More than 550 International Insurance Leaders Head to Bahrain Next Month for the 10th Anniversary Special Edition of the Middle East Insurance Forum
50+ high-profile international speakers including Geoff Riddell, Member of the Group Executive Committee: Chairman – APMEA, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. to discuss key strategies for strengthening the regional insurance industry at MEIF 2014
Manama, Bahrain: 14th January 2014: The 10th Anniversary Special Edition of the Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2014), which is scheduled to be held in the Kingdom of Bahrain on the 10th and 11th of February 2014 under the official patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain, is set to gather more than 550 leading players, industry thought leaders and key regulators in the regional and international insurance industry for high-profile discussions focused on strengthening the regional insurance industry, overcoming competitive pressures and capturing profitable growth.
Announcing the launch of the 10th Anniversary Special Edition of the Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2014), David McLean, Chief Executive of the Middle East Insurance Forum said that “the insurance industry in the Middle East has enjoyed consistent positive growth over the past few years backed by the economic development in the region, an increase in government spending, population growth, a positively evolving regulatory environment and most importantly the increased awareness about the need for insurance”.
He also said 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. This requires leading players in the industry to concentrate on technical and operational profitability, address the issues of rising competition and pricing challenges, shift towards risk adequate pricing, and adopt international best practices”.
Mr. McLean went on to say that “the annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF), which over the last 10 years has established its pre-eminent position as the region’s largest and most influential annual gathering of insurance industry leaders, is set to continue its tradition of supporting growth, excellence and innovation in the regional insurance industry and is poised break new records in 2014 with more than 550 attendees representing over 200 leading global organizations set to join more than 50 international speakers and thought leaders for a very special and unique event that will chart a new road map for the further growth and development of the dynamic insurance industry in the Middle East.”
The two day event is set to begin on the 10th of February 2014 with an inaugural keynote address by Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director – Financial Institutions Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain.
Confirming his participation at MEIF 2014 and commenting on the Central Bank of Bahrain’s support for the event, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker said that “looking ahead, there is substantial new and untapped potential for the regional insurance industry in the coming years driven by capital investment and government spending especially in the area of new infrastructure projects over the next decade. This is expected to result in a surge in insurance activity and a growth in gross premiums in the region. However, regional insurance players must address key competitive challenges and balance top line growth with profitability. It is increasingly vital that insurance business should be underwritten and priced in a way that all the inherent risks are considered. Furthermore, implementing a strong risk management policy and strategy whereby underwriting, pricing, investment and operational risks are managed effectively to achieve sustainable profitable growth. The annual Middle East Insurance Forum over the last 10 years has played a key role in supporting growth, excellence and innovation in the regional insurance industry. The Central Bank of Bahrain is once again delighted to be supporting this prestigious event which is now celebrating its 10th Anniversary and we look forward to meeting the industry leaders at this important gathering and discussing key strategies towards building a stronger insurance industry in the Middle East.”
The 10th Anniversary Special Edition MEIF 2014 will also feature a special keynote address by Geoff Riddell, Member of the Group Executive Committee: Chairman – APMEA, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. The session focusing on identifying the latest developments in the international insurance industry and its implications for the industry in the Middle East will analyse the major trends reshaping the insurance industry in key developed markets across the world and will also discuss how the regional insurance industry needs to be reshaped for greater success.
A major highlight of this year’s MEIF 2014 will be the industry leaders’ power debate session which will feature significant debates and discussions on overcoming intensifying competitive pressures in the Middle East insurance industry. The debate led by Safder Jaffer, Managing Director & Consulting Actuary – Middle East & Africa, Milliman; and featuring Jamil R. Bahou, Managing Director, Crescent Global Group; Yassir Albaharna, Chief Executive Officer, Arab Insurance Group (Arig); and Farid Chedid, Chairman & CEO, Chedid Re will discuss key strategies for balancing premium growth with technical profitability and will also analyse how leading industry players are evolving and transforming their business to overcome the challenges of increasing competitive pressures.
Commenting on their participation in the event, Jamil R. Bahou, Managing Director of Crescent Global Group, said that “the outlook for the insurance sector in general is linked to overall economic health. Given the positive economic outlook for the GCC region as a whole, the future of the regional insurance industry remains buoyant. The low level of penetration levels in the Middle East region also provide ample room for the insurance sector to flourish. Insurance penetration in the Gulf was just over 1% per cent in 2012 compared to a global average of over 6%. Favourable demographics, rising income levels, a large expatriate population and increasing awareness about the benefits of insurance and government policies mandating insurance has helped in fuelling the industry’s growth. However an immature primary market defined by a large number of operators, intense competition, limited product offerings, and low premiums per capita are still hampering the development of the regional insurance sector. These are key challenges that the industry must address in order to move forward and tap into its tremendous potential”.
“Once again, Crescent Global Group is delighted to partner with the annual Middle East Insurance Forum. As MEIF celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year, it will be an opportune platform to not only take count of the achievements of the regional insurance industry in the last decade, but also discuss key strategies to overcome the challenges that lie ahead to ensure sustainable growth in the industry”, Mr. Bahou said.
The 10th Anniversary edition of the Middle East Insurance Forum will also feature a special awards ceremony that will recognize excellence, innovation and pioneering initiatives in the regional insurance industry.