ACE wins new Bahrain licence
Manama, July 23, 2007
The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has granted a new licence to international insurer ACE Group to expand its presence in Bahrain.
The new licence allows ACE American Insurance Company, a US subsidiary of ACE Group, to establish a branch office, which will underwrite commercial property and casualty insurance and reinsurance from its regional hub in Bahrain.
The new operation is in addition to a Representative Office, established in November 2006, of ACE INA Services UK, and ACE Arabia Insurance Company, a locally incorporated insurance firm, established in Bahrain in 1989.
ACE Group is one of the world’s largest global property and casualty insurance and reinsurance organisations, with operating subsidiaries in more than 50 countries. Headed by ACE Limited, a component of the S&P 500 stock index, the group recorded a net income of $2.3 billion for 2006.
“The CBB welcomes the expansion of ACE Group’s operations in Bahrain,” said Ahmed Al Bassam, director, Licensing & Policy, at the CBB.
According to a new study by Standard & Poor’s, the region’s insurance market is currently valued at $4.6 billion but could be worth $20 billion, thus offering tremendous untapped potential for insurance providers.
“The Middle East region is an under-insured but fast-growing region, where structural reforms and massive infrastructure and industrial developments are creating new opportunities for insurance companies,” said Al Bassam.
Giles Ward, ACE’s Bahrain-based regional director for the Mena region, said: “We are delighted to have been granted this licence and would like to thank the CBB for their assistance and guidance throughout this process. The establishment of this branch and our ability to write local business with the backing of strong A+ financial ratings is a key part of the Group’s strategy to develop its presence in the region.”
The Bahrain Branch will write both domestic business and facultative reinsurance throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, initially focusing on the areas, which will include oil and gas, power generation, large property risks and construction.
“The establishment of a branch office in Bahrain shows ACE’s commitment to the Mena region. We see a great potential for our Bahrain branch to unlock the potential for growth in the region and provide local solutions, reinforced by ACE’s global network of specialist expertise,” said John Keogh, chief executive officer of ACE Overseas General. – TradeArabia News Service