Feb 2020

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MENA: World Bank forecasts region's growth to pick up in 2020-2022

Regional growth in MENA is projected to rise to 2.4% in 2020 and to about 2.8% in 2021-22, as infrastructure investment and business climate reforms proceed, according to the World Bank.

Middle East: Volume drives 1/1 property reinsurance season

Volume has been the key driver in property reinsurance business during the 1 January renewal period, said Willis Re in its latest 1st View renewals report.

Middle East: Insurers expected to revise covers and premiums amidst higher US-Iran tensions

The latest chapter of turbulence in the Middle East will undoubtedly lead to insurers and reinsurers, particularly in lines such as hull, war, piracy, terrorism, cargo and construction, raising premiums, renegotiating terms of cover and introducing riders and endorsements to policies to reflect the increased risks of trading in the region, said Mr Jonathan Moss, head of marine and trade at the UK-based multinational law firm DWF.

Algeria: Authorities stand firm on vehicle pollution tax

The General Directorate of Taxation (DGI) has set the amount of a new pollution tax for this year at DZD1,500 ($12.50) for passenger cars and DZD3,000 for all other vehicles and rolling stock.

Egypt: IIE and Unicorn Simulations organise workshop on strategic business planning simulation

The Insurance Institute of Egypt (IIE), in coordination with UK-based Unicorn Simulations, and under the sponsorship of Delta Insurance Company (Egypt) and Bavarian Insurance Brokerage, held a workshop for industry professionals in the Arab region called ‘Strategic business planning simulation workshop for running a profitable insurance operation’.

Egypt: Insurers to disclose commissions in insurance policies

The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has issued a decision to compel insurers to include all commissions, rewards or incentives for insurance brokers in the insurance contract to improve transparency. The decision followed complaints from several insurers and policyholders about malpractices.

Egypt: FRA grants first licence to group of individual brokers

The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has agreed to grant the final approval for a licence to Union Insurance Brokerage, which is made up of a group of individual brokers.

Egypt: Insurance federation sets up risk management unit

The Insurance Federation of Egypt (IFE) has launched a risk management department to support insurers to face societal, economic and technical challenges, and to back them when they renew reinsurance agreements, as well as when they seek a high credit rating from international rating agencies.

Iran: Govt to pay more than $100m for downed airliner

The Iranian government will pay $100-$150m in compensation for the Ukrainian plane which was accidentally shot down on 8 January by an Iranian-fired missile, said Mr Gulamali Jahangiri, deputy chairman of the Central Insurance of Iran, reported Trend News Agency.

Jordan: Insurers welcome new law but concerned with some provisions

A number of issues in the proposed new insurance law still need to be ironed out, even as the insurance industry in Jordan is eager for the amended law to be enacted, said Mr Majed Smairat, president of the Jordan Insurance Federation (JIF).

Jordan: Universal health insurance scheme to start in March

Jordan’s Minister of Health Dr Saad Jaber has announced that the proposed comprehensive health insurance system in the kingdom is scheduled to start in March.

Morocco: Sustainable growth seen in 2019

The Moroccan insurance market saw sustained growth last year, estimated industry professionals based on increases observed over the previous two years. Final figures for 2019 are pending from the Moroccan Federation of Insurance and Reinsurance Companies (FMSAR) and the Insurance and Social Insurance Supervisory Authority (ACAPS).

Oman: Immediate structural challenges to be faced

Oman’s newly appointed Sultan has a narrowing window to address the country’s fiscal and economic challenges, amid a backdrop of weak oil prices, said S&P Global Ratings.

Saudi Arabia: Insurance industry lauds move to separate insurance & reinsurance broking ops

The decision by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) for the insurance industry to have separate companies for reinsurance and insurance broking operations will lead to more transparency in contractual relations, job opportunities and greater confidence in the local market, said industry professionals.

Saudi Arabia: Merger moves afoot in insurance industry

Al Ahlia Insurance Company and Gulf Union Cooperative Insurance Company have recently signed an MoU to evaluate a potential merger.

Turkey: Insurance association bullish about growth of non-auto branches

The Turkish insurance industry should see growth in non-auto branches, with fire and natural disaster, general damage and general liability expected to stand out this year, according to the president of the Turkey Insurance Association (TSB).

