Oct 2016

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Finalists of 3rd Middle East Insurance Industry Awards announced

Some 46 participants made it to the finals of the 3rd Middle East Insurance Industry Awards (MIIA), to recognise and salute excellence in the industry edging out some 278 other contenders in 16 categories.

Region's firms see highest proportion of cyber victims worldwide

The Middle East has the highest proportion of businesses that have suffered losses from cyber incidents compared to other regions in the world, with 85% of respondents in the region hit last year compared to a global average of 79%, according to this year's PwC Middle East's Global State of Information Security survey.

Shisha smoking linked to cancers

Shisha smoking, widespread in the Middle East, has been associated with cancer of the head and neck, as well as the oesophagus and lungs, according to a comprehensive study by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q).

Growth in billionaire numbers is world's 2nd fastest

The Middle East had the second-fastest growing population of billionaires last year, up 8% to 166, behind Asia Pacific, according to a report by Wealth-X, a specialist wealth research and consultancy firm.

MENA: 71% of professionals prefer to be self-employed

A vast majority of working professionals (71%) in MENA prefer to be self-employed, citing "personal fulfilment" (58%) and "freedom to choose work-life balance" (41%) as the primary reasons for this preference, according to the "Entrepreneurship in the MENA" report published by leading job-site and online market research firm YouGov.

GCC: Comprehensive policies needed to combat climate change

GCC states need to do more to formulate and implement clean energy and sustainable development policies that can help mitigate against climate change scenarios, according to an Omani researcher, Hilal al Shidi, a scientist at Sultan Qaboos University. There is a need for comprehensive policies underpinned by a strong regulatory framework if the pursuit of renewables is to gain traction.

Bahrain: Tough market conditions affect Trust Re's 1H results

Bahrain-headquartered Trust Re achieved GWP of US$290.6 million for the six-month period ended 30 June 2016, a decline of 13% compared to $328.6 million for the same period in 2015. The Group's profits fell by 59% y-o-y to $13.2 million during the same period.

Iran: MoU signed with Norwegian P&I club

Iran's biggest shipping operator, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL), and Norway's Skuld P&I Company have inked an agreement on a range of marine insurance, said media reports.

Jordan: Idea of policyholders' protection fund mooted

The insurance industry in Jordan has discussed the establishment of a fund for the protection of policyholders in the event of the bankruptcy of an insurance company.

Jordan: Insurance posts pre-tax profits of $43 mln in 2015

Kuwait: Cabinet approves set up of health insurer for expatriates

Kuwait has approved a scheme to provide medical insurance and healthcare for expatriates, said Minister of Health, Dr Ali Al-Obaidi, The health insurance will be provided by a company established in partnership between the public and private sectors, reported the Kuwait News Agency.

Oman: Call for more insurance options for SMEs

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Oman need better health insurance cover options in order to attract the best staff, employers say.

Oman: Private sector cutting back on health insurance benefits

Private-sector employers are excluding chronic and common medical conditions from health insurance plans as they tighten their belt in the current economic downturn, said media reports citing hospital doctors and insurers. There has also been a fall in the number of staff health insurance plans sold in the Sultanate so far this year.

Oman: Economic slowdown affects motor and other insurance lines

The current economic slowdown caused by the decline in oil prices has affected the insurance sector in Oman, with the motor business suffering a major hit, according to a senior insurance executive.

QIC provides exclusive package for Qatari retirees

Qatar Insurance Company (QIC) has announced that it is extending exclusive pricing on personal insurance offerings to members of the General Retirement & Social Insurance Authority (GRSIA).

Qatar: Road safety drive cuts number of motor accidents in 1H

The number of accidents on the roads of Qatar fell by 6% from January to June this year to 136,574, as the authorities make a big push to boost road safety, amid widespread concern about irresponsible driving.

Turkey: Change in traffic laws bears fruit for motor insurers

The motor insurance business in Turkey has shown improved results for the first half of this year, turning around the performance of the non-life sector from a net loss to profit, following a change in the traffic law, according to the Insurance Association of Turkey.

