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2010 Takaful contributions hit $8.3bn; up 19pc

Dubai, April 16, 2012

Global Takaful contributions grew by 19 per cent to reach $8.3 billion in 2010, out of which the GCC’s contributions amounted to $5.68 billion and that from South East Asia to $2 billion, a report said.

In 2010, growth in the GCC slowed to 16 per cent, from a CAGR of 41 per cent in 2005–2009, as the implementation of compulsory medical Takaful in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia was completed earlier, said the fifth edition of Ernst & Young’s World Takaful Report.

The 2012 report entitled Industry Growth and Preparing for Regulatory Change was unveiled at the ongoing seventh annual World Takaful Conference 2012 in Dubai.

Ashar Nazim, Mena head of Islamic Financial Services, Ernst & Young, said: “The Takaful industry continued to show double digit growth in 2010, albeit at a relatively slower rate of 19 per cent compared to previous years. Among key markets, Malaysia and the UAE again achieved growth rates of over 24 per cent, while Saudi Arabia saw its gross contributions increase by $500 million.”

Saudi Arabia remains by far the largest Takaful market, contributing $4.3 billion or 51.8 per cent of the industry at an average contribution per operator of $141 million, the report said.

Malaysia grew 24 per cent to reach contributions of $1.4 billion at an average contribution per operator of $141 million. The third rank is held by the UAE with contributions of $818 million, growing at 28 per cent.

Sudan is the most significant market outside of the GCC and SE Asia, with contributions totalling $363 million, growing by 7 per cent in 2010, the report said.

“With current growth trends, and the addition of new fringe markets such as Indonesia and Bangladesh, we expect gross contributions of $12 billion by 2012,” continued Ashar.

The Islamic finance share in the GCC and Malaysia is 25 per cent and 22 per cent respectively whereas the Takaful market share is 15 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. In terms of consumer segmentation, the Shari’a appeal of Takaful makes it predominantly retail driven in most markets.

The corporate business is attracted through a value proposition based on the operators’ reputation, history, product suite, service standards, relationships and pricing and this segment has significant room for growth.

Gordon Bennie, Mena Financial Services Industry Leader, Ernst & Young said: “The GCC Takaful market predominantly comprises of general Takaful business with family Takaful accounting for as little as 5 per cent in certain markets.”

“With high disposable income average and low market penetration, the GCC presents great potential for family Takaful. Focus on customer research to understand needs and expectations, in addition to focus on customer education and distribution capacity-building would allow this market to be tapped.”

“Large Muslim markets such as Libya, Egypt, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Brunei are opening up to Takaful,” added Gordon.

Generating profitability

Insurance companies continued to yield higher returns with an average return on equity of 8 per cent in the GCC compared to the Takaful operators with 4 per cent. Operators in Saudi Arabia have struggled to show positive returns since the financial crisis.

According to the report, the local market is currently dominated by three players, with the remaining operators incurring high expense ratios and loss ratios in their efforts to gain market share. Though the combined operating ratios of Malaysian Takaful operators are better than their conventional peers, the reverse is true for the GCC.

The report identified strong competition, evolving regulations and shortage of Takaful expertise as key risks in both the GCC and South East Asia.

Young Takaful operators are relying upon aggressive pricing strategies to compete against the established, older, conventional players. Such pricing is not sustainable and causing significant pressure on the industry’s profitability. There are increasingly stringent regulatory requirements on capital and solvency, indicating the regulators’ desired future direction.

While most operators agree that the new regulations are a positive development, they are concerned over increased variances in regulatory regimes across jurisdictions. Such variances make it difficult for Takaful operators to function across regions and also lead to confusion for customers and multinational insurers.

“Industry consolidation would allow Takaful operators to compete effectively with larger, more established conventional insurers and also reduce unhealthy price wars,” said Ashar.

“However, the industry is still growing rapidly which is keeping shareholders interested in their Takaful operations. The industry will take a bit more time to establish itself before it can be decided which players can sustain themselves and which cannot,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Dubai | GCC | Ernst & Young | Asia | World Takaful Conference | 2010 | Contributions |

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