Takaful / Insurance

An all-inclusive Takaful plan

The government is making it easier for the public to save for their higher education through its National Education Savings Scheme SSPN-i Plus. The SSPN-i Plus, which was introduced by the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) in June, doubles as an education fund besides providing affordable Takaful (Islamic insurance) coverage to the depositor. The product, a result of the strategic collaboration between PTPTN and Hong Leong MSIG Takaful (HLM Takaful), aims to instil in Malaysians the savings culture. The government has also provided a variety of exemptions for taxpayers to reduce their tax burden, with 21 tax exemptions given to taxpayers for the 2015 assessment year.

London has potential to take leading position in Islamic insurance sector

Speaking at a conference about UK’s general insurance in London, Max Taylor, chairman of the Islamic Insurance Association of London, said that the success of the takaful model relied on the participation of policy holders as the actions of one have an affect on all policy holders. There have been many attempts to establish takaful insurance operations in the UK in the past, but he said projects failed because of issues with capitalisation, underwriting approaches, and investment strategies under Shariah principles. He added that, internationally, takaful models had been successful in personal lines, but the vast majority of operators of such models were “small” and “risk averse”.

MAA submits application to BNM to sell takaful operation

MAA Group Bhd, Solidarity Group Holdings BSC and Zurich Insurance Co Ltd (Zurich) has jointly submitted an application to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), for the sale of MAA Takaful Bhd stakes. In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, MAA Group said the application was for the Minister of Finance's approval, pursuant to the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013. The group did not reveal any detail of the divestment. MAA Takaful is a joint venture between MAA Group and Solidarity Company BSC (C) of Bahrain, of which MAA controlled a 75% equity stake, while the remaining 25% is controlled by Solidarity Group. BNM had on June 15 said it granted its greenlight for MAA Group to commence negotiations with Zurich for disposal of its 75% stake in its takaful insurance arm.

Innovation a vital growth driver for Islamic finance industry

Product innovation has become imperative for the Islamic finance industry. This is going to be one of the key growth drivers for the industry in the coming years as demand for new products across segments such as Islamic banking, Takaful, sukuk and funds rises thanks to increased understanding and acceptance of Sharia-compliant products.
Islamic banking
Islamic banks are struggling with lower profitability compared to the conventional banks. The estimated 19 % lower profitability of Islamic banks compared to the conventional banks can be primarily attributed to higher expenses and lower average product holding (APH) per customer. Islamic banks have an APH of 2.1 compared to the APH of 4.9 for the conventional banks. Higher profitability can be aimed and achieved by Islamic banks by developing new products, which would provide cross-selling opportunities and higher APH. Islamic banks can also benefit from shedding their existing obsolete systems and embracing technological innovation to bring down costs.
Sukuk

Islamic insurance products come to market

The US and Canada are expected to follow London's lead with the development of Islamic insurance products. Not just because of the burgeoning market for Shariah-compliant financial products worldwide but also because of increasing demand for old-fashioned transparency.

So says James Bagshawe, a member of the executive committee of the recently established Islamic Insurance Association of London (IIAL) and COO of UK-based Cobalt Underwriting.

Earlier this month, the London Market pointed to the growth of commercial Shariah-compliant products as an important example of the innovation required by London to maintain its position as a global insurance hub. At the inaugural conference of the IIAL in Dubai, chief executive of the International Underwriting Association (IUA), Dave Matcham, said that Islamic financial activity in London is developing a growing maturity and said the IUA and IIAL are cooperating to support the trade in Islamic insurance, promoting standards and transparency.

Cooperation vital to grow Islamic insurance sector

The Chairman of the Islamic Insurance Association of London (IIAL) has told delegates at its inaugural conference that cooperation will be vital if growth in the Islamic insurance sector is to be achieved.
Max Taylor said the London market was ready willing and able to work with local markets to drive the expertise and growth in Islamic commercial insurance products to meet the growing demand from the business community.
“We have long believed that to enhance the market and deliver change in the Islamic insurance sector there is a real need for greater expertise and knowledge and this is where the London market can play a leading role,” Taylor said.
“The UK government has been quite clear that it wants to create a global centre of excellence for Islamic financial services in London.”
However, while both the London market and the Islamic underwriting community had the same aims of driving growth and professionalism in the sector it could not be achieved in isolation.

