Sep 2019

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



MENA: IMF lowers economic forecast for the region

Economic growth in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan region is expected to be 1% this year, rising to about 3% in 2020, said the IMF in its July 2019 World Economic Outlook Update.

Middle East: All eyes on Strait of Hormuz as tensions continue

Experts in the insurance industry have confirmed that the London-based Joint War Committee (JWC) has not announced any increase in the risk of war on ships in the Arabian Gulf, since the 19 July seizure of a British tanker by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz, said media reports.

Zurich marks 30 years in the Middle East with a series of initiatives

Zurich Middle East is marking its 30th anniversary in the region with a series of initiatives and appointments aligned with its objective of becoming the leading provider of life insurance in the Middle East. 

MEA: Beyontec partners AJMS to develop IFRS 17 solution

Beyontec Solutions – a global insurance technology solutions provider, has partnered AJMS – a leading accounting, tax and governance, risk & compliance (GRC) consulting firm, to develop a comprehensive IFRS 17 solution for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) insurance markets.

Bahrain: Afro Asian Assistance sets out growth plans

Afro Asian Assistance has outlined its plans for the future and announced leadership changes to execute the plans.

Egypt: New bill aims to tighten governance of private insurance funds

Egypt’s new insurance bill, which was recently finalised, aims to tighten governance in private insurance funds, requirements for members’ general meetings and forming the boards at private insurance funds.

Egypt: Bank of Cairo seeks insurance coverage of $423m for assets

Egypt’s state-run lender Banque du Caire (Bank of Cairo) is negotiating with a number of public and non-life insurers operating in the country to cover its assets and facilities, an official source has revealed.

Egypt: Retirement age to rise to 65 by 2040

A new Social Insurance and Pensions Act, passed in early July by lawmakers, aims to raise the age of retirement to 65 by the year 2040.

Egypt: Some insurers cut supplementary motor premiums by over 50%

Some insurers have slashed supplementary motor premiums by more than 50% to cope with the aftermath of the ‘Khalia Tada’ (‘Let them rust!’) social media campaign that has resulted in lower vehicle prices.

Jordan: Federation explains why insurers refuse fire cover in certain cases

Insurers want to and are able to insure risk, unless prospective customers cannot meet the requirements and conditions for securing cover, said Mr Majed Smairat, chairman of the Jordan Insurance Federation (JIF).

Jordan: New rule allows electronic verification of traffic records

The government has abolished a rule obligating vehicle owners to prove that they have not committed traffic violations when requesting a reduction in premiums when they seek renewal of their compulsory motor third party liability insurance cover.

Jordan: Aggregate profits of 22 insurers jumped 40% in 1H

The combined profits of 22 insurers operating in the domestic market increased by 40% to JOD13m ($18.3m) in the first half of this year, compared with the corresponding period last year, according to an analysis by Sanabel Alkhair for Financial Investments.

Kuwait: Insurers keen to step up Nat CAT covers with state support

Kuwait has witnessed over the last few years natural catastrophic damage in the winter caused by heavy rains and floods that resulted in huge losses because of damage to private property, cars and others, in addition to a steady rise in summer temperatures that caused losses due to vehicles catching fire, electricity short circuits, power outages and fires in some areas and buildings.

Lebanon: Local businesses work with regional export credit insurer

Lebanese companies signed $13.6m worth of export credit insurance contracts with Kuwait-headquartered Arab Investment & Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (Dhaman) in 2018.

Morocco: Wafa applies for insurance licence in Egypt

Wafa Assurance has reportedly submitted an application to the Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) for its initial approval to establish a subsidiary in Egypt. 

Oman: Preparations for national health insurance scheme in advanced phase

Preparations for the implementation of Oman’s national health insurance scheme, called ‘Dhamani’, have reached an advanced stage.

Qatar: Insurance market saw slower growth in 2018

GWP in Qatar increased by 7.5% during 2018, representing slower growth compared to 2017 when the pace of increase was 14.5%, according to the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) Financial Stability Report.

Saudi Arabia: Suspected motor fraud cases up by 20% to 26,000 since 2007

The rate of motor fraud in the insurance sector in Saudi Arabia has risen up to 15-20%, which is higher than the global average of between 9% and 10%, according to Dr Mohammad Alsuliman, CEO of Najm Insurance Services Company.

