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Feb 2023

A game in two halves

Source: Middle East Insurance Review | Nov 2022

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 kicks off on 20 November with the final whistle scheduled to be blown on 18 December. Already much been made of the fact that this is the first time the event has been held in the Arab world.
 
Hopefully it is only the first of many global sporting events that will be held in MENA – and that Qatar will be able to show that climate should no longer be considered an impediment when choosing locations for these landmark get-togethers.
 
If so – then the insurance and reinsurance community had better spruce up the range of event coverage insurance that it has in its arsenal.
 
Middle East nations to make the finals this time around include Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as host Qatar. African nations making the finals include Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia.
 
Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) vice chairman for host country operation affairs Fatima Fakhro told local media, “According to our estimates, we expect to receive 1.5m fans during the World Cup. In line with this, we are placing a lot of emphasis on expanding the accommodation options available to visitors.”
 
For comparison, the last time the World Cup was held, in 2018 in Russia, in-person attendance was just over 3m fans, so Qatar’s hopes do not appear unrealistic.
 
For Qatar’s insurance sector – the World Cup could represent a sizeable item on the revenue line – as protection for just about every risk imaginable picks up, from health to travel, cancellation or postponement of the event due to bad weather, fire, non-appearance of players or terror attacks.
 
Six domestic insurers joined the National Insurance Consortium (NIC) to provide adequate cover as per the requirements of the governing body of the World Cup, FIFA.
 
SC awarded an insurance contract for capital expenditure works related to the construction of tournament stadiums to the NIC. Members of NIC include Qatar Islamic Insurance Group, Qatar Insurance Company, Qatar General Insurance & Reinsurance Company, Al Khaleej Takaful Group, Doha Insurance Company and Al Koot Insurance & Reinsurance Company.
 
According to Qatar Islamic Insurance Group group president and CEO Ali Ibrahim Al Abdulghani, “With the stadiums being built with state-of-the-art technologies to provide temperature control, it was not easy to convince our reinsurers. Most of the technology and facilities would be unique to FIFA Qatar 2022,” referring to the unique risks that this particular World Cup faces.
 
It is clear that this is more than just a sporting event. This could symbolise the entire region entering a new phase of its development – which hopefully will not begin and end with just sport but will grow to include a wide range of global gatherings that historically have managed to give the MENA region a wide berth.
 
Whatever eventuates, the insurance industry needs to be ahead of the curve in identifying and pricing a whole new category of risks and designing products to meet the demand. That would be real progress – and exciting to boot.
 
Paul McNamara
Editorial director
Middle East Insurance Review
 
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