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Middle East Insurance Industry Must Shift Strategic Focus: Balancing Growth with Profitability Critical for Sustainable Development

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The 9th Annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2013) to Discuss Key Strategies for Maintaining Growth Momentum while Boosting Profitability in the Regional Insurance Market

Delegates at MEIF Last Year

Delegates at MEIF Last Year

Manama, Bahrain: 15th January 2013: More than 500 leading players, industry thought leaders and key regulators in the regional and international insurance industry are set to gather in the Kingdom of Bahrain on the 4th and 5th of February 2013 for the 9th Annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2013) to examine the key challenges and assess the future prospects for the insurance industry in the Middle East. Held under the theme “Balancing Growth with Profitability: New Strategies for the Middle East Insurance Industry”, MEIF 2013, supported by the Central Bank of Bahrain, will be a key platform to discuss new strategies to maintain growth momentum while boosting technical profitability in an increasingly competitive regional insurance market.

Speaking to the media ahead of the event, David McLean, Chief Executive of the Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF) noted that “the Middle East insurance industry is still relatively young compared to other more developed markets in the world. The attractive demographics, increasing customer awareness, positive regulatory reforms and increase in average individual income in the Middle East have made the region one of the fastest growing and most attractive insurance markets. With GDP in the Middle East forecasted to grow at a faster rate, the Middle East insurance markets have strong potential for growth. However, with a wide range of social, political and economic changes not only in the Middle East but globally, it is very important for the industry players to continuously assess their business models and strategies in order to ensure robustness. With rising competition for market share from both regional operators and multinationals, players in the Middle East insurance industry will have to place operational efficiency, competitiveness and scale at the top of their strategic planning agenda.”

He also noted that “as the Middle East continues to be one of the most dynamic and attractive insurance markets in the world, 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 technical and operational profitability, address the issues of pricing challenges and shift towards risk adequate pricing while adopting international best practices.”

Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director - Financial Institutions Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain

Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director – Financial Institutions Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain

The two day event is set to begin on the 4th of February 2013 with an inaugural keynote address by Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director – Financial Institutions Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain who will discuss how enhancing the regulatory framework can support the further development of the insurance industry in the Middle East.

Confirming his participation at MEIF 2013, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker said that “the insurance industry in the Middle East is undergoing significant transformation and there is tremendous potential for the market to grow and thrive. Regional market trends clearly highlight the growth potential for both multinational and local participants. However, given the current challenges of increasing competition, it is essential that the industry addresses key challenges and refine business models to build the foundation for an exciting and stable growth curve for the insurance sector. With significant untapped potential in the regional insurance industry both regulators and operators in the region must aim to promote collaboration, transparency and adoption of the best international standards in order to optimize the growth potential.”

He also said that “the annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF) has over the past 9 years, played a key role in supporting growth and development in the regional insurance industry by creating a platform for the industry leaders to meet and exchange views on the current market and economic conditions that have a major impact on the regional insurance markets” and that “the Central Bank of Bahrain is once again very delighted to supporting this important event.”

MEIF 2013 will feature a special keynote address by Enrico Bertagna, Head of Southern, Eastern Europe & Africa; Country Manager for Italy at Lloyd’s. The session focusing on international insights and trends in the insurance industry will assess the developments in the global insurance industry and their implications for the Middle East.

A major highlight of this year’s MEIF will be the industry leaders’ power debate session which will feature significant debates and discussions on maintaining growth momentum while boosting technical profitability. The debates, led by Justin Balcombe, Senior Director, MENA Insurance Sector Leader, Ernst & Young and featuring Ayman Adel El Hout, Group Vice President – Operations, The Mediterranean & Gulf Insurance & Reinsurance Company (B.S.C) MEDGULF; Jamil R. Bahou, Managing Director, Crescent Global Group; and Mario Valdes, General Manager, MetLife Alico Gulf, will focus on rethinking growth strategies and building a sustainable growth path in the Middle East insurance industry which is characterized by low Insurance density and under-penetration.

Providing new research insights into insurance buying patterns and behaviour, MEIF 2013 features an exclusive session led by Ernst & Young which will discuss the findings of an original global research where 25000 global insurance consumers were interviewed, including consumers from the Middle East. The report covers Life and Non Life segments and identifies significant buying behaviours and patterns. The report will be presented by Tony Dell, Partner, MENA Financial services; Jonathan Matchett, Manager, MENA Insurance Sector; and Ross Maclean, MENA Customer Advisory Leader at Ernst & Young.

The Middle East Insurance Forum which has over the last 9 years established itself as the region’s largest and most influential annual gathering of insurance industry leaders will this year see more than 500 international and regional delegates attending the 2 day event.

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