It’s Ramadan, and yet there seems to be no hint of any slowing down of the spread of the coronavirus nor easing of political tensions. The Gulf will be most affected by the low oil prices as will the whole MENA region with global economic activities grinding to a halt.
With the COVID-19 pandemic raging, the worries have stretched to not just loss of lives but unemployment and loss of livelihood, too.
As infections hit 3m people worldwide, with more than 200,000 deaths, there is still no end in sight. Sure, the situation must ease and the world will return to a sense of safety – but when that will happen is the big question. And the answer is ‘unpredictable’ until the race for the vaccine is won. When will travel restart? When will public confidence return?
The world over is overwhelmed with bad news with most seeing stay-home orders as a punishment. It was hard to find good news though we did – the increasing number of online transactions; reducing number of road accidents; tech getting a big boost and a fully virtual insurer being a reality.
But be warned: hackers are free to abuse the fears and the exposures.
Insurers are coming up ready to help the public from a social perspective in this pandemic era. In that same vein, we bring you a quick wrap on how insurers can ease the burden of COVID-19 and how health insurance providers can do their part to support the communities during this global health crisis.
Beyond the goodwill, there are already fears that the COVID-19 claims can be sky-high and hurt the industry. The largest estimate globally seems to be at $80bn, putting this pandemic as even worse than the 9/11 incident.
Regulators are also active in ensuring that all claims are promptly paid, and some even demanding due reasons and justifications for any denied claims. So everyone is still very busy in the lockdown and in Ramadan.
Our country profile is on Jordan which seems to be coping with the immediate challenges of the pandemic, and despite the long-term economic challenges, remains hopeful in light of the supervisory authority shifting to the Central Bank.
We bring you an African special on the Gulf of Guinea markets with their alluring growth promise.
Our cover story is on agriculture insurance calling for more cover as the locust plague returns, ravaging crops and threatening food security in East Africa.
As we buckle down to get things done in the lockdown era, even the Dubai Expo 2020 is officially moved to next year.
For now, we urge you to focus on the good news and nominate those individuals or companies who/which have stood out in your estimation. We want to salute winners at the 7th Middle East Insurance Industry Awards (MIIA).
I take this opportunity to most sincerely wish all of you the very best for Ramadan. May this season grant you a great epiphany in faith and love.
Middle East Insurance Review