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10th Middle East Insurance Industry Awards winners prove their mettle amid intense competition

Source: Middle East Insurance Review | Dec 2023

Nineteen winners have been honoured as the Middle East Insurance Industry Awards (MIIA) celebrated its 10th anniversary on 16 November 2023 at Conrad Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The MIIA was launched in 2014 and has earned a reputation for a stringent judging process among peers in the industry. In the past 10 years, some 150 winners have had the honour to walk the red carpet to take the trophy.
 
This year’s winners emerged top amid 160 entries for 19 categories. There was stiff competition amongst the finalists. Candidates from some categories underwent intense ‘Meet the judges’ interviews; a process introduced for the awards last year.
 
A new award category, MGA of the Year, was introduced to recognise their role amid developments in the insurance industry. The first winner of the Managing General Agent of the Year award was Arma Underwriting.
 
Zurich International Life won Life Insurance Company of the Year while the General Insurance Company of the Year award went to Bahrain National Insurance. The Health Insurance Company of the Year was awarded to Cigna Healthcare – Middle East and Africa. Nextcare was recognised as TPA of the Year.
 
Saudi Re was named General Reinsurer of the Year and RGA Middle East won the top spot for Life Reinsurer of the Year. Takaful Company of the Year went to Abu Dhabi National Takaful.
 
Strategic Partner to the Industry went to Badri Management Consultancy, while Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance won Educational and Training Initiative of the Year.
 
Sukoon Insurance was awarded Digital Transformation of the Year while the award for InsurTech of the Year went to Anoud Technologies.
 
Broker of the Year went to Howden Insurance Brokers, Middle East and Africa while Reinsurance Broker of the Year was awarded to Chedid Re.
 
Norton Rose Fulbright (Middle East) won Law Firm of the Year.
 
The award for Corporate Risk Manager of the Year went to Mr Ahmed Khalfan Al Mansoori from ADNOC.
 
Chartered Insurance Institute’s Ms Gaenor Jones was named the Woman Leader of the Year for forging strong relationships across the Middle East region to boost professional standards in the industry.
 
The Young Leader of the Year was awarded to HAYAH Insurance’s Mr Mohamed Seghir for his passion for financial inclusion, AI-driven service delivery and industry disruption.
 
The prestigious Insurance Industry Leader of the Year award went to Misr Life Insurance’s Dr Ahmed Abd El-Aziz for being one of the most successful and dedicated leaders in the industry.
 
About Middle East Insurance Industry Awards
The MIIA, organised by Middle East Insurance Review and supported by DIFC, DIFC Insurance Association, FAIR, GAIF and Insurance Business Group is considered the premier awards of the MENA region with a set of clearly defined criteria and a transparent judging process.
 
A panel of 19 distinguished judges was involved in the assessment of the nominations this year. The results were audited independently by EY.
 
Sponsors this year included ACE Gallagher, AM Best, Chedid Re, GIG, Lloyd’s, Marsh, Nextcare and RGA.
 
 
Winners’ thoughts
Life Insurance Company of the Year
Zurich International Life
 
Life Insurance Company of the Year - Zurich International Life
Zurich International Life head of digital and alliances Zubair Siddiqi (L) accepting the award from RGA Middle East vice president head of health Dennis Sebastian
“Winning this award is a testament to our promise that ‘a life worth living is a life worth insuring’. It is a validation that our on-going accelerated digital transformation across the value chain, above industry average customer experience scores and being there for our customers when a claim occurs, with benefits totalling over $160m paid out over 2020-22, are allowing us to truly partner with our customers.
 
“Having been in the region for 37 years, and with a total cover of $58bn, Zurich continues to stay focused on serving the protection and savings needs of both retail and corporate customers.
 
We remain committed to creating a brighter future together for all our stakeholders – our customers, our people, our partners, our regulators and the planet, and we will continue to work towards being one of the most responsible and impactful businesses in the world.
Corporate Risk Manager of the Year
Mr Ahmed Al Mansoori, ADNOC
 
Corporate Risk Manager of the Year Mr Ahmed Al Mansoori, ADNOC
ADNOC senior vice president treasury and risk management  Ahmed Al Mansoori (L) accepting the award from AIG GCC and North Africa chief distribution officer Joseph Bejjani
“I was honoured to receive the prestigious Corporate Risk Manager of the Year award at the Middle East Insurance Industry Awards 2023. This recognition is a testament to the collective effort of our dedicated team at ADNOC and their unwavering support.
 
