The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has granted a license for the ACE Group of insurance and reinsurance companies to establish a Representative Office in Bahrain.
The ACE Group is one of the world’s largest global property and casualty insurance and reinsurance organizations. The Group addresses the insurance needs of commercial and individual customers in more than 140 countries and jurisdictions.
The CBB approval for a Representative Office in Bahrain is the second license to be granted to the ACE Group, which has operated an offshore unit from Bahrain since 1989.
The Bahrain Representative Office will serve as the ACE Group’s headquarters for the group’s existing subsidiaries and future operations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. In future, the ACE Group plans to offer insurance services in Bahrain and other countries in the region.
ACE Limited, the holding company of the ACE Group, is a component of the S&P 500 stock index. The Group wrote net premiums of US$11.8 billion in 2005, with total assets of over US$62 billion.
“The CBB welcomes the ACE Group’s intention to expand its operations in Bahrain,” said Mr. Ahmed Al Bassam, Director, Licensing & Policy, at the CBB.
“We are confident that the ACE Group will make a positive contribution to the growth and development of Bahrain’s financial sector, in general, and insurance industry, in particular.”
Bahrain has a well-diversified insurance industry and the Kingdom provides an excellent regional base from where the insurance industry can prosper and grow, he said.
“The region provides extremely promising prospects for providers of insurance services,” said Mr. Al Bassam.
“The Middle East region is one of the most under-insured regions in the world. However, structural reforms, notably in areas such as health and pensions, are now beginning to unlock the potential for insurance services that exist in this region.”
The rapid population growth in the MENA region will require substantial investment in infrastructure which will in turn lead to further increased demand for insurance and insurance related services.
“The CBB is committed to working with the industry in order to facilitate its full potential,” said Mr. Al Bassam. “A strong vibrant insurance sector is an essential component of financial stability and a country’s economic development.”
Mr. Andrew Kendrick, Chairman and CEO of ACE European Group, said: “ACE is very pleased to be able to establish a new regional office in Bahrain. This development reflects both the attractiveness of Bahrain as a location, and the belief that, with ACE's strong capabilities in a number of specialist areas such as energy, technical, financial and consumer accident and health business, the MENA region offers great opportunities for growth in the coming years.”