Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/29/2014 -- In spite of a clear slowing in premium growth - in both of the major segments, the UAE undoubtedly is home to one of the most dynamic insurance sectors in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The life segment continues to develop as innovative international life companies produce solutions for the growing population of expatriate workers, the majority of whom come from the UK or the Indian subcontinent. In the non-life segment, price competition remains tough as literally dozens of subscale companies battle for market share. A wave of consolidation is one possible outcome.
BMI's new insurance report format provides forecasts of the life and non-life markets, including gross and net premiums, reinsurance premiums and assets. Moreover, it provides forecasts for key growth drivers such as vehicle fleet size, demographic factors and private health expenditure. The report also contains a comprehensive breakdown of the non-life insurance market, providing forecasts for motor and transport insurance, property, personal accident, health, general liability and credit insurance. Finally, the new report offers a detailed breakdown of the life and non-life competitive landscapes, covering the top companies present in each segment by premiums and market share.
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Key Insights And Key Risks
As of early 2014, we remain of the view that the UAE is one of the largest and most dynamic of the insurance markets of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The published accounts of the larger listed insurance companies in relation to 2011 indicate that both segments grew at (low) double-digit rates in terms of gross written premiums. However, premium growth appears to have slowed in 2012 and 2013. The latest data from Salama, the multinational takaful operator based in the UAE, suggest takaful has not been a major contributor to growth.
Importantly, much of the newsflow through 2012 and 2013 indicated that the UAE's insurers are responding proactively to the competitive and often difficult conditions, particularly in the non-life segment. During both years, several insurers allowed premiums and profits to contract as they focused on writing business that would contribute to profitability over the medium to long term. Various partnerships have been announced to exploit areas of opportunity, such as health insurance. Retention rates have risen. New products have been developed.
We continue to believe that some kind of consolidation will take place in the competitive landscape. The largest UAE insurers - such as Salama, Oman Insurance Company and Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC) write annual premiums of around US$600-800mn. By this metric, they are roughly half the size of Tawuniya, the largest insurance company in Saudi Arabia and would rank as no more than medium-sized players in most other countries outside the MENA region. Many of their competitors in the UAE are much smaller.
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