Atlas Magazine May 2016

The GAIF, between lights and shadows

Set up in 1964, the General Arab Insurance Federation “GAIF”, includes, by the end of 2013, nearly 330 companies scattered around twenty countries. It stretches out over a vast area extending from the Atlantic to the borders of Turkey and Iran.

Over fifty years following the start of its operations, the GAIF, which meets bi-annually, is struggling to implement the market integration objectives set out by its founders.

It is fair to say that the organization has, since its inception, been unwillingly treading on treacherous waters, incompatible with its members’ operations. Regional instability stands as an impediment to the construction of an integrated insurance market.

The plethora of several major risks of political, economic, financial, community and technological characters, throughout decades, has resulted in a heterogeneous sector with volatile results combining wealth and ruination.

On the rosy side, three countries emerge: Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. During the recent ten years, those markets saw their turnover respectively rise by 670%, 580% and 510%, while global premium growth did not exceed 47%. Moreover, Dubai has set up an insurance hub where numerous global large-scale players have been established. In addition to these three undeniable success stories, Morocco comes next with the launching of an upgrading program for the industry.

On the dark side, The GAIF also comprises completely sluggish markets where the insurance business has been more or less reduced to ashes. Iraq, once deemed undisputed regional leader, has been in the middle of all kinds of trouble, and so have Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Libya.

In between, a small group including Lebanon, Bahrain, Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia has withstood the turmoil with the objective of remaining connected to the global market.

Atlas Magazine N°131, May 2016

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