The General Arab Insurance Federation (GAIF)

On the next meeting of its general assembly due from September 1 to 4, 2014 at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, where it was set up in 1964, the General Arab Insurance Federation (GAIF) will be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary.

Photo credit: GAIF Atlas Magazine is glad to seize this opportunity in order to shed light on this organization, its members, its accomplishments and its aspirations.
The establishment of GAIF came in response to the demand of Arab insurers who had for a long time asked their governments for an organization that is able to gather the skills with a view to foster the development and the cooperation between member

Organizational chart

GAIF is set up around five entities whose tasks are distinct but complementary.

The General conference

At the top of the pyramid lies the General conference that gathers all members of the federation. Entrusted with the general policy and the organization of the operating regulations, the General Conference meets once every two years. It is endowed with all powers to fulfill the Federation’ objectives.

The Federation Council (the board)

Right beneath the General Conference comes the Federation Council. Made up of a representative of the insurance market for each member country, it meets annually. The Council is entrusted with the task of implementing the decisions of the General conference with the possibility of making suggestions to the latter regarding long-term plans and annual work programs. It also supervises the activities of the General secretariat.

The Executive committee

The Executive committee is GAIF’s third notable entity. It is composed of a representative of the host country holding the next General Assembly, a representative of the country that houses GAIF’s headquarters, two elected members and a General secretary. The Executive committee meets once every six months. It is in charge, among other duties, with the management of the organization’s members (affiliation applications, annual contribution fees, etc.), budget review, the regulations and the supervision of technical committees.

The General secretariat

The General secretariat, the driving force of the organization, is also its executive body. It is in charge of implementing the resolutions and decisions taken by the General assembly and the committee. It is also entrusted with the federation’s financial matters. The General secretariat is composed of a secretary general, a deputy secretary general and staff. Abdul Khaliq R. Khalil has been GAIF’s general secretary since 1999.

Technical committees

At the bottom of the pyramid lie the technical committees that are entrusted with the task of submitting proposals to the Executive committee for the improvement of some sectors or classes of business under its management.
Main technical committees

  • Marine and aviation insurance committee,
  • non marine insurance committee,
  • life & takaful committee of insurance,
  • motor insurance and Arab unified bureaux committee,
  • health insurance committee,
  • Arab reinsurance committee,
  • Arab insurance controllers committee,
  • Arab insurance brokers league,
  • Arab insurance laws league,
  • Islamic insurance and reinsurance companies committee.

Goals and means

Since its inception, GAIF has been dedicated to strengthening relations between the Arab insurance markets and their affiliated organizations. It is entrusted with the protection of the interests of its members within other professional bodies and entities.

Its objective remains unchanged while its primary mission is to promote economic integration among Arab markets by developing the insurance industry and strengthening relations with other international organizations. To do so, it has established pools, training centers along with specialized technical committees.

Membership organization

Overall GAIF members had increased from 190 in 1998 to 323 at the end of 2013.
Any insurance company can join the GAIF provided that two prerequisites are fulfilled. Candidates for membership must have:

  • capital held at 51% minimum by Arab interests,
  • a board of directors composed mostly by Arab citizens, or citizens having the nationality of an Arab country .

Once these conditions are met, the doors of the federation are open to any insurance and reinsurance company or association (public, private or semi-public) registered in an Arab country. Can also join the GAIF, insurance and reinsurance companies registered in a foreign country and practicing their activity in an Arab country whose laws do not authorize registration of insurance and reinsurance companies.

This last provision is mainly designed for companies previously registered in Bahrain or any other Arab country and operating in Saudi Arabia. This provision is now nil and void since the insurance business was officially registered in Saudi Arabia.

Regulators and national federations are also entitled to GAIF membership.

Even when the conditions for admission are not fully met, GAIF remains flexible enough to let in any player willing to participate in the development of the insurance business in Arab countries.

In this context, three membership levels have been defined:

  • Ordinary members: the companies that fulfill all membership criteria. Ordinary members are entitled to vote in the General Assembly and have a representative elected to the Council.
  • Associate members: the organizations and associations that do not meet all the conditions of membership. They only have the right to express their opinion in general meetings.
  • Observer members: they are Arab insurance and reinsurance companies that failed to meet membership criteria. They are entitled to attend general meetings and express their opinion there.

By the end of 2013, GAIF had 323 members, 281 of whom are ordinary members, 38 associate members, and 4 observers.

Aspirations and achievements

In 50 years of existence, GAIF has actively contributed to the development of insurance, bringing about closer ties between different regional markets.

Some of its major accomplishments include:

  • the establishment between 1975 and 1977 of the International motor insurance card within Arab countries: orange card,
  • increasing the market’s retention level,
  • the establishment of insurance and reinsurance pools among member companies: the Arab reinsurance pool, the fire pool, the aviation pool, etc,
  • the establishment of a reinsurance company: Arab Re, headquartered in Beirut,
  • the publication of a quarterly magazine covering all insurance-related topics;
  • publishing books dealing with insurance-related topics,
  • the establishment of the Arab Insurance Institute.

Since May 2013, GAIF has been working on the establishment of a rating agency, a project that reflects the commitment of the federation to distance itself from international rating agencies that do not take into account the realities of member countries.

GAIF ‘s member States
CountryOrdinary membersAssociate membersObserver members Total
449- 53
United Arab Emirates
3352 40
2441 29
Saudi Arabia
201- 21
19-- 19
152- 17
143- 17
143- 17
132- 15
141- 15
121- 13
112- 13
111- 12
101- 11
9-- 9
81- 9
421 7
4-- 4
1-- 1
1-- 1
281 38 4 323
Source: General Arab Insurance Federation
General conferences from 2012 to 1990
General ConferenceCountryCity/LocationYear
28thJordanDead Sea2010
23rdUnited Arab EmiratesAbu Dhabi2000
Structure of GAIF council for the 2012-2014 period
CountryNameMember company
Annas Houir AlamiySociété Centrale de Réassurance
Othman Moh’d BdeirJordan Insurance Federation (JIF)
Younis Gamal Al SayedBahrain Insurance Association(BIA)
Saleh Bin Rashid Al DhahiryEmirates Insurance Association
Lassad ZarroukSociété Tunisianne d’Assurances et de Réassurances (STAR)
Abdelkrim DjafriCompagnie Algerianne des Assurances (CAAT)
Saudi Arabia
Tal Hisham El NazerBupa Arabia Insurance
Muawia Mirghani AbbasherMiddle East Insurance Company
Bassam RashidSyrian Insurance Company
Sadiq Fadel Al-KhafajiNational Insurance Company
Taher Talib Al HerakiDhofar Insurance Company
Abdal-Aziz Wael ZourobPalestinian Insurance Federation
Sheikh Abdulla Mohd
Jabor Al Thani
Al Khaleej Takaful Insurance & Reinsurance Company
Tareq Abdul Wahab Al-SahhafGulf Insurance Company
Assaad MirzaAssociation des Compagnies d’assurances au Lebanon
Kalifa Abou Elkasem SharihaTrust Insurance Company
Alaa El ZoheiryArab Misr Insurance Group
Ahmed Bin Seedi BabNationale d’Assurance et de Réassurance
Mujib RadmanYemeni Qatari Insurance Company
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