Experts to discuss regional insurance issues
Manama, January 17, 2012
Over 450 international and regional insurance industry leaders will gather in Bahrain next month for a major forum that will discuss ways to transform the regional insurance market and boost its competitiveness.
The eighth annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2012) will run from February 7 to 8 at the Gulf Convention Centre, Gulf Hotel, Manama.
The event, to be held under the patronage of Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), will focus discussions on rethinking growth strategies in the context of a challenging economic environment, identifying new trends in the insurance industry, and renewing the push to capture the huge growth opportunities that exist in the Middle East insurance markets.
As the regional insurance markets continue to open up and multi-national insurers reposition themselves on the world stage, focus is shifting to up-and-coming markets that exhibit high growth potential, said financial experts.
According to them, select countries in the Middle East were becoming an increasingly important focal point.
"With the industry in the Middle East expected to experience high growth rates in the coming years, policymakers, regulators and key players will have to address the challenges that lie ahead of them as the region's insurance sector is becoming increasingly fragmented, requiring insurers to concentrate on profitability, scale and long-term sustainability," they added.
The forum will open with a keynote address by CBB executive director of financial institutions supervision Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker.
"The insurance industry in the Middle East has tremendous potential for growth, given the relatively low insurance penetration levels, positive demographic and economic trends and rapid infrastructure development occurring throughout the region," said Al Baker.
"Bahrain has achieved pre-eminence as the regional financial services centre, through the government's wise and far-sighted policy of maintaining an open and diversified economy base and paying attention to the legal and regulatory infrastructure."
"As a regulator, the CBB will continue to provide a strong framework essential for the insurance industry to flourish and for Bahrain to become the insurance hub of this important region," he added.
Middle East Insurance Forum managing director David McLean said leading industry leaders will discuss ways to transform the regional insurance market and build scale, boost competitiveness and seize growth opportunities.
"Although the general outlook for the insurance industry across the region is positive, challenges exist for regional players from increasing competition as new insurers enter the market placing pressure on maintaining profit margins," McClean stated.
A key highlight of MEIF 2012 will be industry leaders' power debate session which will seek to build a new sustainable profitable growth path for the regional insurance industry, he added.-TradeArabia News Service