Nov 2019

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Editor's Message

Source: Middle East Insurance Review | Sep 2018

Everything comes alive in September no matter how hot or chaotic the summer has been. The world is going through chaotic times with the various Trump spats with China, Iran and Turkey rippling through the trade and financial markets. And this summer has been worse with the extreme heat driving home the full import of global warming and climate change.
So September must come with a reprieve in thought, word and deed. Will it?
The start of the renewal season with the Monte Carlo Rendezvous always adds a buzz even in the Middle East with several of the regional reinsurers showing up in Monaco where some 2,000-odd reinsurance leaders gather to suss out the mood and direction for the 2019 renewals. The alternative capital market is holding sway, and reinsurers are forced to find ways to be resilient as exposures and claims are increasing.
Our cover story on reinsurance underscores the chase for growth with tenacity despite the persistent overcapacity. Interestingly despite the MENA markets lagging behind the global markets in growth for the first time in a decade, the regional reinsurers remain optimistic.  Such is the spirit of resilience that reinsurance operates in given the rising oil prices and greater spending at home and as regulators get tougher on non-compliance. Reinsurers are also looking at digital services and being solution providers beyond just risk carriers. 
Our country profile is on Oman, the host to the 12th Middle East Healthcare Insurance Conference. Compulsory health insurance has boosted the size of the business in the region significantly. In Oman, the new compulsory health insurance will add a big boost to the non-life market, which is highly competitive. Though the market is profitable, the pricing is still deemed inadequate. The takaful sector in Oman, now in its fifth year, is seeing growth outpacing the traditional sector.
On takaful, we salute the winners of the International Takaful Awards in London, which has come back after a break, as well as look at various regulations sprouting up. Malaysia, a leading player in takaful, is mulling over health takaful for low- and middle-income classes, while Kenya is looking at new regulations by year end.
We are all set for the Takaful Rendezvous 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in October with the emphasis on ‘back to basics’ to bring takaful back to its core values that made it vitally important and different from the traditional.
On the reprieve front, we bring you a focus on being on the cutting edge of technology, including blockchain to help the market grow fast and deep.
The other reprieve is the investment in talent and how to nurture talent in the era of automation. Is there a scope for human-centric technology? How innovative can insurers get to enrich the employee experience?
A final reprieve is the 5th Middle East Insurance Industry Awards to recognise and salute the best in the industry. Book your seats early for the Gala Dinner at Conrad Dubai on 26 November.
Lastly, always be positive as it adds to the chance of success.
Sivam Subramaniam
Middle East Insurance Review
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