Turkey: Sovereign wealth fund to take over govt-owned insurers, pension firms

Turkey’s sovereign wealth fund will take over insurance and pension companies owned by state lenders and consolidate them to increase their global competitive power, reported Reuters.

UAE: DIFC amends employment law to introduce end-of-service savings plan

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, has enacted the Employment Law Amendment Law No. 4 of 2020, said the DIFC. 

UAE: Wettest January in history causes insurers millions in losses

Industry players have estimated that losses suffered by insurers arising from traffic accidents during the recent rains range between AED50m ($13.6m) and AED60m.

UAE: ECI to use credit bureau's scores to support local traders

In a bid to support and strengthen local traders, Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI) has subscribed with Al Etihad Credit Bureau (AECB), a federal entity that provides credit information reports in accordance with the UAE Credit Information Law.

UAE: Regulator urges motor insurers to adhere to tariff system

Motor insurance rates fell by around 30% on average last year, according to insurance broking sources who allege that insurers took advantage of the accident-free clean-record system to undercut their competitors.

UAE: DIFC boosts insurance training via collaboration with Lloyd's, CII

The DIFC has signed separate MoUs with two leading institutions to upskill talent and promote efficiency and improvement.

Yemen: Survival of insurers teeters on the brink

The risks to the insurance market in Yemen have reached levels that threaten the survival of companies operating in the sector as a result of the ongoing conflict in the country that has affected economic and investment activities, said media reports.


Climate-related issues dominate WEF's global risks report

An annual risk survey published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has put climate change and related environmental issues as the top five risks in terms of likelihood – ahead of risks ranging from cyber attacks and pandemics to geopolitical conflict and weapons of mass destruction. It is the first time in the survey’s history that one category has occupied all five of the top spots. 

US risk modeller predicts $110bn in Nat CAT losses for 2020

Recent reinsurance renewals were difficult for some – apparently some entities alleged no indication for improvement this year. However, US-based risk modelling and forecasting company AbsoluteClimo expects improvement with below normal risk direction for 2020, with global total losses most likely to meet or exceed $110bn and a probability range from $80bn to $164bn – notably better than 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Green shoots of recovery for aviation despite tragic start to 2020

The aviation sector was greeted with the unfortunate news of the crash of Ukraine International Airlines flight in Iran early January which killed all 176 people on board. The Boeing 737-800 plane was bound for Kiev when it crashed just minutes after taking off at the Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran.

Catastrophe issuance bond achieves historic $100bn milestone

The CAT bond sector has surpassed $100bn in cumulative issuance since its inception more than 20 years ago, according to Aon Securities. 

Rough economic seas ahead as Wuhan virus spreads

Experts fear the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in China will have a major impact on economic growth in China, and that of the wider global economy.


Egypt: Misr launches life takaful venture with partners

State-owned Misr Insurance Holding has launched Misr Takaful Life Insurance with a capital of EGP150m ($9.5m) in partnership with Banque Misr and the National Bank of Egypt (NBE).

Indonesia: Shariah insurance body upbeat about takaful market

The Indonesian Shariah Insurance Association (AASI) projects that the contribution of the takaful sector in 2020 will grow by 10%. AASI is optimistic that premiums has grown faster than in 2019 because of an increasingly supportive ecosystem.

Nigeria: Takaful to deepen insurance penetration in 2020

Takaful is expected to contribute strongly to deepening insurance penetration in Nigeria this year, said insurance consultant Ekerete Gam-Ikon as reported by Nigerian daily The Sun. 

Saudi Arabia: Umrah pilgrims covered by new comprehensive insurance policy

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced that the number of a new comprehensive insurance policy issued to foreign umrah pilgrims in the first 10 days of this year reached almost 180,000, including more than 37,000 effective policies, according to a report by Saudi Press Agency.

Saudi Arabia: Several insurers announce corporate actions

A number of local insurers have announced proposed mergers among themselves or the reduction of capital to write off accumulated losses.

UAE: Bank sells takaful unit

Al Hilal Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), has agreed to sell Al Hilal Takaful, its Islamic insurance business and operations, to Siraj Holdings.

UK: Views differ on Islamic insurance development prospects

One area which the UK will likely seek to develop, especially in the wake of Brexit, is the domestic takaful sector.