Bahrain National Insurance wins Qatar license"
Bahrain National Insurance (bni), a wholly owned subsidiary of Bahrain National Holding (BNH), was granted a license to operate in Doha for general insurance business. Bni will be seeking to capture a share of Qatar's existing and future risks by offering general insurance products as retail, motor and personal lines as well as corporate, including commercial and industrial policies. It plans to grow gradually in the Qatari market by capitalizing on its expertise in developing the insurance industry. The company will commence its business operations from its first branch in Doha during 2011-2012 before branching out to other GCC countries. Source: TradeArabia News Service"
Saudi Arabia: Insured growth"
Saudi Arabia’s insurance industry is making impressive strides, with policy take-up growing, premiums increasing, and the sector’s regulatory body strengthening. However, penetration rates still have a considerable way to go if they are to reach those of developed markets. The insurance sector is playing an increasingly significant role in Saudi Arabia’s economy, with far greater funds at its disposal as more businesses and individuals recognize the importance of having coverage. Data issued earlier this year by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), the regulator of the Kingdom’s financial services sector, including the insurance industry, estimated the total value of premiums written in 2010 rose by 12.4% over the previous year’s performance – a rise from $3.9 billion to $4.3 billion. This strong growth helped push the insurance sector’s contribution to GDP to the equivalent of 1%, according to SAMA. Last year was also good for the industry regarding payouts. SAMA estimated claims processed came to $1.25 billion, down from $1.54 billion in 2009, which allowed some firms to build up reserves. A major step towards fulfilling the vice-governor’s goals was unveiled at the end of July, when SAMA issued a draft of its audit committee regulations for insurance and reinsurance companies. Among key reforms in the new regulation is the creation of audit committees by all insurers and reinsurers operating in Saudi Arabia. Firms must also establish appropriate written controls and procedures to ensure and monitor compliance with mandatory requirements. The impressive rate of growth seen in 2010 looks poised to continue, with Saudi Arabia’s insurance sector believed to be one of the regional industry’s prime movers. A report released in late August by Dubai-based investment bank Alpen Capital said premium growth across the GCC region would increase by some 20% a year between 2011 and 2015, lifting total premium values from the current $18 billion to $37 billion. Of that total, 75% would be concentrated in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Source: Oxford Business Group"
Mashreq offers insurance with gold investment"
Mashreq, a leading UAE financial institution, has announced the launch of a unique gold investment product that comes packaged with a free life insurance policy. The first-of-its-kind bundled product allows customers to invest in gold bullion through a fund thereby giving them the opportunity to access one of the preferred asset investments categories during these uncertain times, a statement from the institution said. Under this product, Mashreq offers customers the opportunity to invest either in a lump sum of Dh26,000 ($7,100) or monthly investments starting from Dh1,200 ($327). The free life insurance bundled with this product amounts 10 times if the investment is made in a lump sum and 100 times if made on a monthly basis. The maximum limit of the life insurance is capped at Dh1 million ($272,000). Source: TradeArabia News Service"
Bahrain insurance sector 'poised for growth'"
Bahrain's insurance industry has felt the impact of regional political unrest, but measures put in place to boost the kingdom's economy should help breathe new life into the sector, said an expert. Bahrain Insurance Association (BIA) chairman and Takaful International Company chief executive Younis Al Sayed said that he expected life insurance to drive growth in the industry, although he acknowledged that the segment had suffered the knock-on effect of a drop in the number of bank loans being offered in Bahrain. 'The banks will start issuing loans again, meaning there will be a need for life insurance, since loans are linked to life insurance policies,' he told the global publishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG). 'There are also plans within the industry to focus on individual life insurance. The BIA has many ongoing initiatives to raise awareness among the local population.' The interview with Al Sayed forms part of the research for 'The Report: Bahrain 2012,' OBG's forthcoming guide on the kingdom's economic activity and investment opportunities. The BIA will once again play a key and contributing role in the research process for the report by teaming up with OBG to produce the insurance section of the publication. Source: TradeArabia News Service"