Qatar Insurance Company (QIC), the leading insurer in Qatar as well as the Middle East North African region, witnessed a robust 13% year-on-year jump in gross written premium (GWP) to QAR7.2bn ($2bn) in the first half of this year despite challenging market conditions.
The growth was predominantly driven by rate hardening in select international insurance markets and continued expansion of QIC’s domestic personal lines business with stable underwriting profits.
Overall, the consolidated net loss of the group for 1H 2020 stood at QAR198m. In contrast, the group reported a net profit of QAR419m for the first half of 2019.
The first half of 2020 was adversely impacted by the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on global economies and financial markets.
The underwriting performance of QIC’s international carriers, namely, Qatar Re, Antares, QIC Europe (QEL) and its Gibraltar based carriers was impacted by the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown imposed on certain markets.
Despite prevailing headwinds, QIC’s international carriers continued the successful realignment of its book of business by expanding in select low volatile businesses while de-risking its exposure to high severity classes.
QIC’s international business continued to account for 75% of the group’s total GWP, contributing significantly to the group’s diversification of its underwriting footprint.
In 1H2020, QIC’s domestic and MENA operations continued to drive forward the digitisation of its personal lines business, cementing its position in the regional markets. In fact, during the imposed lockdown, QIC’s personal insurance division – QIC Insured and QIC’s Life & Medical insurance arm, QLM Life & Medical Insurance Co capitalised on its digital capabilities and continued to manage distribution of its products and claims handling services through its sophisticated digital platforms. The move was further supported by strong demand for online products and services, as reflected by the company’s double-digit growth in its sales volume.
In light of the prevailing turbulence in global financial markets, QIC’s investment portfolio achieved a net investment result of QAR152m in 1H2020 compared to QAR464m in 1H2019.
In the first six months of this year, QIC’s continued efforts in enhancing process efficiency and automation showed results as the group posted a healthy administrative expense ratio for its core operations of 5.7% during the first half of 2020 as compared to 6.1% in 1H2019.