“Managing risk in today’s dynamic business landscape is a multi-faceted challenge and the award validates our commitment to implementing innovative strategies and fostering a culture of risk awareness within our organisation. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the judging panel for acknowledging our contribution. This award serves as motivation to continue pushing the boundaries, embracing new challenges and further enhancing our risk management framework.”
General Insurance Company of the Year
Bahrain National Insurance
 
General Insurance Company of the Year - Bahrain National Insurance
Bahrain National Insurance client relations and business development senior manager Ammar Al Raees (L) accepting the award from Marsh McLennan India, Middle East and Africa CEO Renee McGowan
“Winning the General Insurance Company of the Year 2023 is a powerful endorsement of our firm’s unwavering commitment to excellence, our clients, the industry, and the wider community. This accolade validates our strategic initiatives, especially in the ESG domain, and underscores their effectiveness. It further cements our reputation as a trusted industry leader in a fiercely competitive environment.
 
“This award also energies our talented team, fueling their drive to relentlessly pursue elevated standards. It isn’t merely an achievement, but also a springboard for future innovation and even greater triumphs.”
Health Insurance Company of the Year
Cigna Healthcare
 
Health Insurance Company of the Year - Cigna Healthcare
Cigna Healthcare regional head of HR Isil Ata (L) accepting the award from Allianz Partners MEA and Nextcare head of health services, utilities and MPM Christian Gregorowicz

“Winning this award for the second-year running is a testament to Cigna Healthcare’s 19-year commitment to the Middle East, marking a milestone in our journey. For us, it signifies recognition of our strategic expansion, most notably being the first international insurance provider to receive a branch license to operate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; our evolving services, such as improving and launching our new streamlined Africa model, and dedication to providing quality health insurance, reinforcing our mission to promote well-being.


“To promote our win, we aim to showcase this achievement to our customers as a mark of trust and reliability. Through targeted internal and external communication, we’ll highlight the award’s significance, assuring clients of our mission to enhance the health and vitality of the people we serve. Within the industry, we’ll leverage this recognition to showcase our leadership and foster collaborations, positioning Cigna Healthcare as the go-to health insurer in the region.”

TPA of the Year 
Nextcare
 
TPA of the Year - Nextcare
Nextcare business development chief Jihad Francis (L) accepting the award from Emirates Insurance Company CEO Jason Light
“Winning the TPA of the Year award at the MIIA2023 Awards for the eighth time is a testament to Nextcare’s relentless dedication to providing exceptional service and innovative solutions to our clients and the wider insurance industry.
 
“This recognition represents more than an award; it serves as a challenge to continually elevate our standards. We are dedicated to upholding our unwavering commitment to delivering the highest level of service to our valued customers and consistently exceeding their satisfaction.
 
“Within the industry, we will cement our position as a leading innovator and thought leader by actively participating in industry events and conferences, sharing our expertise and insights with fellow professionals. We will also leverage our award-winning status to attract and retain top talent, ensuring that we maintain our position at the forefront of the TPA industry.” 
 
- Christian Gregorowicz - CEO Allianz Partners MEA and head of health services, utilities and MPM at Nextcare.
Managing General Agent of the Year
Arma Underwriting
 
Managing General Agent of the Year - Arma Underwriting
Arma senior executive officer Prabhat Singh (L) and Arma chairman Michael Rafter (M) accepting the award from Lloyd’s regional head, middle east and Turkiye Andrew Woodward
 
 
 
“This is indeed an honour and a privilege to be recognised as the MGA of the year, especially considering this was the first year that this segment was launched.  The hard work from the partners in building the vision to reality, the employees unwavering determination to deliver on that that reality, our customers’ trust and loyalty whilst being recognised for this is truly humbling. It shouldn’t be forgotten that this award brings credibility and recognition not only to Arma but the growing and important MGA sector in the region which will and does bring strong and relevant capacity to the local market.
 
“We intend to speak of the award at every opportunity! LinkedIn has given us a great reach with great feedback so far and gained interest in the MGA segment. We will draw people to our website and place advertising of this on our emails, business cards and specific marketing campaigns. Much like our customers, however, we are attempting to get this more widely circulated within the London markets where potential and existing capacity providers are located with the use of a PR company.”
Broker of the Year
Howden Insurance Brokers Middle East and Africa Africa
 
Broker of the Year - Howden Insurance Brokers Middle East and Africa Africa
Howden UAE CEO Sajith Kumar (L) accepting the award from independent advisor Bassel Hindawi
“Our focus is on delivering for our clients and supporting our people but it’s truly rewarding when the work we enjoy receives appreciation. Being recognised as ‘Broker of the Year’ at the prestigious Middle East Insurance Industry Awards, acknowledges our achievements, expertise and contributions within the insurance industry. ‘When a team of dedicated individuals makes a commitment to act as one, the sky’s the limit’. This award is a celebration of the collective effort of our incredible team, our valued clients and steadfast partners in the Middle East and Africa region.
 
