(MENAFN Press) Manama: Kingdom of Bahrain: 6th February 2012: Leading players, industry thought leaders and key regulators in the regional insurance industry will take part in the 8th Annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2012), which is set to commence on the 7th of February 2012 at the Gulf Convention Centre - Gulf Hotel in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Convened under the official patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain, the two day event is set to gather more than 450 international delegates representing over 150 leading organizations.
Speaking to the media ahead of the event, David McLean, Chief Executive of the Middle East Insurance Forum said that "the Middle East insurance industry is still relatively young compared to other more developed markets in the world. Despite enjoying double-digit growth rates in gross premiums, the penetration rate across the Middle East remains considerably below the global average. Low penetration rates, huge government spending on developmental projects, and a relatively young demographic profile make the Middle East one of the most dynamic and attractive insurance markets in the world."
"However it is essential that the current growth momentum in the industry is continued in the long term and this requires leading players in the industry to concentrate on profitability, scale and building a strong core business mix to ensure long term sustainability", he added.
A similar view was expressed by Ayman Adel El Hout, Group Vice President “ Operations at the Mediterranean & Gulf Cooperative Insurance & Reinsurance Company (S.J.S.C) MEDGULF who said that "market trends and dynamics in the Middle East insurance industry clearly highlight the growth potential for both international and local market participants alike. Strong macro-economic performance in the region and the opportunities that will flow out of the huge infrastructure spending plans are building the foundation for an exciting growth curve for the regional insurance sector. In order to optimize the potential benefits generated by the growth forecasts, the regional insurance industry must rapidly evolve in sophistication, size and competitiveness."
Held under the theme "Transforming the Regional Insurance Market: Building Scale, Boosting Competitiveness and Seizing Growth Opportunities", the 8th Annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2012) will focus discussions on identifying new trends in the global insurance industry and rethinking growth strategies to capture the huge growth opportunities that exist in the Middle East insurance markets.
The event will be officially inaugurated on the 7th of February with a special opening keynote address by Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, Executive Director “ Financial Institutions Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain. Focusing on regulatory perspectives the session will feature critical discussions that will seek to build a platform to ensure a stable and thriving regional insurance market.
Commenting on the Central Bank of Bahrain's support for the event, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker said that "as a regulator of one of the key markets in the Middle East, the Central Bank of Bahrain is keen to see the regional insurance industry further grow and prosper to the next level of market development. The advancement of the insurance industry in Bahrain is a key component of the Kingdom's comprehensive strategy to develop a competitive, dynamic and diversified economy. The Central Bank of Bahrain has been successfully providing a strong framework for the insurance industry to operate and we will continue to consult with the industry to ensure that we are responsive to the needs of the industry. Events like the Middle East Insurance Forum play a critical role in facilitating such dialogues."
The 8th Annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2012) will also feature a significant session that will seek to identify the new trends in the global insurance industry and opportunities in the Middle East insurance markets. The session led by Jerome Droesch, CEO “ Gulf & Middle East, AXA Insurance Gulf and Shaun Crawford, Global Insurance Leader, Ernst and Young will assess the key trends in the international insurance industry and their relevance for the Middle East.
A key highlight of this year's MEIF will be the industry leaders' power debate session which will seek to build a new sustainable profitable growth path for the regional insurance industry. The session featuring Maroun Mourad, Chief Executive Officer, Zurich Insurance Company; Yassir Albaharna, Chief Executive Officer, Arab Insurance Group (Arig); Ayman Adel El Hout, Group Vice President - Operations, The Mediterranean & Gulf Cooperative Insurance & Reinsurance Company (S.J.S.C) MEDGULF; Jamil R. Bahou, Group Managing Director, Crescent Global Group; Mario Valdes, General Manager, MetLife Alico Gulf and Ayman AL-Ajmi, Regional Head “ Takaful and Managing Director, New Hampshire Insurance Company and Chartis Takaful Enaya, will assess the current state and future prospects of the Middle East insurance industry and rethink growth strategies in the context of a more austere global economic environment.
Confirming his participation at the event, Mario Valdes, General Manager of MetLife Alico Gulf said that "despite the prevailing global financial challenges, the insurance industry in the Middle East in general and particularly in the Gulf countries managed to sustain a steady growth over the years. Looking ahead, favourable macro-economic indicators and the low levels of insurance penetration that characterize the markets of the region allow us to predict that there will be significant opportunities for substantial growth in the years to come.
MetLife Alico, is committed to this region and will continue leveraging its 140 years' heritage, thought leadership capabilities and global footprint to actively continue contributing in paving the growth path of the insurance industry here. We are delighted to be part of this renowned insurance forum , once again, and look forward to networking with industry leaders, regulatory bodies, brokers and finance organizations to discuss the trends, opportunities and the challenges in this region."
The 8th Annual Middle East Insurance Forum (MEIF 2012) will gather more than 450 international industry leaders on the 7th and 8th of February in Bahrain.