Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/11/2014 -- As of late 2013, it appears that Bahrain's insurance sector is in something of a hiatus. Looking forward, we expect that competitive pressures facing the non-life companies will constrain the growth of that segment. We are, however, cautiously optimistic about the prospects for the life segment.
Key Insights And Key Risks
As of late 2013, it appears that Bahrain's insurance sector is in something of a hiatus. As is the case in the rest of the region, the life segment is dominated by the local subsidiaries of multi-national insurers that are selling products and solutions to expatriates. Official data points to a (small) fall in life premiums in 2011 and, for most companies, a fall in the numbers of policies. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the unrest which began in early 2011 has resulted in a reduction in the numbers of expatriate workers. Data about the development of life insurance through 2012 is fairly scant. Nevertheless, this challenge is, almost certainly, temporary in nature. If the economy grows and develops as BMI envisages, it is virtually certain that the number (and wealth) of expatriate workers will increase: their demand for innovative savings solutions will grow also.
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Indications from the non-life segment are mixed. According to the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), which regulates the insurance sector, overall premiums rose. Comments from particular companies, and the well documented problems of key areas of the economy such as the construction sector, suggest that times have been hard for many players in the non-life segment. As is the case across much of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the industry is fragmented, lacking in pricing power and (with some exceptions) unable to achieve regional economies of scale. The unrest that began in early 2011 led to an increase in claims. Some companies appear to have suffered from further sharp rises in claims through 2012 as well. For many companies, investment profits have been unimpressive.
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