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Michael Saleh Gassner
Dubai Holding, a conglomerate owned by the emirate's ruler, and Kuwait's Al Fajer Re plan to launch a Emirates Retakafulfirm with $500m of authorised capital in January to tap unserved demand in retakaful. The new firm, Emirates Retakaful, will be set up in the Dubai International Financial Centre, said Fareed Lutfi, director of insurance services at Dubai Holding. There will be scope to add more investors to the firm, he added. Emirates Retakaful will focus on covering general takaful business, such as oil- and aviation-related risks, and later explore family takaful risk.
Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) recently announced concept paper on life insurance and family takaful (LI and FT) may be the insurance sector’s re-rating catalyst. The proposals made in the paper focus on ensuring sustainable operating costs, enhancing disclosure and improving policyholders’ value proposition, which should collectively boost penetration, especially in the mass market. Key measures in the recent proposals include the introduction of the minimum allocation rate to replace commission/operating cost limits on investment-linked products, promoting distribution channels and encouraging greater product transparency with enhanced disclosure requirements and web aggregators. The outcome is considered a win-win for customers and insurers.
Takaful Oman Insurance, one of Oman's first takaful insurance providers and still under formation, has announced its initial public offering (IPO). The promoters are offering 40mn shares, each priced at 102bz - with a par value of 100bz and 2bz of issue expense. The IPO, which opened for subscription on October 30, will close on November 28. Takaful Oman is promoted by ONIC Holding, National Investment Funds Co ( Nifco ), Oman Investment Corporation (OIC); National Bank of Oman, Blue Door Investment Services LLC, bank muscat, and T'azur Takaful insurance company, one of the top five takaful companies in Kuwait.
The 2nd Annual Islamic Banking Summit Africa (IBSA 2013), which opened today in Djibouti, saw more than 350 leaders in the international Islamic banking and finance industry engage in discussions that focused on capturing the growth opportunity for Islamic finance and Takaful in Africa. The inaugural session of the two day event assessed the progress and development of Islamic finance in Africa and discussed required key government and regulatory initiatives. The keynote plenary session discussed key strategies for capacity building and how to best position Islamic finance as a catalyst for a new wave of economic development in Africa. The Power Debate session discussed key initiatives to strengthen Islamic finance’s links to the real economy in Africa and connect Africa to the broader world of Islamic finance.
General and family Takaful companies are soon going to withdraw their constitutional petition against the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), 23 conventional insurance companies and the federation of Pakistan after a prolonged fight with the regulator to restrict competition in the Islamic insurance industry. Takaful operators are said to have struck a deal with their conventional insurance counterparts, which will allow the latter to run Shariah-compliant insurance business through parallel window operations. Some of the biggest players, including State Life, EFU Life, Jubilee Life and Adamjee Life are reported to be eager to launch their Islamic window operations. In fact, some of these companies have vowed publicly to launch window operations within three months of the lifting of the SHC’s restraining order.
IslamicFinance.de is still edited by myself, Michael Saleh Gassner. In the same time the website became part of the family's publishing house, Al Kitab.
Myself I moved to Geneva for professional reasons, working as Islamic private banker. IslamicFinance.de remains to be a private passion.
London's Shariah-compliant start-up Cobalt Underwriting has now written its first risk, via its agreement with capacity provider XL Group, to cover the deal to acquire a high-profile property portfolio. It has underwritten a property acquired by PARC Property Holding, advised by Amiri Capital, to acquire Park Crescent West. Cobalt CEO Richard Bishop believes the agreement serves to demonstrate that insurance should have a place at the forefront of the government's plans to promote Islamic finance in London. Furthermore, he reminded Islamic business leaders that insurance capacity that meets their needs is available in London.
The Tunisian Islamic insurance company "El Amana Takaful," set up as part of a Tunisian-Saudi partnership project, came into service on Wednesday. This Islamic insurance company operates with paid-up capital of TND 10 million ($6.3 million). Saudi businessman Mr. Hassan Salem Al-Amari was appointed as the chairman, and Hussein Al-Daghri was named the deputy chairman. The company was licensed in April. Most of its shareholders are conventional insurers, including Comar, Astree, and Carte – each with 18% share – and Tunis Re, with a 6% stake.
The European Union has lifted sanctions against Iran Insurance Company following defense presented by the corporation, its Managing Director Javad Sahamian said. The sanctions caused that letters of credit guaranteed by the company were refused by others, but after ease of sanctions the company can work actively in insuring LCs in areas such as freight. Sahamian said the corporation has managed to control sanctions considerably to prevent any great loss and pave the way for more growth.
The Saudi Arabian and Malaysian cooperative and Islamic insurance (takaful) markets are the only two that are seeing growth especially in new policies and profitability, according to the report 'Global Takaful Insights 2013' by Ernst & Young. Too many operators are pursuing an insufficient number of risks to increase their gross written contributions (GWC). The Saudi Arabian Monetary (SAMA) directed all insurance operators in the Kingdom to align with the cooperative insurance model. Saudi Arabia is the single largest Islamic insurance market in the world. Meanwhile, Malaysia has emerged as the world's largest family (life) takaful market, with a proven model and regulatory clarity. In the near to medium term, traditional growth markets, including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Malaysia, continue to ride on favorable market conditions and a young demographics structure, the report concludes.
