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Forum to discuss ME insurance challenges

Leading industry players and thought leaders representing the regional insurance industry will discuss the challenge of balancing growth with profitability in the industry at the 9th Annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2013), which opened in Bahrain today (February 4).

Convened under the official patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain, the two day event is set to gather more than 500 international delegates representing over 150 leading organizations.

Held under the theme “Balancing Growth with Profitability: New Strategies for the Middle East Insurance Industry”, the 9th Annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2013), will focus discussions on identifying new strategies to maintain the growth momentum while boosting technical and operational profitability in an increasingly competitive regional insurance market.

The issues of growth and profitability in the regional insurance industry will be key debating points at the event.

“The scenario for the insurance industry in the Middle East is now fast changing as rising competition for market share has placed tremendous pressures on both operational and technical profitability,” said conference chief executive David McLean.

“Some markets and lines have seen a further shift from risk-adequate pricing as players look to capture market share and achieve their targeted premium growth. This calls for the insurance industry to focus on operational efficiency, sound underwriting, competitiveness and scale with the strategic objective being to maintain growth momentum while boosting profitability.”

A special opening keynote address by CBB executive director of financial institutions supervision Abdul Rahman Al Baker will present key regulatory issues and will analyse how regulatory frameworks can be enhanced to support the further development of the insurance industry in the Middle East.

“The rapid economic development taking place in many Middle Eastern economies continues to drive interest in the local insurance and reinsurance market,” said Al Baker.

“The growth potential in the regional insurance industry is evident from the encouraging demographics, increasing consumer awareness and huge government expenditure in key regional economies,” he stated.

“What is essential for achieving long-term stability is that operators must shift their focus from just pricing to providing more sophisticated and innovative products and solutions that bring diversity into the market and make the market more attractive to customers,” said Al Baker.

“The insurance industry in the Middle East has sustained steady growth over the last few years,” said Crescent Global Group managing director Jamil R Bahou.

“Undoubtedly there are significant opportunities for further growth in this dynamic region given the current favourable macro-economic indicators coupled with the low levels of insurance penetration.

“However, in order to tap into these opportunities, it is essential that the industry remains profitable in the long run and the current market situations and increasing competition in the industry makes it even more challenging for operators to maintain growth momentum while boosting profitability.

“As a key industry player, we are delighted to see profitability issues being the key theme for this year’s forum as it is high time that the industry takes proactive steps in overcoming these challenges,” he added.


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