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Feb 2024

Cause for optimism

Source: Middle East Insurance Review | Dec 2023

As 2023 limps to a close, it is natural to wish to look back and find some positives to celebrate rather than focusing on the bad and the disharmonious.
As luck would have it, there were three events that occurred in late November that gave cause to celebrate the (re)insurance industry and what has been achieved over the past year – and to give a sense of optimism for the year ahead.
The first of these was the Middle East Insurance Industry Awards, held in Dubai, and seeing almost 500 leading players in the industry gather for a night that celebrated the achievements of a wide spectrum of winners and runners up.
As with any gathering held in the shadow of the events that began to unfold on 7 October, there was a sense of reserve, of muted enthusiasm, but this did not dampen the spirits of anyone present – it merely added to a sense of perspective through which the achievements of the evening could be celebrated.
Full coverage of who won what can be found elsewhere in this magazine as well as online.
The second event was the annual CEO roundtable that Middle East Insurance Review hosted to discuss the burning issues of the day. A full report of the proceedings from the roundtable will be published in the January 2024 issue of the magazine, but the discussion was passionate and at times heated.
It is hardly surprising that there would be a frank exchange of views when primary carriers, reinsurers and brokers engage in a discussion about rates that was at times both disquieting and revealing. The role of regulators also came up for debate – in a sure sign that the industry is maturing at an ever-accelerating rate.
And the final event was the Federation of Afro-Asian Insurers and Reinsurers general assembly that saw many hundreds of participants gather at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre in the UAE for three days of meetings and discussion.
The quality of discussion was as high as could be found anywhere in the world, in a further sign of the fast-maturing nature of the insurance sector in the region. For some, this was evidence of the increasingly connected business world we work in – where cyber attacks can be everywhere simultaneously.
For others, it was the pervasive and global nature of natural catastrophes that may afflict some countries more than others, but which leave no nation untouched.
For others still, it was the crippling effects of inflation, especially healthcare cost inflation, that pose the biggest challenges to the future growth of insurance business in the region.
Taken in tandem, these three events offered irrefutable proof that the region presently has some of the sharpest minds and some of the best-honed strategies to face the future.
Where once the world categorised the Middle East as a region that was complacent because of ‘the curse of oil’, today there can be little doubt that, as far as (re)insurance is concerned, the situation is far more complex but also successful.
Paul McNamara
Editorial director
Middle East Insurance Review
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