Tunisia: Premiums down by almost 6% in 1Q2019

The Tunisian insurance sector saw premium income fall by 5.8% to TND726.3m ($252.5m) in the first quarter of 2019, compared to the corresponding quarter in 2018 when premiums increased by 12.2%, according to data from the General Insurance Committee (CGA),

Turkey: More than 50% of houses are now quake-safe

The number of earthquake-safe houses in Turkey has increased from around 500,000 in 1999 to more than 9.1m currently. With around 17.7m residential buildings in the country, the proportion of earthquake-safe homes has reached 51.6%, reported Insurance Gazette.

Turkey: Insurance market grew 19% to $6bn in 1H

The insurance sector generated premium income of TRY33.25bn ($6bn) in the first half of this year, achieving growth of 19.3% over the corresponding half of 2018, according to data from the Turkey Insurance Association (TSB).

UAE: Etihad Credit Insurance signs MoUs with Chinese parties

Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), the UAE federal credit insurer, has signed three strategic MoUs with China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure), the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), and the Bank of China (BOC).

UAE: 5 insurers are first to join blockchain platform

Five insurers are the first to adopt an integrated blockchain platform developed by the DIFC-based Addenda, an InsurTech startup firm that uses distributed ledger technology to streamline processes between insurers.

UAE: DFSA joins network for greening the financial system

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) announced that it is now a member of the Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), becoming one of the first regulatory authorities in the MENA region to join the NGFS.

UAE: Oman Insurance posted a 75% surge in 1H net profit

Oman Insurance Company (OIC) retained its positive business momentum as net profit in the first half of 2019 grew by 75% to AED105.6m ($28.8m), supported by strong underwriting results, increased investment income, accelerated collections and leaner operating expenses. The profit was the highest half yearly net profit over five years. 

UAE: RTA and Dubai Police step up traffic safety and flow in the emirate

The heads of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Dubai Police recently held a coordinative meeting to discuss boosting joint efforts to improve the security and safety of roads and public transit means in Dubai.


Asia: Increased number of M&A leads to rise in transaction insurance

The deal environment in Asia-Pacific is becoming more fully integrated with western markets, according to a study conducted by Aon and Mergermarket. With 4,569 M&A deals announced in Asia in 2018 and with targets mostly in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the growth in transaction volume and cross-border deals continues its steady pace.

InsurTech investments remain strong through 2Q2019

Total global InsurTech investment in 2Q2019 amounted to $1.41bn, according to Willis Towers Watson’s InsurTech Quarterly Briefing report.

Moody's says ESG risks increasingly affect insurers' credit profiles

Insurers are increasingly exposed to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks, which can influence their ability to meet financial obligations and therefore affect their credit strength, said a Moody’s Investors Service report.

Researchers warn of 'unexpected implications' as climate risks converge

Environmental risks from human activities are becoming increasingly complex and interconnected, with far-reaching consequences for food production and livelihoods, said researchers from the US, Sweden and Australia in a research journal ‘Nature Sustainability’. 


MENA: Takaful contributions in the region ex-GCC exceed $10bn

Total contributions in the takaful sector in the MENA region (ex-GCC) grew on average by 8.2% to $10.2bn in 2017, accounting for 31% of the global takaful contributions, according to the Islamic Financial Services Industry Stability Report 2019 released by the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB).

GCC: IFSB says takaful firms are realigning strategies

Prospects for growth in the takaful sector in the GCC remain positive, as takaful operators are realigning their strategic focus towards meeting the needs of the market, according to the latest report by the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB).

Egypt: Proposed new law bars mergers between takaful and conventional players

Egypt’s proposed new insurance law, announced by the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) prohibits the merger of a takaful operator with a conventional insurance company.

Iraq: Islamic banks establish takaful company

The Central Bank of Iraq has established a takaful company for Islamic banks in cooperation with the Insurance Bureau.

Morocco: First takaful licences set to be issued soon

Morocco’s second law-making chamber, the House of Councillors, has passed without amendments the Takaful Insurance Bill, about five months after the lower house of Parliament approved the Bill unanimously on 5 February.

Saudi Arabia: 9 in 10 insurers will need to pump in capital, merge or wind up

Almost 90% of insurers currently operating in Saudi Arabia will have to raise new capital, consolidate through M&A or exit the market entirely when the regulatory authorities raise minimum capital requirements, according to S&P Global Ratings.

Saudi Arabia: 2 insurers studying possible merger

Solidarity Saudi Takaful and Aljazira Takaful Taawuni have signed a non-binding MoU to evaluate a potential merger between them.