Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/24/2012 -- Key Insights And Key Risks
The UAE Insurance Report considers the prospects for both life and non-life insurers in the country. As of mid-2012, recent developments and the latest data serve to confirm our 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. We suspect that the growth rate slowed further in Q112. The latest data from Salama, the multi-national takaful operator that is based in the UAE, suggests that takaful is no longer contributing to the overall growth of the sector in 2012.
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Importantly, much of the newsflow through H112 indicated that the UAE's insurers are responding proactively to the competitive and often difficult conditions prevailing in the non-life segment (especially). During 2011 and Q112, 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. Meanwhile, HDFC Life, the largest private sector life company in India, has established an operation in Dubai that focuses, not unreasonably, on wealthier non-resident Indians (NRIs). As was the case three months ago, it appears that the majority of companies in the UAE's insurance sector were largely unaffected by the volatility of global financial markets through 2011.
Looking forward, we remain of the view 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 rate 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.
Over the last quarter, BMI has made the following changes:
- The analysis incorporates BMI's latest forecasts for the UAE's economy, including details in relation to auto sales and trends in the healthcare sector.
- The analysis incorporates the latest comments on the performance of some of the leading companies in Q112, as well as data from Ernst & Young's World Takaful Report, which was published in Q212.
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