Jul 2019

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Editor's Message

Source: Middle East Insurance Review | Jul 2019

The buzz of Eid is over. The 46th Conference and Annual Assembly of the African Insurance Organisation (AIO) – where Middle East Insurance Review was the official media partner – is over. And now the long summer beckons with so much hope and many things to do despite the rising tensions in the region and the sabre-rattling going on. Some even say terrorism risk is declining though getting more complex. But the attention is shifting to marine with the list of waters deemed as high-risk increasing. So much for a quiet summer.
In these tough times, one must reflect on how well one’s business is performing. Are you doing something exceptional or outstanding? Are you setting new standards in technology or perhaps even in underwriting? One needs good news to bring that smile to the eye. Are you on target? How best do you redefine your business model to get ahead of the game this summer?
Nominations for the 6th Middle East Insurance Industry Awards (MIIA) have just closed, and we have a bumper crop of entries for most of the 16 categories, including for our new category – Woman Leader of the Year.
This July, the draw is London, where the International Takaful Summit is taking place. The market has been open for business for more than a decade with players coming and going, and the great expertise accumulated with the necessary financial, legal and regulatory infrastructure for a thriving takaful hub to blossom. But where is the proof that the available capital and skills can match conventional covers? The 13th edition of the summit, which has microtakaful and inclusive finance as its theme, could be lucky for some. 
Meanwhile, still on the topic of takaful, the attention is on the fate of the 39 insurers in Indonesia who have yet to decide if they would spin off their Islamic insurance windows as the grace period is drawing to a close.  
There is a buzz in the air with the biggest insurer in Algeria doubling the industry’s growth rate, while in the UAE, 28 of the 30 listed insurers saw profits in the first quarter. The DIFC is solidifying its lead position in the MENA region despite recent exits of a number of re/insurance operations. It is ahead and in a league of its own.
Our country profile is on Bahrain, where with online aggregators in play, the market is thriving despite the losses. It still remains the domicile of choice for a number of foreign operations despite a lag in innovation. Meanwhile, we bid goodbye to Mahomed Akoob who has been the face of Hannover ReTakaful in the region for more than a decade now.
Our cover story is on the marine market with choppy seas ahead given the rise in political risks though shipping losses in 2018 were the lowest in this century. Tensions are rising. The stress is in raising awareness of safety risk in the global supply chain. 
Post-AIO in Johannesberg, there is a real hype about going into Africa even at the Global Insurance Forum organised by the International Insurance Society in Singapore in June. Many are checking out the opportunities, and some just want to touch base with existing players to better understand the market. We, at Middle East Insurance Review, have launched an e-weekly Africa to keep you updated on the latest news. So sign up now at to be part of the development wave of Africa. 
I wish you a great summer.
Sivam Subramaniam
Middle East Insurance Review
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