Atlas Magazine December 2015

Africa, Middle East: great moves in the reinsurance business

While in mature countries, the hierarchy of reinsurance has been established for a long time, the other markets elsewhere are still undergoing a full overhaul of their hierarchy.

In the Middle East, the arrival during the last decade of retakaful reinsurers and players often overfunded, has profoundly upset the situation. Historical companies such as Iraq Re or Egypt Re have vanished while other companies like Kuwait Re and Arab Re are standing back. Even Arig, set up in 1981 with a view of taking the lead of the region, is left behind. The new drivers of the local market are now called Trust Re and Qatar Re.

In Africa, the situation is however simpler, with Africa Re standing as the undisputed leader of the market. It is the only company among the continent’s major reinsurers to be in possession of a diversified portfolio that covers the overall countries of the region. Based in South Africa or in the Maghreb, the other major African reinsurers grant priority to their local market where most of their turnover is being made.

In fact, the buoyancy of the markets in Africa and the Middle East is nowhere near settling down. Major moves, currently at play, will necessarily result in a wave of consolidation. In order to perform their task well, the regional reinsurers are required to attain a critical mass in terms of turnover, but most importantly in terms of shareholder’s equity.
Moreover, the sustainability of the reinsurance activity also requires a technical expertise, a knowledge of the markets and a good risk management strategy. Let us hope that this evolution will materialize through the creation of more solid and stable companies.

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