“The impact of this win extends far beyond our organisation. It is a testament to the high standards we set and the quality of service we provide. Our clients can take pride in knowing they are associated with an award-winning team and our partners can share in the success they helped us achieve. Let’s continue to embrace excellence together!”
Reinsurance Broker of the Year 
Chedid Re
 
Reinsurance Broker of the Year - Chedid Re
Chedid Re global operations deputy CEO Joe Asmar (L) accepting the award from General Arab Insurance Federation secretary general Chakib Abouzaid
“This is the seventh time that Chedid Re claims the Reinsurance Broker of the Year title. This recognition by such a prestigious organisation is not only a badge of honour but also a testament to our resilience and innovation in an increasingly turbulent, volatile and uncertain regional landscape.
 
“While we are duly celebrating this milestone, our focus is not on the accolade itself, but all the hard work that has gone behind it. We believe that today, our role is to innovate purpose-built solutions for uncertainty, products that solve critical challenges and services that support engines of economic growth. We have built our business on the firm belief that our customers need partners for growth, not just providers of off-the-shelf reinsurance products. In this direction, we call for cooperation over competition with our industry peers. Together, we can build robust human capital, unlock profitable growth avenues, and elevate our service quality at an industry-wide level. No one can go it alone in succeeding against odds. We thank the partners who have entrusted us with their growth, the communities that have welcomed us and the worthy competitors that have continuously inspired us to raise the bar. This win is for all of them.”
Life Reinsurer of the Year
RGA Middle East
 
Life Reinsurer of the Year - RGA Middle East
RGA Middle East vice president head of health Dennis Sebastian (L) accepting the award from Chedid Re UAE global operations and general manager head of facultative Wadih Hardini
“We are thrilled to have been named Life Reinsurer of the Year at the 10th Middle East Insurance Industry Awards – the fourth time RGA has earned this honour. In an intensely competitive market, this recognition highlights the hard work, technical support and wide range of solutions our dedicated teams provide our clients every day.
 
“We share this award with our clients, whose partnership is the foundation of our success. We hope they see this honour as recognition of all we have achieved together and as reassurance they have made the right choice in placing their trust in RGA.
 
“RGA is proud to be included among the honourees, and we intend to promote this recognition across all channels and use it as a platform on which to promote the value of insurance throughout the region. Together, we must continue to work to make financial protection accessible to all.”
General Reinsurer of the Year 
Saudi Reinsurance Company
 
General Reinsurer of the Year - Saudi Reinsurance Company
Saudi Reinsurance Company chief strategy and technology Officer Isa Ali (L) accepting the award from Chedid Re UAE global operations and general manager head of facultative Wadih Hardini
“We are delighted to receive the General Reinsurer of the Year award for 2023. Winning this distinguished and well-judged award for three consecutive years is a testament to Saudi Re’s progress and the dedication of our passionate employees.
 
“Saudi Re is proud to be a homegrown Middle Eastern reinsurer with an expanding foothold in the international market. We thank our valued customers and stakeholders for their trust and those who have played a role in making Saudi Re one of the region’s leading reinsurers.”
Woman Leader of the Year 
Ms Gaenor Jones, Middle East regional director at the Chartered Insurance Institute
 
Woman Leader of the Year - Ms Gaenor Jones, Middle East regional director at the Chartered Insurance Institute
Chartered Insurance Institute regional director Gaenor Jones (L) accepting the award from ACE Gallagher Holding CEO Yolla El Khoury
“I am honoured to have received the Woman Leader of the Year award at the prestigious Middle East Insurance Industry Awards. We have dedicated over 5 years to the development of the insurance profession across the ME region, furthering the CII’s mission to build public trust and raise industry standards. To receive this recognition on the 10th anniversary of the Awards is wonderful, and I would like to thank the judges especially for this award.
 
“To the wider CII group, this represents the positive growth of the insurance profession within the ME region, and the desire to build and maintain the highest professional standards as the sector grows. We will be delighted to share this news with members, stakeholders and clients via our internal and external news platforms, as well as with our UK insurance press contacts.”
Insurance Industry Leader of the Year 
Dr Ahmed Abd El-Aziz, Misr Life Insurance Company
 
Insurance Industry Leader of the Year - Dr Ahmed Abd El-Aziz, Misr Life Insurance Company
Misr Life Insurance Company vice president & chief financial officer Moustafa ElKamash (L) accepting the award on behalf of managing director Ahmed Abd El-Aziz from Emirates Insurance Association secretary general Fareed Lutfi
“Yes, we can! Firstly, I would like thank the awards ceremony team for their great efforts and their outstanding contribution in highlighting successful stories and leaders across the region.
 
“Let me emphasise that this success is not just proof of “Let insurance industry’s potential, it reflects the whole potential of the Egyptian market as well. A well-tailored change management plan can take you to new realities further than you could imagine and can even transform a corporate giant with over 120 years of existence.
 
“This honourable recognition gave validation and crowned our successful change journey, I consider it a ‘certificate of trust’ which I would like to dedicate to Misr Life Insurance diligent staff who contributed to this success, I would dedicate it as well to the Egyptian insurance market leaders throughout its history since 1900 to date. Way to go!”
 
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