MENA RENDEZVOUS TACKLES TOUGH MARKET CONDITIONS
Source: Asia Insurance Review, 21 November 2012
Strategies for tough economic times in an underperforming region were the focus of speakers at the 1st MENA Rendezvous held in Dubai. Ideas put forward included developing new revenue streams, improving professionalism, promoting mutual understanding between providers and regulators, and fostering a reliable financial services sector.
The Secretary General, Emirates Insurance Association (EIA), Fareed Lutfi advised the industry to look for revenue streams other than reinsurance commissions to boost their bottom lines in the face of shrinking profit margins caused by low rates, severe competition and deteriorating investment returns. He also urged companies to become more professional and to give top priority to reassessing risk exposure and risk accumulation.
Lutfi noted that there was uncertainty in the market as insurers and reinsurers, and regulators coped with new challenges. He added that operators have withstood the winds of change with most markets registering growth in GWP over the past couple of years. However, the region’s GWP of US$21 billion (RM64.18 billion) remains below the full potential.
Walid Genadry, President, Arab Forum of Insurance Regulatory Commissions (AFIRC) and Head of the Insurance Control Commission, Lebanon emphasised that improving mutual understanding between providers and regulators is of great significance as “we are all in it.” He added that with the regulatory regime still relatively young as it was only in the last ten years that supervision has started to take shape seriously in MENA, mutual understanding was necessary in order to “develop a vibrant and solid insurance sector.”
Despite the tough times, Kevin Birkett, Managing Director, Business Development, Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFC), remarked that MENA remains a promising region for the industry with its young population and availability of massive capital. Regulators in the region can assist the industry by fostering and promoting a reliable financial services community.
USD1.00 = RM3.06
(Left) Kevin Birkett, Managing Director, Business Development, Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFC)
Walid Genadry, President, Arab Forum of Insurance Regulatory Commissions (AFIRC)