Insurance premiums in Bahrain grew by 6% to BHD284m ($754m) in 2018, compared to 2017, due to key factors like economic growth, population expansion, as well as increasing life expectancy, a top regulatory official has said.
Central Bank of Bahrain executive director of financial institutions supervision Abdulrahman Al Baker told Gulf Digital News that government investments in infrastructure projects have also provided new underwriting opportunities for further growth of the insurance industry, not just in Bahrain but also in the wider MENA region.
Mr Al Baker said the MENA insurance market will continue to see premium growth of around 5% for the non-life segment and over 7% on the life side.
Looking ahead, he expects further growth in the insurance industry in MENA to be driven by moderate economic growth, despite a slower than expected oil price recovery.
“Sector growth will continue to be supported by large investments in infrastructure and construction projects in the MENA region, further enhancement of regulatory and supervisory standards, as well as the support of governments in making an increasing number of insurance products compulsory.”
However, he added that the current global economic uncertainty poses substantial challenges to insurance companies by creating volatility in investment values and returns.
“Public awareness about insurance and its benefits is also another challenge as many fail to recognise insurance as an effective means of wealth protection, savings and security,” said Mr Al Baker.