What do you think will be the most impactful trend or challenge for the non-life insurance industry in MENA or GCC in 2023?
A solid regional footprint is essential for customers and a strong growth enabler
The GCC region’s insurance market has always been a captivating one. Analysis from S&P Global shows that gross written premiums in most GCC countries picked up in 2021 and into the early part of 2022. It also reports that profitable earnings and robust capital buffers have contributed to insurers’ credit profiles this year. However, the profound challenges that lie ahead present insurers with significant barriers to growth that are likely to intensify competition, squeeze margins and result in further consolidation. Yet, within this context lie opportunities.
Claims across a number of insurance lines, most notably health and commercial risk, have seen a significant increase as a result of the expanding and ever-evolving population in the GCC region. Market analysis carried out in October 2022 shows that the GCC health insurance market, which reached $15.3 billion in 2021, is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 6.4%, reaching $23.6 billion in 2027. There are also growing opportunities in commercial risk thanks to the region’s post-COVID economic recovery. Publicly funded infrastructure projects, private sector property, engineering works, introduction of new SME’s continue at pace, creating widespread opportunity for insurable risk. As a result, we can confidently say that there is a real potential for growth in the region’s insurance industry and this is clearly visible in the expansion plans being implemented in some GCC countries.
These indicators bode well for the region’s insurance sector, which is moving through a period of profound structural change. Fierce competition on price, digitization and growing regulatory oversight are just some of the dynamics that are reshaping the sector. One of the most notable outcomes is consolidation.
Over the past year, several global names have been consolidated and integrated into established regional players with deep roots and a profound understanding of the markets they operate in. Multi-line insurers with a footprint in multiple geographies across the GCC region have done particularly well, using consolidation as an opportunity to further cement their dominance through book acquisition and greater market share.
GIG Gulf is one such example. It has a powerful presence in five of the region’s largest markets – a strong GCC footprint and a deep understanding of the nuances of the countries it operates in. The regional spread also equips the company with a GCC-wide perspective on trends, challenges, and opportunities.
With the evolution of the digital economy come new opportunities for insurers to develop new policies to tackle changing and future risks. New products that can cover these risks, such as cybersecurity, climate change, green energy, and innovative currencies linked to blockchain technology, are all potential areas for product development. Reflecting the importance of digital solutions, GIG Gulf launched its real-time end-to-end motor claims platform in 2022. EasyClaims is the first such service to be made available across four major GCC markets – the UAE, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain. The platform is a pure-digital journey that allows customers to track every stage of the motor claims process in real-time using geolocation technologies and integrated service provider platforms. It is only because GIG Gulf has such a deep-rooted presence in those five countries that it has been able to roll out such a transformative product so far and wide.
Not only do these solutions deliver the kind of service that customers expect, but they provide insurance underwriters with the opportunity to utilize big data, analytics, and artificial intelligence. For the insurer with a deep regional presence, this gives access to a GCC-wide pool of data that can be used to create highly personalized, relevant products and services for every customer.
It is the delivery of personalized products and a customer-centric approach that will define how the insurance industry evolves in the GCC next year. Moreover, as one of the largest multi-line insurance providers in the region, GIG Gulf is in pole position to overcome barriers to growth, tackle the challenges head-on and take advantage of the many emerging opportunities we all face.
Copyright: This article was featured in Middle East Insurance Review, December 2022.