper rivals.

Aon reports risk readiness drops to lowest level in 12 years

Economic and global trade concerns are challenging organisations’ ability to invest adequately in preparing for and protecting the continuity of their operations, according to findings from Aon’s 2019 Global Risk Management Survey.

Central banks call for greener financing to combat climate change losses

A group that includes 30 central banks around the world has called for measures to spur green finance and better assessment of the risks from higher global temperatures in response to insurers seeing a record $160bn in climate-related losses in 2018.


Global: IFSB admits a supervisory authority and one market player into its membership

The Council of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) has resolved to approve the admission of Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority and HLC Foundation Limited into the IFSB membership. QFC Authority will be an associate member, while HLC Foundation will join as observer member. 

Malaysia: Zurich Malaysia and Alliance seal 15-year bancassurance & bancatakaful deals

Zurich Malaysia has inked an exclusive 15-year bancassurance and bancatakaful agreements with Alliance Bank Malaysia and its subsidiary Alliance Islamic Bank to offer its general insurance and general takaful products across the bank’s distribution network in the country.

Malaysia: Syarikat Takaful's bancassurance partnerships expected to boost earnings

Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Keluarga Bhd’s (STMKB) strong bancassurance partnerships with four major partners, including Bank Islam Malaysia, Bank Rakyat and Affin Bank, will continue to be the major contributor to boost STMKB’s earnings, said RHB Research.

Malaysia: Takaful industry eyes low-income group

Malaysia’s takaful industry is planning to launch more affordable products such as Perlindungan Tenang to target the bottom 40% (B40) income group, in line with Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) aspiration to narrow the protection gap in the country. 


Qatar: Pioneer Islamic bank launches takaful product for low-income workers

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) has launched a new takaful product targeted at low-income workers as part of the bank’s efforts in offering products and services tailored to the needs of the state’s entire population. 


Saudi Arabia: MedGulf inks multi-year deal with external shariah auditor

The Mediterranean and Gulf Cooperative Insurance and Reinsurance Company (MedGulf) has signed a multi-year agreement with Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) for its shariah audit services as part of the company’s shariah-compliant transformation strategy.

UAE: AMAN Insurance develops five-year plan, elects new board of directors

The Dubai Islamic Insurance and Reinsurance Company (AMAN) has developed a five-year plan, for the period 2019-2023, aimed at bolstering the company’s position, financial standing and earnings. 

UAE: Leading takaful operator saw 37% increase in net profit for 1Q2019

Abu Dhabi National Takaful Company (ADNTC) has posted strong results for the first quarter of 2019, achieving a 37% increase in net profit amounting to AED36.7m (for policyholders and shareholders before qard hasan provisions) compared to AED26.9m in the corresponding period of 2018.