The Board of Directors of Daman Islamic Insurance Company (Beema) has approved the financial statements of the Company for the nine months ended September 30, 2013. Announcing the financial results, Beema Chairman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani said the Company’s net profit has crossed QR40m during the period, up 111 percent compared with the same period last year. Income from investment increased 154 percent during the period. The premium collection of the company recorded more than QR160m, up 24 percent, compared with the corresponding period in 2012. Sheikh Jassim noted the portfolio of shareholders recorded 119 percent growth in the profit against the same period of 2012.
Malaysian takaful players are poised for a dearth in talent and must prepare their human resource (HR) requirements to avert the inevitable situation within the next five years. This is due to the fact that takaful players will have to hire more people following the introduction of the Islamic Financial Act (IFSA) 2013 which requires them to separate their family and general takaful businesses into separate entities. There is already a shortage of valuable industry personnels not just in the takaful industry but also in the conventional insurance industry now and this will be exacerbated when the IFSA comes into force.
Malaysia continues to take the lead in the Asean takaful industry with 71% share of gross takaful contributions, according to a report by Ernst & Young. Malaysia has a largely underinsured population with a low insurance penetration rate and strong government support for the Islamic finance sector. With a proven model and regulatory clarity, the country is set to further build on this leadership position. At present, Malaysia’s takaful sector derives nearly 78% of its net contributions from the family takaful business. However, globally the recent trends suggest an deceleration of the industry. Hence, expansion of the takaful industry is relatively slowing as firms struggle for scale and face growing competition, but the sector is still poised to sustain double-digit growth, said the report in its overall findings.
Expansion of the takaful industry is slowing as firms struggle for scale and face growing competition, according to a report by Ernst & Young. Driven largely by Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, takaful globally is expected to grow by 16 percent annually in coming years compared to an average 22 percent rate between 2007 and 2011. But firms have expanded in narrow product segments such as auto insurance which are saturated by competitors, sparking price competition to gain market share. A shift from general insurance to more profitable life business remains unlikely in the Gulf because of comfortable government-funded safety nets. Geographical expansion is one way out, but this is difficult because of expensive regulatory requirements and the lack of a standard approach to sharia-compliance across the world.
Broking firm, Miller has recruited Razi Sulaiman, a treaty reinsurance and takaful specialist, for its Malaysia operations. Miller anticipates significant future growth in the takaful sector and Razi will help to further develop the company's presence in this arena. Razi Sulaiman has built up knowledge of treaty and facultative reinsurance having specialised in technical support and claims previously. He began his career with Uni Asia Insurance before joining Miller. Working closely with Faris Davidson and the rest of the team in Malaysia he will help to grow Miller’s treaty and facultative book, focussing on Malaysia, Brunei & Indonesia and with particular emphasis on the takaful sector.
Operators seeking the licence to underwrite Takaful Insurance have continued to turn in their applications to the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). Since the process is still ongoing, the number of applications is still not known. Interests have been received from underwriters and the general public. NAICOM will through the licensing demystify insurance practice, making it possible for operators to operate at the grassroots. Ibrahim Hassan, deputy commissioner for Insurance (Technical) NAICOM, said the interested companies must maintain a minimum deposit in a non-interest financial institution at all times and that the provision for the establishment of an Advisory Council of Experts (ACE) must be made in the articles of the Company and there should be establishment of investment policy for the participants’ Risk Fund.
Daman Islamic Insurance Company’s net profit crossed QR40m for the first nine months of 2013. The figure reflects a 111 percent increase compared to the same period in 2012. Announcing the financial results, Daman Islamic Insurance Company Chairman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani said the returns from the investments increased by 160 percent on year-on-year basis. Sheikh Jassim attributed the company’s strong performance during the period to the diverse insurance products available in the market. The opening of new branches also supported the growth, he said.
Syarikat Takaful Malaysia is targeting double digit-growth in new business this year driven by its family and group segments. Group managing director Datuk Mohamed Hassan Kamil said the company aims to maintain its lead in the group family takaful business, capturing 40% of the market sector, and 20% of the combined family and general takaful business. He noted that Takaful Malaysia will carry on being cautious in accepting only profitable underwriting contracts while avoiding those prone to greater risks. Hassan also mentioned that developing new product offerings is definitely an area the company is looking into as it strongly believes this would likely be the key driver of sales. Takaful Malaysia's growth areas are still within the fire and engineering segments.
The Insurance Commission (IC) is looking at the feasibility of establishing an Islamic insurance system, particularly the possibility of offering takaful insurance in the country to help Filipino Muslims. Taking notice of the disasters and destructions that happened in the southern part of the country, Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc said the IC is looking for ways to help the Muslims in Mindanao. Plans include the setup of an investment advisory council for preneed life and non-life that will look into viable investment activities, and the mandatory earthquake insurance for residential units and small and medium enterprises. However, the IC sees the need for Islamic finance regulations to be able to offer takaful products.