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Sector set to surge

MANAMA: Bahrain's insurance industry has felt the impact of regional political unrest, but measures put in place to boost the kingdom's economy should help breathe new life into the sector, says an insurance expert.

Bahrain Insurance Association (BIA) chairman and Takaful International Company chief executive Younis Al Sayed said that he expected life insurance to drive growth in the industry, although he acknowledged that the segment had suffered the knock-on effect of a drop in the number of bank loans being offered in Bahrain.

"The banks will start issuing loans again, meaning there will be a need for life insurance, since loans are linked to life insurance policies," he told the global publishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG).

"There are also plans within the industry to focus on individual life insurance. The BIA has many ongoing initiatives to raise awareness among the local population."

The interview with Al Sayed forms part of the research for The Report: Bahrain 2012, OBG's forthcoming guide on the kingdom's economic activity and investment opportunities.

The BIA will once again play a key and contributing role in the research process for the report by teaming up with OBG to produce the insurance section of the publication.

Mr Al Sayed acknowledged that consolidation could be the way forward for the sector, given that the market is suffering a shortage in some technical professions, but believes there is work to be done before industry players would consider taking this route.

OBG country director in Bahrain Anna Dabrowska welcomed the BIA on board for the report, which is expected to explore the kingdom's ongoing efforts to expand its economy by focusing on high-potential growth areas.

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