October is upon us with the pressure to rush through the last quarter of the year “above water”. The race is on to start 2018 with a bang.
Everyone is busy and stressed with Monte Carlo having set the tone for the renewal underpinned by Harvey and Irma, and then Josh and then Maria too. Some see it as a game changer for the industry. Others say the industry has enough reserves to see the hurricane season through with minimal damages. Others think ILS and capital market exuberance into reinsurance may now be curbed. Some even wonder if reinsurance is a growth sector bearing in mind that it has stagnated at 5% of direct premiums for the past few years at US$$230 billion.
In the Middle East, reinsurers, local, regional and internationals, are still very active with newcomers and new strategies by old players and all that Lloyd’s Jazz in town. The various building fires, political tensions, terrorist risks, rising motor and health claims and sporadic disasters have put severe pressures on insurers. But some have gotten good deals too, such being the lure of the Middle East in the global arena.
This month, FAIR comes to town in a big way for the first time in the GCC. So host country Bahrain has gone all out to ensure a great FAIR, bringing together an outstanding panel of speakers focusing on hot topics that can determine the future of the insurance industry. And FAIR has its own appeal and faithfuls too as more than 700 have already signed up with still a month to go as we go off stone.
With the focus on transformation as the theme at FAIR, we take a skydive to look at the world of Gen Y and how the industry can make the first move to woo these Gen Y folks into the trade. It is not a pipedream as insurance with all its data and analytics is an ideal playground for these Millennials. We need to “tweet-talk” to them in 140 letters.
In takaful, things are moving. Morocco is set to see both family and general taking off, while Turkey is looking at a final draft too. In the real world with M&A getting hotter, the first Shariah-compliant M&A insurance product has also been launched. We go a step further to look at the complexities of alliance in the takaful space with some invaluable ideas on getting it done with a cool bang. Given the renewal season, we look at new approaches for retakaful, bearing in mind those which have left the scene.
Our Country Profile this month is on FAIR’s host country Bahrain where we play up the strong fundamentals in the business though the life market seems to be slowing.
To keep up the October hype, we bring you several must reads from coping with changing consumer preferences in health; ensuring risk resilience in the oil and gas sector; to making bancassurance an efficient channel for both banks and insurers to engage customers.
With the IAIS Annual Conference in Kuala Lumpur in the first week of November, we bring you a feature that compares the regulatory reforms in the Middle East markets with what is happening in the world.
Lastly, I urge you to mark your dates for 22 November for our flagship ME Insurance CEO Agenda and the Gala Dinner of the 4th Middle East Insurance Industry Awards where we will, with pride and joy, recognise and salute excellence in the industry.
Here’s to a busy but productive October and the final quarter of the year.
Middle East Insurance Review