Atlas Magazine May 2012

The moment of truth

After a long period of gestation consecutive to national independence and a laborious start, the insurance of African countries and that of the MENA region reached their moment of truth.

The adverse fallout of the crisis, currently impacting advanced economies, has been compounded by a social and political crisis which is accompanied sometimes by a radical review of the system in place.

Some countries of the MENA region are coming back to an economic nationalism while others such as Qatar and United Arab Emirates are accelerating their development model to mainstream the dominant scheme.
In this transitional period, insurers are required to make coherent choices in order to come up with appropriate answers to the challenges they are faced with.

Regardless of the choices made by some countries or others, everyone will have to face some realities.

The first one pertains to the mode of corporate governance. The time when chairmen and general managers used to enjoy absolute powers is drawing to a close. Modern corporate, in need for clarity, is getting modernized.

The second reality is about organization. An insurance company, where tasks are duly defined, operates by means of procedures and information technologies.

The third reality deals with technical management. Operating costs and burden of losses have to be contained within standard norms.

The fourth reality relates to human resources. Insurance is mastered in training schools and institutes. Not only do corporate employees need theoretical knowledge, but they also have to acquire a know-how provided by experienced executive staff.

Should these realities be ignored, the insurance sector will only be delaying the long awaited evolution.

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