The rapid developments the world is witnessing call for agility within the sector and those who are capable of adopting and adjusting to these developments, especially when it comes to technological advances stand to survive, said chairman of Jordan Insurance Federation (JIF) Majed Smairat at the opening of the 7th Aqaba Conference in Jordan.
This year the three-day conference, which traditionally covers issues pertaining to marine insurance and transportation, addresses a broader range of topics including conventional vs takaful, Nat CAT exposure, as well as digital integration. Mr Smairat said the discussion around cyber is an attempt to find the best means to benefit from technology to enhance distribution.
Commenting on the Jordanian insurance market, which grew by 2.3% in GWP to around JOD606m ($854.7m) in 2018, he said there remains a lot to be done as insurance density stands at only JOD83 with penetration rate hovering around the 2% mark. “The indicators remain below expectations and we are working with the insurance directorate and other relevant parties to develop new compulsory insurance that would respond to the citizens’ needs,” he said.
GAIF to strengthen infrastructure
Vice chairman of General Arab Insurance Federation (GAIF) Max Zaccar said the federation, with a membership of 350 insurance entities representing 20 countries, is the largest insurance organisation worldwide. The federation is plotting a strategy for the future by focusing on strengthening its infrastructure with greater attention to corporate governance principles.
Mr Zaccar highlighted some pockets of opportunities for the sector, pointing out that the MENA region, along with Africa and Southeast Asia, are growth areas for the global insurance industry in the future. He also said insurers and reinsurers need to be prepared to deal with the challenges facing the future of the industry and to adopt digital transformation strategies to enhance and facilitate insurance distribution.
Touching on regulations, Mr Zaccar urged the respective regulators in the Arab world to update and unify insurance regulations across the region, and to adopt corporate governance and solvency risk based measures in order to encourage M&A among GAIF members.
Research awards garnered 35 entries
The opening ceremony also saw the presentation of the research awards, organised for the very first time to mark the conference’s 10th anniversary. JIF received 35 research papers – revolving around the theme ‘e-insurance’ – from seven MENA markets.
The first prize went to Mr Sherif M Radwan, insurance consultant, Egypt Investment and Insurance Brokerage, Egypt. The runners-up are: Mrs Eliana Naffaa, reinsurance expert, Jordan; Mrs Azhar Altlla, Al-Aqeelah Takaful Insurance Syria; Mrs Nuha Hijazin, Middle East Insurance Co, Jordan; and Mr Khaldoun Mafarjeh, Tamkeen Palestinian Insurance Company.
The judging panel for the awards included Mr Waseem Zurub, ex-JIF chairman; Dr Ali Al Wazani, ex-JIF chairman and CEO of Arab Orient Insurance, gig, Jordan; and Mr Basem Haddadeen, insurance consultant and ex-JIF board member.
The 7th Aqaba Conference, jointly organised by JIF and GAIF, attracted some 570 delegates. Middle East Insurance Review is a media partner.