Takaful grows faster than conventional insurance

Malaysia’s takaful industry grew at a faster rate than conventional insurance, recording a compound annual growth rate of 12.4% in the last five years and outperforming the conventional insurance’s CAGR of 7.8%. Malaysian Takaful Association chairman Ahmad Rizlan Azman said takaful contributions last year were RM6.3 billion, accounting for a 13% share of the total insurance market.
“With Malaysia’s low insurance penetration rate of 5.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014 and its young demographics, significant market growth opportunities are yet to be tapped by its insurance and takaful sector,” Ahmad Rizlan said at the launch of the Malaysian Takaful Dynamics report on the sidelines of the 11th World Islamic Economic Forum yesterday.
The jointly developed report by the Malaysian Takaful Association and Ernst & Young (EY) Malaysia is the country’s first central compendium on Islamic insurance.
Ahmad Rizlan said the low penetration rate of takaful in the country is due to a lack of awareness about takaful-related products as well as the issue of affordability, especially among low-income groups.

Cobalt targets Sharia-compliant demand

The Islamic countries of South-East Asia represent a rich potential area of growth for insurers, especially those able to offer Sharia-compliant products, Richard Bishop, chief executive officer of Cobalt Underwriting, told SIRC Today. Bishop said that counties such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan offered a plentiful source of potential business for insurers, especially those familiar with and able to offer Sharia-compliant insurance.
Cobalt Insurance Holdings and its two specialist operations, Cobalt Underwriting Services and Cobalt Advisory Services, were formed in 2012 with the objective of establishing London as a leading global centre for Sharia-compliant insurance capacity.
“When we started we principally focused our efforts on the Middle East as a market,” Bishop said. “We do business in the UK, or inward investment into the UK via Islamic investors, but we wanted to make our product available in the Islamic markets, and the closest Islamic market to the UK is the Middle East. It’s worked quite well for us as a starter market.”

HBMSU’s Dubai Center for Islamic Banking and Finance launches Takaful report

The Dubai Center for Islamic Banking and Finance (DCIBF) released an extensive report entitled ‘Takaful: Global Challenges to Growth Performance and Governance’ during the 2015 Global Islamic Economic Summit in Dubai. There are still critical gaps that need to be addressed by industry practitioners and experts in cooperation with government. The report reveals that the GCC region currently dominates the Takaful business, with Southeast Asia and Africa as the next biggest markets. The report notes that the future rate of growth of Takaful sales is being inhibited by the relative under-development of insurance distribution channels in several emerging markets into which Takaful is being launched.

PQGTL and NBFI sign MoU to promote Islamic finance system

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Mian Muhammad Adrees appreciated the joint collaboration between Pak-Qatar General Takaful Limited (PQGTL) and non-bank financial institutions (NBFI) & Modaraba Association of Pakistan (MAP) while speaking at the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony. He said that it is a milestone of collaboration for promotion of the Islamic financial system. The ceremony was jointly arranged by NBFI&MAP and PQGTL for providing takaful coverage to the members of the association on the basis of Islamic modes.

S&P lowers ratings on UAE's Takaful Re

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said that it lowered its long-term counterparty credit and insurer financial strength ratings on United Arab Emirates-based Takaful Re Ltd. (TRL) to 'BBB-' from 'BBB'. the ratings agency subsequently withdrew the ratings on TRL at its request. At the time of the withdrawal, the outlook was stable. The downgrade reflects the deterioration of TRL's business risk profile, mostly due to challenges within the Islamic insurance sector that have been exacerbated by the company's lack of scale, S&P said. The stable outlook at the time of withdrawal reflected S&P's view that TRL's risk-based capital would remain at extremely strong levels. This is supported by TRL's excess level of capital relative to its low level of premium income.

Wethaq Egypt to launch property fund next November

Egypt's Wethaq Takaful Insurance is to launch its first real estate fund during upcoming general assembly scheduled for next November, head of financial and administration affairs Abdel El Aziz Labib said. Wethaq will present 50 million Egyptian pounds (US$6.4 million) as an initial capital for the new fund. The Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) has granted initial approval for the fund. Wethaq intends to raise the capital of its fund to 250 million pounds within few years after inception, a step toward a plan to launch another fund. Furthermore, Labib said Wethaq's talks with the Egyptian regulator had also included a proposal to establish a new subsidiary to manage the new fund. The new subsidiary shall be 20% owned by Wethaq Egypt, he added.

Allianz Life still keen on takaful business

Allianz Life Insurance Malaysia Bhd, which is aiming to have 10,000 agents by year-end from 8,300 now - remains interested in the takaful business although it is not in talks with any potential acquisition target now. Allianz Life CEO Rangam Bir said it sees that a large part of the market has the need for takaful solutions. Allianz Life is a subsidiary of Allianz Malaysia Bhd, which in turn is Allianz SE’s subsidiary. Allianz SE had failed in an attempt to buy a local takaful operator in 2011. Last year, a member of the board at Allianz SE said that it is not economically viable to enter into the domestic takaful market just yet.

