BFH sponsors Middle East Insurance Forum
In a key initiative that will reinforce Bahrain’s status as the Middle East’s insurance capital and reiterate its commitment to the long-term development of the sector, Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH), the US $1.3 billion financial services development situated along the Manama seafront, is sponsoring the second Middle East Insurance Forum being held on March 8th and 9th, 2005, in Manama. The sponsorship will serve to promote one of the development’s unique environments, the prestigious Bahrain International Insurance Centre (BIIC), tailored specifically for the insurance sector.
The two-day forum, organised by Lebanon’s Al-Iktisaad Wal Aamal group in cooperation with Bahrain Monetary Agency held under the patronage of H.E. Mr. Rasheed Mohammed Al-Maraj, Governor of the Bahrain Monetary Agency, will bring together more than 400 insurance executives, regulators, and other delegates, and will serve to shore up international interest in BIIC, which is proposed as an ideal location for accessing the growing regional insurance market. By supplementing regulatory initiatives taken by the Bahrain Monetary Agency, BIIC will serve the objective of further developing the insurance sector and expanding Bahrain’s regional role in this field.
Commenting on the sponsorship, Mr. Esam Janahi, Chairman of Bahrain Financial Harbour Holding Company, said: “Bahrain is already widely acknowledged as the Middle East’s major and most developed insurance centre, staking its claim to about 14 per cent of the revenue pool for non-life insurance. This volume of business is set to rise substantially, building mainly on Bahrain’s forte in Islamic financial products.”
“BIIC is an important initiative that will enhance Bahrain’s leading position in the insurance industry, with renewed focus on high-potential areas such as banc-assurance, captive insurance and takaful insurance,” he added.
The Forum, for which BFH is the Platinum Sponsor, will see experts and top executives from the insurance sector coming together to deliberate on policies that will influence the future of insurance in the Middle East. It will also highlight the vast untapped opportunities that the region, and particularly Bahrain, has to offer.
Highlighting the significance of the Forum to BFH, Mr. Janahi said: “The Middle East’s insurance market offers excellent prospects to both existing players and new entrants alike. Limited penetration levels and attractive growth rates make insurance one of the most potentially lucrative sectors in the region.”
“Insurance in Bahrain has the added advantage of being governed by the BMA, the most experienced and trusted financial services regulator in the region. Because of initiatives the BMA is taking, the sector has immense potential. The BIIC, a key constituent of BFH, is strategically positioned to take advantage of this opportunity. BIIC’s sponsorship and participation in the Forum is an expression of its absolute commitment to the growth of insurance in the region,” he said.
Conceived as an integral part of BFH, the proposed hub for regional and international banking and finance, BIIC has been designed as the premier address for setting up and maintaining Middle East insurance operations. As a hi-tech and innovative facility that houses a range of insurance-related businesses, the BIIC will act as a critical enabler for Islamic or takaful insurance in the region.
Elaborating on BIIC’s participation, Mr. Faisal Abu Zaki, Deputy General Manager of Al-Iktisaad Wal Aamal, said: “The insurance sector is one of the asset classes identified for vigorous development to enhance Bahrain’s status as the financial capital. The Forum, which will explore the many challenges and opportunities facing the Arab insurance industry, will pave the way for firms interested in locating in Bahrain to take part in the region’s accelerating growth.”
Bahrain’s forward-looking policies for the financial sector, the far-reaching benefits of its economic diversification drive and the strong backing of the BMA are sure to make the Bahrain the epicentre of regional insurance, he added.
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