Insurance industry invades Arab markets with $27 billion in premiums
Arab insurance premiums have seen good growth reaching $27 billion last year, of which the GCC region's share of the total was $16.5 billion, said a report citing a senior banking official. Speaking during the opening session of the first Professional Liability Insurance Forum yesterday, General Arab Insurance Federation (GAIF) secretary-general Abdul Khaliq said the GCC region's share of the total was $16.5 billion, with a growth of 11.7 per cent versus 2011, reported the Gulf Daily News, . Khaliq urged the industry and regulators to modernise in tune with rapidly changing consumer requirements and also venture into specialised branches like professional liability insurance, the report stated. GAIF and the Bahrain Insurance Association (BIA) are the key drivers behind the two-day event being held at the Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel and Spa. On the opening day, the event saw participation from more than 300 high-ranking professionals from the insurance industry and other sectors. Central Bank of Bahrain executive director of financial institutions supervision Abdul Rahman Al Baker said professional liability insurance provides comprehensive protection for firms assets against claims for financial losses, injury or damage arising from certain acts, errors or omissions in the performance of professional services. "It protects professionals such as accountants, lawyers, medical practitioners, engineers, architects, brokers and bank managers among others, against negligence and other claims initiated by their clients," he remarked. "It is required by professionals who have expertise in a specific area because the general liability insurance policies do not offer protection against claims arising out of business or professional practices such as negligence, malpractice or misrepresentation," said Khaliq. "There is a lot of potential for insurance firms to provide and strengthen the professional liability insurance products and to cater them to the needs and requirements of the different industries," the added. BIA chairman Younis Jamal told the GDN that Bahrain needed legislation that regulated professional liability specifying the nature of such errors. "Bahrain's insurance market is experiencing growth of about 7-8 per cent over last year, reflecting the dynamic nature of the economy," he said. According to Al Baraka Banking Group board member, president and chief executive Adnan Yousif, the professional liability insurance market could be one of the most important tools of economic stability, given geopolitical complexities around the region. Yousif said the market would become a major growth engine if suitable conditions were available including regulatory infrastructure and integration into national economy segments, with bodies such as Tamkeen focused on empowerment and capacity building. The event also saw industry pioneer and veteran Ghazi Abu Nahl being honoured for his contributions to the insurance sector. As he could not be present, his son, TrustRe chief executive Fadi Abu Nahl, collected the award on his behalf.