Atlas Magazine June 2024

The Paris Games up against risks

Despite rapid growth, takaful still appears as a modest player in the world of Islamic finance and insurance. While premiums reach 30 billion USD in 2022, the activity is struggling to establish itself outside the MENA zone and a handful of Asian countries with large Muslim populations.
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The first obstacle to takaful’s development is the difficulty to define it, being an alternative to traditional insurance.

A hybrid model, based on religious provisions, takaful develops notions of solidarity, mutual aid and risk-sharing specific to the mutualist sector, but operates in some respects like a limited company.

The difficulty of situating takaful in relation to traditional insurance schemes is further amplified by the lack of common international standard for this activity. Each Islamic country regulates its takaful activities according to its own religious beliefs, thus influencing the relationship between managed funds and insured funds, as well as the organization and operation of companies.

From an organizational point of view, Islamic insurance is also based on seemingly complex structures, with two completely separate funds, a religious council and different management methods.

At the other end of the value chain, business supervision is hampered by the lack of specialized regulators. This shortage is due to the novelty of the concept, but can also lead to distortions in the implementation of practices.

The final obstacle to the development of takaful pertains to investments. Funds raised must be invested in assets that comply with Islamic law, which can restrict investment opportunities. The model's difficult integration into international financial and economic systems also hinders its accessibility and adoption.

Despite all these obstacles, takaful has strong growth potential. In a world in doubt, plagued by a crisis of values and populations in search of ethical solutions, Islamic insurance could reconcile religious principles with economic necessity.

Atlas Magazine N°212, June 2024

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