Atlas Magazine January 2015

The year 2014: upsides and downsides

The calendar year has ended with its traditional assessment and loads of good wishes. As usual, the news has rushed in from all sides combining satisfaction and fear, good and bad surprises. The accounts’ annual closure is not synonymous with truce.

Aviation insurers have gone through a terrible ordeal in 2014. The crash of the Air Asia Airbus A320 on December 28, brings to three the number of aircrafts lost in a few months by Malaysian airlines.

In Africa, 2014 has been quite mixed, with renewed interest exhibited in the continent and with successive company creations, acquisitions and mergers. A flattering GDP associated with low entry ticket and low penetration rate are attractive to foreign capital.

This somewhat idyllic picture is counter-balanced by two scourges. The first relates to the political instability that continues to disrupt some markets, the second is named Ebola.

In the Middle East, the past year has allowed Dubai to consolidate its position as the regional hub of insurance and reinsurance. It also established that United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are the driving force of development. In some countries, the task of reordering the markets has enabled the authorities to introduce numerous regulations and mainly new insurance obligations.

The last finding pertains to the emergence of the Gulf countries which has increasingly marginalized traditional markets such as Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

For 2015, the uncertainty prevailing in the markets and the risk of margin erosion have prompted the legislature to accelerate reforms and impose a coherent framework for the conduct of insurance business. It is up to the operators to comply with those measures.

Happy New Year to everyone!

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