ACR ReTakaful gets Bahrain licence
Manama, July 1, 2008
The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has granted a licence for the establishment of ACR ReTakaful MEA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dubai-based ACR Retakaful Holdings, as an Islamic reinsurance company.
The new firm is a joint venture between Dubai Islamic Investment Group, which is part of the Dubai Holding, Malaysian national investment company Khazanah Nasional and Singapore-based reinsurance firm ACR Capital Holdings.
ACR ReTakaful MEA, the first operational entity of ACR Retakaful Holdings, will be capitalised at $200 million and will underwrite general (non-life) large risk business.
“The CBB is delighted to welcome ACR ReTakaful MEA to the Kingdom’s growing community of takaful and retakaful operators,” said Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al Bassam, director, Licensing & Policy, at the CBB.
Bahrain is among few jurisdictions in the world to offer a comprehensive regulatory environment specific to Islamic insurance and reinsurance (takaful and retakaful) companies, he said.
The regulatory framework, introduced in 2005, has been a key factor in attracting a number of international insurance firms to establish takaful and retakaful ventures into Bahrain in the past two years.
“The Middle East insurance market, as a whole, is attracting much international interest with many prominent market players choosing to locate in Bahrain,” said Al Bassam.
Jonathan Wilton, chief executive officer of ACR ReTakaful MEA, said: “We are delighted to have obtained a licence to start our retakaful business in Bahrain. With it, we can now respond to the needs and the market potential in Islamic countries across our region."
“With ACR’s vast management experience and technical underwriting expertise, we are confident that we can contribute positively to the retakaful sector which we believe has good growth prospects.”
The new firm will target the Middle East region, which offers promising prospects for takaful. According to a report by Moody’s Investor Services, takaful premiums for life and non-life insurance are expected to reach a volume of about $10 billion by 2020, from about $2 billion at present.
ACR ReTakaful MEA is the second Bahrain venture of Singapore-based ACR Capital Holdings, which spearheaded the establishment of ACR Retakaful Holdings.
In October 2007, the CBB approved the establishment of a Representative Office of Asia Capital Reinsurance Group, a subsidiary of ACR Capital Holdings, which is a reinsurance company exclusively focused on Asian risk.
Established in 2006, it writes both treaty business as well as facultative business and is capitalized at $565 million. The company carries a financial strength rating (FSR) of A- (Excellent) from insurance rating agency, AM Best Company.
Shareholders of ACR Capital Holdings include Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia, Credit Suisse Private Equity Asia, Luxembourg Sicav (Worldwide Sicav), 3i, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, and affiliated investment funds of Och Ziff Capital Management Group.-TradeArabia News Service