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Experts to discuss Saudi insurance issues

Riyadh, March 31, 2009

Over 300 insurance professionals, regulators and key industry players will share their perspectives about the impact of the global financial crisis on the Saudi insurance industry at a special summit.

'The Third Saudi Insurance Summit', to be held at the Marriott Hotel, Riyadh, from May 16 to 18, will spotlight the challenges and opportunities facing the Islamic insurance market, said the organisers.

“I think, and many agree, that the annual Saudi Insurance Summit plays an important role in encouraging information sharing, maintaining dialogue and promoting best practices especially in times of uncertainty,” said Shabnam Rawal, managing director – Conferences and Training, IIR Middle East.

The demand for Takaful – insurance that complies with Islamic law – is growing in the Gulf region in line with increased demand for Islamic banking products, especially in Saudi Arabia where all insurance activities must comply with Sharia, she noted.

Moreover, Takaful companies have been successful in developing insurance products that are viable alternatives to Western products.

Despite the current crisis, recent studies forecast the Islamic insurance (Takaful) market will grow five-fold over the next 10 years, while the market for Sharia-compliment insurance will worth $4 billion in 2010, Rawal added.

Dr Saleh J. Malaikah, chairman, Salama - Islamic Arab Insurance Company, pointed out that though Saudi Arabia has not been unaffected by the global financial crisis, the Kingdom stands in a much healthier economic position than many other markets.

Due to responsible fiscal policies and good economic fundamentals, many industries remain strong including the burgeoning insurance market, he noted.

The insurance industry in the Kingdom is not impervious to market fundamentals but many experts believe the long term outlook is positive.

“Although the short-term outlook is less benign due to local conditions and the global downturn, I think that Saudi insurance sector presents a high-value business and offers significant growth potential,” said Dr. Malaikah.

Besides Salama, the summit will feature key contributions from over 30 high-profile international and regional organisations including Malath, Medgulf, AIG and Standard & Poor’s.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Summit | impact | Crisis | Salama | Saudi Insurance |

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