Europ Assistance, a subsidiary of the Generali Group, has announced the acquisition from MAPFRE Asistencia of a 74.6% stake in Bahrain-based Gulf Assist. Gulf Assist also owns Arab Assist in Jordan where most of its operations and support functions are located and it has a commercial branch in Dubai.
With this transaction, Europ Assistance has a B2B2C operating model that is diversified both in terms of offerings (roadside assistance, travel assistance and insurance, mobile ‘phone insurance) and geographically with income generated in 10 countries in the region including the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Jordan.
Mr Enrique Ballesteros, previously general manager of Gulf Assist, will run the activities of Europ Assistance in the Middle East. Gulf Assist has over 80 employees based in three countries.
The market in the Middle East has a high growth potential especially in the insurance, travel assistance and automotive assistance sectors, as the region is a growing travel hub as well as home to the 13th largest automobile assistance market in the world. Additionally, there is a large underserved market for personal assistance services that can be bundled with insurance offerings – providing opportunities for additional growth in the Middle East market.
Europ Assistance Group Antoine Parisi said, “We are delighted to enter the Middle East market in order to support our global partners and further strengthen our global, multiline and multichannel positioning, aiming at making us the most reliable care company in the world.”
Europ Assistance Group CEO Northern, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and South Africa Pascal Baumgarten said, “After recent openings in Thailand, Malaysia and Australia, Europ Assistance continues geographical footprint extension, showing the resilience of our group. We look forward to building on the strong local partnerships and product expertise Gulf Assist has built over the past 30 years.”
Mr Ballesteros said, “We are proud to be part of Europ Assistance Group. Our new international association will broaden our business platform and allow us to deliver high-quality services, products innovation, and financial security to our local partners and customers. We will profit from enhanced reputation, fresh ambition to grow and an opportunity to specialise.” M