Bahrain's insurance market posted its strongest ever annual growth in 2007, with gross premiums soaring 21% over 2006 levels, according to the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB).
Life insurance rocketed by nearly 67%, providing the lion’s share of the growth, with medical and motor insurance also seeing a strong increase in demand, rising 39% and 16% respectively.
The profitability of insurance funds jumped by 56%, while their total assets grew by 42%. The number of firms operating in Bahrain during 2007 was 163, of which 11 were branches of foreign firms.
Abdul Rahman Al Baker, executive director of financial institutions supervision at CBB, said: “The insurance sector in Bahrain holds tremendous promise for growth, as demonstrated by the industry’s strong performance not only during 2007 but in several recent years.”
The Economic Development Board of Bahrain (EDB) believes the region’s boom is due to renewed government investment in infrastructure and strong private sector investment in real estate and other markets.
Increasing public awareness and acceptance of insurance has also boosted demand for conventional and Islamic insurance products, it added.
“We expect the insurance sector to continue its growth momentum in the coming years as significant investments continue in infrastructure, real estate and industry, and with the introduction of compulsory health insurance for expatriates,” said Al Baker.
Nader Al Mandeel, acting director, insurance supervision directorate at the CBB, said the bank is committed to advancing the insurance sector by ensuring a transparent regulatory framework and business-friendly environment for providers.
He believes such efforts have helped attract several international insurance companies such as Hannover Re, Allianz, Axa and ACE Group to establish their Middle East hubs in Bahrain.
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