I hope Ramadan has given everyone the best of time to sit and reflect on the guiding principles, not just in life but in business too. How is the MENA region doing on the insurance front? Despite the rising geopolitical and regional tensions within, oil prices have breached the $80-a-barrel mark on the day I write this editorial – reviving pockets of hope and optimism for the region. One just needs to look with the right pair of eyes.
As for reinsurers, some have said that for the next renewals, one can expect to see differentiation in renewal terms determined by individual business merits and insurer-reinsurer partnerships. But then there is so much leeway in assessing relationship merits that even rating bodies can’t begin to second-guess.
This June, GAIF takes centre stage with its biennial conference just a week after Eid al-Fitr. Despite earlier worries that the timing might be too tight, there are already 1,300 delegates registered and the numbers are rising. Business priorities seem paramount and GAIF is always special to all Arab insurers and reinsurers, as the secretary-general says with commitment and passion.
At this GAIF conference, with a dedicated theme on digital transformation, the industry will get a chance to come to terms with disruption as a complementary business opportunity. The real crux is whether GAIF can actually get companies to share their tech experiences while inspiring others. Can the insurance industry reinvent itself to remain relevant? This is our cover story to get CEOs to sit up and ponder.
In line with this tech theme, we look at AI to see how and if insurers can use technology to get more customer-centric and efficient in claims handling and fraud detection. Is the industry getting good support from tech firms or is it awaiting regulatory guidance to move forward?
Our country profile is on Tunisia, the host country that has been working so hard to make this GAIF conference a special experience for all. With growth being sluggish, competition is intense and the stress is on new products and avenues of sales, including takaful. With the revision of the insurance law in the pipeline, the mantra of bigger is better is gaining credence with insurers forced to look at better governance.
Even in takaful, hopes are pinned on tech innovation as the way forward, with tech also seen as the gatekeeper of compliance. As an extra, we bring you an interesting look at how, even in Asia, takaful is struggling for scale although there is opportunity for growth. This will be food for thought for the revived International Takaful Summit returning to London in July.
Lastly, a reminder that if you are doing something special or different or amazing, don’t hesitate to take part in the 5th Middle East Insurance Industry Awards. Self-nominations are open until 12 July.
And to all our Muslim readers, Eid Mubarak. Have the best meetings in GAIF. Business matters and networking makes the difference, always!
Middle East Insurance Review