Adam Capital Micro Credit signs MOU with Amana Takaful Life

Adam Capital Micro Credit Ltd, a Sharia compliant company and wholly owned subsidiary of Adam Capital PLC, entered in to an agreement with Islamic Insurance provider Amana Takaful Life Limited to promote their products, playing a facilitator role on a fee sharing basis. Adam Capital Micro Credit business has grown steadily since commencing operations in July 2015, and expects to generate steady additional fee based income by this arrangement. The plan is to serve the underserved community within a radius of 15km from the office located at Grandpass Road, Colombo 14, assisting them to up lift their living standards.

Pakistan’s Islamic insurance industry landscape set for makeover

Thanks to a regulatory action last year, the landscape of the country’s Islamic insurance industry is set to change forever with the entry of conventional insurance giants in the Takaful market. Jubilee Life Insurance and EFU Life Assurance, which control over Rs115 billion in total assets between them, have just launched Takaful products. The first set of rules governing the Islamic insurance industry did not allow conventional insurance companies to enter the Takaful market unless they set up stand-alone subsidiaries with separate paid-up share capital. However, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) replaced Takaful Rules 2005 with Takaful Rules 2012 three years ago, which allowed conventional insurance companies to set up Islamic ‘windows’.

QCB extends deadline for insurance regulations

The Qatar Central bank (QCB) has extended the deadline set for the insurance, reinsurance and Takaful companies to implement its new regulations. As per original schedule, the institutions were supposed to comply to the new regulations from the end of May. After realising that the insurance companies needed more time to reposition themselves to implement the new regulations, the central bank has extended the deadline to November 30. The proposed regulations restrict the companies and insurance practitioners from getting involved in cross-border activities. Besides, the QCB regulation requires the insurance companies to simplify their procedures and finance agreements and to be transparent in relation to their pricing and features of products and services.

Business interview: Takaful industry has great potential in Oman

Datuk Dr Mohd Daud Bakar is the founder and executive chairman of Amanie Advisors. He chairs the Sharia'a Advisory Council at the Central Bank of Malaysia, the Securities Commission of Malaysia. A Sharia'a board member on various financial institutions in Malaysia and the Middle East, Dr Bakar is also deputy chairman on the board of Al Madina Takaful in Oman. Dr Bakar was recently in Muscat to attend Al Madina's Sharia'a board meeting. He spoke about the global Islamic finance industry and shared his views on the outlook for Oman's Islamic banking and takaful markets. He said that in Oman, awareness needs to be spread at all levels through all available channels.

Khaleeji Commercial Bank Signs Agreement with T'azur Islamic Insurance Company

Bahrain's Khaleeji Commercial Bank 's (KHCB) has recently signed an agreement with T'azur Islamic Insurance Company, one of Bahrain's Takaful International Islamic insurance Company providers. The agreement aims to provide Comprehensive and Third Party insurance services for vehicles, property, travel and tourism including other personal insurance products at KHCB 's branch in Budaiya. The signing ceremony was held recently at the Khaleeji Commercial Bank headquarters in the presence of KHCB Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Khalil Al Meer and T'azur Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Yahya Nooruddin, along with management officials and high-level representatives from both parties.

Abu Dhabi National Takaful Co. receives favorable financial rating

A.M. Best this week moved Abu Dhabi National Takaful Co. (ADNTC) from stable to positive with a financial strength rating of B++. ADNTC’s solid risk adjusted capitalization and track record of excellent underwriting processes are reflected in the new ratings. These positive factors were partially offset by an accumulated deficit within the policyholders’ fund and a modest, albeit growing, business profile. The revised outlook reflects ADNTC’s improved balance of earnings between policyholder and shareholder funds and enhanced enterprise risk management.

Kuwait's Wethaq Takaful divests Egyptian unit for $4.3mn

Kuwait-based Wethaq Takaful Insurance Company intends to sell its stake in the Egyptian unit, Wethaq Takaful Egypt for KWD1.3 million (US$4.3 million). The board of the Kuwaiti insurer had given Wednesday the go-ahead to sell its stake in the Egyptian unit in favour of a buyer whose name was not mentioned in the company's statement to the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange. The Shareholders' structure in Wethaq Egypt includes: Wethaq Takaful Insurance Company of Kuwait (60%), Kuwait-based Adeem Investment and Wealth Management Company (39.9%), and Kuwaiti investor Najeeb Al-Humaidhi (0.1%).

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