Turkey: Political risk insurance remains a buyer's market despite coup

Despite the short-lived attempted coup in Turkey on 15 July which was the latest in a long string of unsettling political unrest in recent years, buyers can still readily access political risk insurance to protect their business against a variety of global risks, according to Ms Angela Duca, Senior Vice President, Political Risk and Structured Credit Practice, at Marsh.

Turkey: Private housing with quake insurance creeps up to 42.1%

The proportion of residential properties covered by compulsory quake insurance currently stands at 42.1%, according to the Turkish Catastrophe Insurance Pool (TCIP) which released the data in conjunction with the 17th anniversary of the 17 August Marmara earthquake in 1999 that killed around 17,000 people.

UAE: 2Q16 net profit of listed insurers more than doubled

Listed insurers in the UAE reported combined net profit of AED570 million (US$155.2 million) in the second quarter of this year, 118% higher than the AED261 million netted in the corresponding quarter in 2015, according to data collected by Orient Insurance.

UAE: Nearly half of fires took place in residences in Dubai during 1H

The number of fires which broke out in residential properties in Dubai during the first half of this year stood at 91, or 46% of the 199 total number of fires reported in the emirate during the period.

UAE: Families face lifetime education costs of around $254K per child

Research by Zurich International Life (ZIL) Middle East shows that UAE resident families are facing education costs of around AED933,945 (US$254,263) throughout the educational years of a child. The figure, which excludes compound interest rates, is based on the total cost of education of two years in pre-school, six years in primary school, six years in secondary school and three years at a British university.

UAE: Credit insurer Coface receives second DIFC licence

France-headquartered global credit insurer Coface has obtained a new licence from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to offer insurance management and intermediation services in the DIFC, strengthening its presence in the UAE through insurance services.

UAE: Tailgating - a major accident cause

Motorists believe that cases of tailgating are increasing on the country's roads despite continuous calls against the dangerous behaviour, a survey has shown.

UAE: Online portal launched for auto & related insurance services

The Ministry of Interior has announced the development of its online portal system - Markabati - which provides users with all related vehicle services, including insurance claims, documentation and car repairs.

UAE: More than 1,500 companies now based in DIFC

DIFC has reached another milestone of crossing over 1,500 firms, with 1,539 companies now based in the Centre. A total of 143 new companies joined DIFC in the first half of the year alone, representing a 16% growth over the same period in 2015.

UAE: Financial hub regulators sign MoU to enhance cooperation

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

UAE: IGIH earnings rise to $19.8 million for 1H

International General Insurance Holdings (IGIH) has achieved net earnings for the first half of this year of US$19.8 million, a surge of 22% over the corresponding six months last year, the company announced in a statement.

UAE: Union Insurance reports robust increase in 1H GWP

Union Insurance Company has announced a robust increase of 34% in GWP to AED442 million (US$162.5 million) for the first half of this year compared to AED331 million for the same period last year.


Africa pledges $30 bln support to agriculture sector

African leaders, the private sector and major development partners have pledged more than US$30 billion in investments to increase production, income and employment for the continent's small scale farmers and local agricultural businesses over the next 10 years.

Cigna extends partnership with Hollard Insurance

Cigna Corporation's global expatriate business segment, Cigna Global Health Benefits, has expanded its partnership with African-based Hollard Insurance Group, launching a new product to meet the need for a fully compliant health insurance option in sub-Saharan Africa.

Egypt: Life sector hits record 1H premiums of $856 mln

Life premiums in Egypt jumped 41% to a record EGP7.6 billion (US$855.8 million) from January to June, while non-life premiums rose by 7% to EGP3.4 billion, said Mr Sherif Samy, Chairman of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority.

Egypt: Losses from auto accidents exceed $3 bln in 2015

The cost of motor accidents in Egypt last year is estimated at EGP30.2 billion (US$3.4 billion) with the total number of accidents involving vehicles reaching 14,500, according to a statement issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS).

Egypt: Regulator gives green light to e-insurance policies

The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) has issued executive decisions addressing the issuance and distribution of insurance policies electronically for the first time in Egypt.

