Atlas Magazine June 2005

A new reinsurance company: What for?

Being a real sea snake within the profession, the question of creating a new reinsurance firm in African and Middle Eastern countries keeps resurfacing on a regular basis without a shadow of an answer.

Regional reinsurance companies are already operational. Some of them having been set up thanks to public funds. It is the case, in particular, of Africa Re and ARIG that are gradually picking up on their respective markets.

Funds are indeed available namely in the Middle East, yet the achievement of such a project is not just confined to the mobilization of capital, however high it may be. The existing of mega oil and gas risks does not make a Middle East reinsurance company any more viable.

It is, in fact, the market structure itself with the unbalance between jumbo risks (energy) and individual risks, between property insurance and personal lines insurance, between motor insurance and property that stands as a sizable obstacle for the emergence of a large regional reinsurer.

A new mega reinsurance structure would not resolve the problems to which regional countries are confronted. Their needs in capacity could partially be solved, if some regional reinsurers adopted a new development strategy. This requires conformity to the regulations of the profession and market.

Nothing obviously can prevent the creation of a new Middle East reinsurance giant provided that it is not restricted to the regional market, but that's quite another matter.

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