Insurance Journal

Armour Group Invests in Cobalt, Shariah Compliant Re/Insurance Provider

London-based Cobalt Insurance Holdings Ltd. has announced a strategic investment by Armour Group Holdings Ltd., the Bermuda-based diversified insurance group. Financial considerations were not disclosed. The strategy of Armour focuses on niche operations in the re/insurance and asset management sectors. Armour’s operations include underwriting operations, re/insurance companies, asset management companies and specialist service companies. The investment coincides with additions to the board of Cobalt of former Lloyd’s Chairman Max Taylor as chairman, and Sean Dalton of Armour as a non-executive director. John Turner, chairman of Aon Risk Solutions (UK & Americas), and former Brit Insurance Group CFO Andrew Baddeley also join the board in non-executive capacities.

Sukuk Templates Could End Delays Caused by Sharia Scholar Disagreements

The International Islamic Financial Market is working on common templates for structuring sukuk to reduce delays caused by disagreements between Shariah scholars. The standards-setting body is drafting frameworks starting with leasing contracts known as Ijara. Bahrain- based IIFM is responding to feedback from members including the Islamic Development Bank and the Malaysian and Saudi Arabian monetary authorities. Having a unified set of standards would make the market more cost-effective and efficient. Moreover, the templates may also help address an international shortage of scholars. Enterprises with a global presence may be encouraged to explore sukuk issuance versus conventional if the standards are more widely accepted.

AIG Lured to Malaysia by Growing Takaful Market: Islamic Finance

American International Group Inc. is plotting its entry into Malaysia’s Islamic insurance market, lured by the country’s economic expansion and an industry that has grown more than fivefold in less than a decade. The insurer will start a Shariah-compliant reinsurance business by June and may eventually offer a fuller range of services, Antony Lee, chief executive officer at AIG’s Malaysian unit, said. In line with the continuing expansion of the takaful business, the demand for retakaful is expected to expand between 15 percent and 20 percent on an annual basis. However, a key challenge for retakaful companies is their limited ability to compete with their larger non-Islamic counterparts for business that requires a bigger balance sheet.

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