The insurance sector will achieve a growth of at least 5% this year in terms of premiums despite economic challenges, according to Mr Ashraf Bseisu, Group Chief Executive of Solidarity.
Growth will be driven by the motor and health classes, particularly with the introduction of a mandatory health insurance scheme, he said. Takaful growth is also likely to accelerate as operators introduce new products to the market.
"We are currently reviewing the insurance law and are optimistic about it,” he said, adding that the new law will expand subscriptions to health insurance, especially when it would involve around 450,000 expatriates.
He pointed out that Solidarity Bahrain now has the largest branch network in the market, with 10 branches covering all the provinces.
Mr Rashed Ismaeel Al Meer, Chairman of Solidarity Group Holding, said that the group was confident of the investment environment in Bahrain and the available opportunities. This resulted in the acquisition of a controlling stake of 71% in Al Ahlia Insurance last year.
“We are still looking at ambitious plans to strengthen our position in the markets we operate in, especially in our domestic market, Bahrain," he said.
The completion of the merger last year between Solidarity General Takaful and Ahlia Insurance led to a merged entity called Solidarity Bahrain, the largest takaful operator and one of the top tier insurance companies in the kingdom.
According to Central Bank of Bahrain data, the merged company has a market share of about 15%.
The latest data from the central bank shows that gross premiums/contributions generated in the Bahraini market amounted to BHD272.04 million (US$721.60 million) in 2016, which represented flat growth compared to BHD272.81 million in 2015. Investment house Alpen Capital has forecast that the insurance industry in Bahrain would grow at an annual average of 7.3% from 2016 to 2021.