450 experts to discuss insurance trends
Manama, February 6, 2012
More than 450 international delegates representing over 150 leading organisations will discuss new trends in the global insurance industry and growth strategies for the Middle East markets at an upcoming insurance forum in Bahrain.
The two-day eighth annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2012) will open tomorrow at the Gulf Hotel.
“The Middle East insurance industry is still relatively young compared to other more developed markets in the world. Despite enjoying double-digit growth rates in gross premiums, the penetration rate across the Middle East remains considerably below the global average,” said David McLean, chief executive of the Middle East Insurance Forum.
“Low penetration rates, huge government spending on developmental projects, and a relatively young demographic profile make the Middle East one of the most dynamic and attractive insurance markets in the world.”
“However it is essential that the current growth momentum in the industry is continued in the long term and this requires leading players in the industry to concentrate on profitability, scale and building a strong core business mix to ensure long term sustainability”, he added.
Ayman Adel El Hout, Group vice president – Operations at the Mediterranean & Gulf Cooperative Insurance & Reinsurance Company (Medgulf), said: “Market trends and dynamics in the Middle East insurance industry clearly highlight the growth potential for both international and local market participants alike.”
“Strong macro-economic performance in the region and the opportunities that will flow out of the huge infrastructure spending plans are building the foundation for an exciting growth curve for the regional insurance sector. In order to optimize the potential benefits generated by the growth forecasts, the regional insurance industry must rapidly evolve in sophistication, size and competitiveness.”
Held under the theme “Transforming the Regional Insurance Market: Building Scale, Boosting Competitiveness and Seizing Growth Opportunities”, the event will be inaugurated on with a special opening keynote address by Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, executive director – Financial Institutions Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain.
Focusing on regulatory perspectives the session will feature critical discussions that will seek to build a platform to ensure a stable and thriving regional insurance market.
“As a regulator of one of the key markets in the Middle East, the Central Bank of Bahrain is keen to see the regional insurance industry further grow and prosper to the next level of market development,” said Al Baker.
“The advancement of the insurance industry in Bahrain is a key component of the Kingdom’s comprehensive strategy to develop a competitive, dynamic and diversified economy.”
“The Central Bank of Bahrain has been successfully providing a strong framework for the insurance industry to operate and we will continue to consult with the industry to ensure that we are responsive to the needs of the industry. Events like the Middle East Insurance Forum play a critical role in facilitating such dialogues,” he concluded.
The forum will also feature a session that will seek to identify the new trends in the global insurance industry and opportunities in the Middle East insurance markets.
Mario Valdes, general manager of MetLife Alico Gulf said: “Despite the prevailing global financial challenges, the insurance industry in the Middle East in general and particularly in the Gulf countries managed to sustain a steady growth over the years.”
“Looking ahead, favourable macro-economic indicators and the low levels of insurance penetration that characterize the markets of the region allow us to predict that there will be significant opportunities for substantial growth in the years to come.” – TradeArabia News Service