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The 9th Annual Middle East Insurance Forum 2013 set to begin on the 4th of February in the Kingdom of Bahrain

The region’s largest and most influential annual gathering of insurance industry leaders set to gather more than 500 international delegates as they seek to tackle the challenge of balancing growth with profitability in the Middle East insurance industry.

Manama: Kingdom of Bahrain: 3rd February 2013: Leading industry players, thought leaders and key regulators representing the regional insurance industry will take part in the 9th Annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2013), which is set to commence tomorrow the 4th of February 2013 at the Gulf Hotel in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Convened under the official patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain, the two day event is set to gather more than 500 international delegates representing over 150 leading organizations.

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

Held under the theme “Balancing Growth with Profitability: New Strategies for the Middle East Insurance Industry”, the 9th Annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2013), will focus discussions on identifying new strategies to maintain the growth momentum while boosting technical and operational profitability in an increasingly competitive regional insurance market.

“The scenario for the insurance industry in the Middle East is now fast changing as rising competition for market share has placed tremendous pressures on both operational and technical profitability. Some markets and lines have seen a further shift from risk-adequate pricing as players look to capture market share and achieve their targeted premium growth. This calls for the insurance industry to focus on operational efficiency, sound underwriting, competitiveness and scale – with the strategic objective being to maintain growth momentum while boosting profitability,” said David McLean, Chief Executive of the Middle East Insurance Forum.

A special opening keynote address delivered by Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director – Financial Institutions Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain will present key regulatory issues and will analyze how regulatory frameworks can be enhanced to support the further development of the insurance industry in the Middle East.

Jamil R. Bahou, Managing Director, Crescent Global Group

Jamil R. Bahou, Managing Director, Crescent Global Group

On this occasion, Mr. Al Baker said, “The rapid economic development taking place in many Middle Eastern economies continues to drive interest in the local insurance and reinsurance market. The growth potential in the regional insurance industry is evident from the encouraging demographics, increasing consumer awareness and huge government expenditure in key economies in the region. What is essential for achieving long term stability is that operators must shift their focus from just pricing to providing more sophisticated and innovative products and solutions that bring diversity into the market and make the market more attractive to customers.”

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; Alexis de BEAUREGARD, Chief Officer – Marketing and Retail Product Offering, AXA Insurance (Gulf) B.S.C.; and Mario Valdes, General Manager, MetLife Alico Gulf, will focus on rethinking growth strategies and building a profitable growth path in the Middle East insurance industry which is characterized by low Insurance density and under-penetration.

Ayman Adel El Hout, Group Vice President - Operations, The Mediterranean & Gulf Insurance & Reinsurance Company (B.S.C) MEDGULF

Ayman Adel El Hout, Group Vice President – Operations, The Mediterranean & Gulf Insurance & Reinsurance Company (B.S.C) MEDGULF

Commenting on his participation at the event, Jamil R. Bahou, Managing Director, Crescent Global Group said that “the insurance industry in the Middle East has sustained steady growth over the last few years. Undoubtedly there are significant opportunities for further growth in this dynamic region given the current favourable macro-economic indicators coupled with the low levels of insurance penetration. However in order to tap into these opportunities, it is essential that the industry remains profitable in the long run and the current market situations and increasing competition in the industry makes it even more challenging for operators to maintain growth momentum while boosting profitability.”

He also said that “as a key industry player, we are delighted to see profitability issues being the key theme for this year’s 9th Annual Middle East Insurance Forum as it is high time that the industry takes proactive steps in overcoming these challenges. We are delighted to be a part of this prestigious gathering which we have now been supporting for over 5 years and we look forward to the critical debates and discussions at this year’s event.”

A similar view was expressed by Ayman Adel El Hout, Group Vice President – Operations, The Mediterranean & Gulf Insurance & Reinsurance Company (B.S.C) MEDGULF who said that “the Middle East market has been relatively shielded from the worst of the global financial crisis. Several countries in the region continue to enjoy GDP growth with governments still spending billions on infrastructure seeking to move their economies forward. With growing interest in risk mitigation, and low penetration rates, the Middle East insurance industry is poised for further growth.”

The 9th Annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2013) will also feature a special keynote address by Enrico Bertagna, Head of Southern, Eastern Europe & Africa; Country Manager for Italy at Lloyd’s. The session, which focuses 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.

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