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The Middle East Takaful Industry Must Address Fundamental Challenges to Ensure Sustained Growth

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

Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain: 1st October 2013: More than 250 leading players, key regulators and thought leaders in the regional Islamic insurance industry will be gathering on the 7th and 8th of October 2013 at the Gulf Hotel in Kingdom of Bahrain, for the 2nd Annual Middle East Takaful Forum (METF 2013). Held under the theme “Adapting to Change: Fresh Thinking to Boost the Efficiency, Profitability and Scale of Islamic Cooperative Insurance Players”, METF 2013, which is held under the official patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain, will provide a high-profile platform to discuss and assess new strategies for capitalising on the key growth drivers for the regional Islamic insurance industry and efficiently tackling the challenges posed by rising competition in the industry.

Speaking ahead of the event, David McLean, Chief Executive of the Middle East Takaful Forum (METF) noted that “the global Takaful industry has been experiencing double digit growth rates, with the GCC and Malaysia being the major drivers. A critical factor that will determine success in taking the industry to the next level of development will be the readiness of industry players to formulate and execute successful strategies in response to new market conditions and rapidly adapt to capture new emerging opportunities that will reignite growth levels.

He also said that “it is becoming increasingly imperative that Takaful players in the Middle East get to grips with managing the challenges of an increasingly competitive Takaful market, drive operational efficiencies and financial performance improvement in their business, and successfully shift to sound sustainable underwriting profitability – to build the capacity, capability and scale to profitably compete.

The 2nd Annual Middle East Takaful Forum (METF 2013) will be officially inaugurated on the 7th of October 2013 with a special keynote address by Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director – Financial Institutions Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain. Confirming his participation in the event and commenting on the Central Bank of Bahrain’s support for METF, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker said that “the GCC Takaful market remains at the forefront of the global Shari’ah-compliant insurance industry. The latest industry data reveals that the GCC contributes more than 60% of the gross Takaful premiums globally and industry estimates project that the global Takaful market will hit the US$ 20 bn mark by 2017.”

“However, achieving these projected growth levels requires the industry to address some of the fundamental challenges including competitive pressures, a lack of suitable Shari’ah-compliant investments, the shortage of expertise, and evolving regulations”, said Mr. Al Baker.

He also went on to say that “the operators in the region must adapt their business to manage and stabilize their cost-profit situation and that maximizing the industry’s growth potential calls for the industry players, market participants and regulators to immediately address these challenges so that the industry can sustain its growth momentum and achieve further successful development.”

“The Central Bank of Bahrain is once again delighted to host the annual Middle East Takaful Forum, which plays a key role in facilitating such dialogues”, he concluded.

A key highlight of METF 2013 will be the highly-interactive power debate session which will focus on building capacity and capability to enable Takaful and cooperative insurance operators to compete profitably. The Power Debate session led by Ashar Nazim, Partner, Head of Islamic Banking Excellence Center, Ernst & Young; and featuring Ayman Adel El Hout, Executive Director , Medgulf Takaful; Adrian Flowers, Chief Executive Officer, SABB Takaful; Amer Daya, Chief Executive Officer, Al Hilal Takaful; and Nandakumar Duraiswamy, Head – Underwriting, Solidarity General Takaful will discuss and debate the key strategies that leading Takaful players in the Middle East will need to adopt in order to overcome the barriers to sustained growth and long term profitability for the Takaful industry in the Middle East and step up to the next level.

Ernst & Young (EY) will also be providing a preview of their upcoming Global Takaful Insight 2013 at the event.

The 2nd Annual Middle East Takaful Forum (METF 2013), which builds on the 10 years successful history of the Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF), is set to gather over 250 high-level senior decision-makers from the regional insurance industry for discussions that will seek to ensure the long term profitability and stability of the Takaful industry in the Middle East.

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