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Dec 2021

MENA: Insurance sector overcomes pandemic woes

Source: Middle East Insurance Review | Oct 2021

Insurance and reinsurance companies have struggled to find a variety of solutions to combat the economic repercussions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during this past year, said the Federation of Afro Asian Insurers and Reinsurers (FAIR) president Youssef Fassi Fihri.
In his speech at the 3rd Sharm Rendezvous and FAIR 27th General Conference, Mr Fihri said (re)insurers have adjusted their product development and strategies rapidly in response to the urgency of the situation.
“Agility and digitalisation are pillars of development in our industry. We need to innovate and be able to design efficiently with governments new products to face emerging risks,” he said, emphasising that operators need to show resilience and commitment to meet the needs of customers.
He said (re)insurance companies are required to explore new opportunities in their markets.
Mr Fihri urged players to enable digitalisation, work on changing distribution channels in response to social and demographic changes and customise their products with flexible underwriting criteria. He stressed the importance of cooperating with governments to come up with new insurance products to face emerging risks.
The Insurance Federation of Egypt (IFE) has initiated various projects in cooperation with the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) including adopting innovative business strategies and designing new products. It has also concluded several partnerships that will enhance the performance of the insurance industry in Egypt, said IFE chairman Alaa El-Zoheiry during the conference.
In his keynote address, FRA chairman Dr Mohamed Omran said despite the pandemic, GWP in Egypt’s insurance industry is estimated to have grown to EGP45bn ($2.86bn) in the fiscal year ended 30 June 2021 (FY 2021). The market GWP was EGP40bn in the preceding fiscal year. 
He said the initial figures show that investments by insurers grew 19% to EGP128bn in FY 2021 versus EGP107bn in FY 2020. “This is one of the few years where the rate of growth in insurance activity surpasses the rate of increase in nominal GDP.”
Dr Omran said the FRA is keen on increasing the penetration rate, which hovers around 1% in Egypt. He said 9m vehicles out of the country’s 10m are insured and around 23m students in schools and tertiary education are covered by insurance. About 2.7m microinsurance policies have been issued and there are 40m to 45m Egyptian citizens who deal with the insurance sector.
He said that when the new insurance law is issued, compulsory insurance covers will be introduced in the market. “The new law includes eight new compulsory insurance covers. (The law) also gives the FRA the authority to enforce new mandatory insurance lines.”
The conference, which ended on 22 September, attracted around 700 delegates from 38 countries. M 
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