Egypt: Apex Insurance receives operating licence

The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) has approved a licence for Amman-headquartered reinsurance broker, Apex Insurance, to set up a subsidiary.

Kenya: Pan Africa Insurance rebrands to Sanlam Kenya

Pan Africa Insurance Holdings Limited (PAIHL) has rebranded to Sanlam Kenya Plc and its subsidiaries, including Pan Africa Life, Pan Africa Asset Management, Gateway Insurance and PA Securities, will also be rebranded to Sanlam Life Insurance, Sanlam Investments, Sanlam General Insurance and Sanlam Securities, respectively.

Morocco: Auto insurers use ultra-fast claims centres to expedite payouts

Several insurers have been following the lead of Wafa Assurance to set up quick processing centres to speed up the settlement of auto insurance claims.

Morocco's insurers expected to set up more greenfield ventures in Africa

The bulk of future forays into other African markets by Moroccan insurers is likely to be greenfield ventures, according to Mr Bachir Baddou, General Manager of the Moroccan Federation of Insurance and Reinsurance Companies.

South Africa: New microinsurance JV launched

MTN Group, a leading emerging markets mobile operator, and MMI Holdings, an insurance-based financial services player, have teamed up to establish a microinsurance JV which will benefit from the scale, combined expertise and market access of both companies.

Tunisia: Roads in Tunisia 10x more deadly than in Europe

Tunisian roads are considered among the most dangerous in the world, with a ratio of 87 deaths per 100,000 vehicles. In contrast, European countries report 8-9 deaths per vehicles.


Demand for customised reinsurance growing

Strategic reinsurance programmes are designed to provide more efficient risk protection and can help insurers optimise their capital structure in order to improve capital returns and minimise capital costs, according to Swiss Re's latest sigma study which highlighted there is increasing demand for customised and more strategically-motivated re/insurance solutions.

Reinsurance demand increasing with P&C cession ratio up after several years

Reinsurance demand has increased over the past 18 months with the cession ratio across the global P&C sector registering a small rise for the first time in several years. This trend is expected to continue for the remainder of 2016, according to Aon's Reinsurance Market Outlook report released in Monte Carlo.

Political risk cover changing with evolving threats

The challenging macro-economic environment, recent terrorist attacks in France, Belgium and other countries, growing cyber threats, and not least, political uncertainty caused by the recent UK referendum vote to exit the EU, demonstrate a clear demand-supply gap and a need for appropriate insurance solutions, said media reports.


GCC: Retail focus, size & track record, hold back earnings of takaful operators

Earnings in the GCC Islamic insurance industry remain relatively weak and are unevenly distributed, said S&P Global Ratings in a new report. The Islamic insurers' retail focus, size, and limited track records are counting against them.

Africa's small sukuk market shows promise - S&P

Egypt: Insurance law to be updated for e-sales and other issues

Proposed amendments to the insurance law cover a wide range of areas, including updates for developments such as online sales and takaful, according to Mr Sherif Samy, Chairman of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA).

Malaysia: Great Eastern Takaful aims for double digit growth this year

Great Eastern Takaful Bhd (GETB), the Shariah compliant arm of Singapore-based insurer Great Eastern Holdings, expects a double digit growth across its business this year despite the general slowdown in the takaful industry.

Oman: Few new insurance product segments despite launch of takaful

Oman: Al Madina offers first Shariah-compliant haj insurance

Islamic insurer, Al Madina Takaful, has launched a hajj and umrah travel insurance scheme.

UAE: Abu Dhabi National Takaful upgraded to A- by A.M. Best

Abu Dhabi National Takaful Company (ADNTC) has had its financial strength rating upgraded to A- excellent from B++ (Good) by A.M. Best, while its issuer credit rating has also been upgraded to "a-" from "bbb+".

Global: Islamic finance faces lacklustre growth in 2016-17

The Islamic finance industry, which encompasses Islamic banking, Islamic capital markets and takaful, is expected to face slower growth this year and the year ahead as key markets for Islamic finance are facing economic slowdown, according to Standard & Poor's as reported by Gulf News.