Nov 2019

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Editor's Message

Source: Middle East Insurance Review | Mar 2019

We burst into March with so much promise of action in the Middle East. There are many things happening on the regulatory front – some very proactive and forward-thinking, while others are long overdue. Some old issues resurface and remain. But all round, despite the decrease in reinsurance capacity in the region with estimates starting at $500m, the outlook for the industry is positive. Even as some players exit, there are yet others rushing in. And then there is a “hotting up” on M&A, with the musical chairs of CEOs being in full swing, too.
There was the Dubai World Insurance Congress last month heralding to the world the promise and potential of what insurance in the region can do with technology and InsurTech, and how the hotspots in the Middle East for global players are looking for action. The market outlook is positive; even the rating agencies are touting that rated and well-capitalised insurers can offset regional risks.
On the takaful front, where the assets are forecast to hit $73bn in four years’ time, there is an ongoing debate on accounting of insurance contracts as we approach the IFRS 17 deadline. But, there are still many new takaful operators appearing with the promise of rapid growth and a greater appreciation of the real value of takaful. There are also various new takaful regulations seeking to drive distribution. A more dynamic distribution and reach will mean a burst of creative energies in sales and marketing to make the growth stunning, hopefully.
Our cover story this month is on life which has seen a relatively high growth in the past decade and now accounting for a significant 17% of the insurance pie. Life’s appeal is growing despite the need to do tough sell. There are real strides being made to look at life as a sustainable line of business in the region.
Our country profile is on Saudi Arabia, where there is always something afoot being a leader of the region and with many feeling that the market has tremendous untapped potential. The boost now comes from the government’s ambitious development plans that run into the multi-billions. 
With March and the eternal spring in heart, we bring you a staple on what established entities in the region can do to make business bloom. It is all about having the commitment to succeed and to add value to the market. So the basic questions you need to ask yourself are: Are you necessary? What makes you unique? Are you easily dispensable? 
The future is in your very hands. They say: “You ride the wave and don’t let the external forces toss you around.”
Sivam Subramaniam
Middle East Insurance Review
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