The impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic has been profound and far-reaching. The world as a whole is responding to some of the biggest global, financial and economic challenges in a century. This is accelerating change in the finance industry which, in turn, is and will continue to drive significant shifts in the insurance industry.

In a recent survey by Accenture, 81% of insurers acknowledge that technology has become an inextricable part of the human experience. As we move into a post-pandemic world, like all industries, the insurance sector will need to redefine and comprehend the connection between people and technology. Since our establishment, DIFC’s laws, regulations, business environment and mission are designed to help companies grow and embrace the future. The Centre delivers an enabling ecosystem for insurance and reinsurance providers across the MEASA region. We are now home to more than 100 registered insurance, reinsurance, InsurTech pioneers and insurance-related entities serving the region, including the top six global insurance companies. In 2019, DIFC reported its highest-ever growth in the reinsurance sector with total GWP increasing to nearly $2bn, representing annual growth of 17.4%. GWP for 1Q2020 reached $472m, on par with the same period in 1Q2019, reflecting continued industry stability and resilience. This growth was characterized by DIFC’s world-class enabling and dynamic business environment, as well as reinsurance brokers prioritising the Centre over other global financial centres.

Shaping the new landscape

Now more than ever, the need for new technology and efficiency in underwriting, claims management and brokering is coming to the fore. The insurance sector perhaps is not known to have been an early adopter of technology with paper and manual intervention being key during all parts of the insurance decision-making chain. However, as we shift to shaping the future of finance through digitalisation, innovation, collaboration and talent, InsurTech will lead development in the industry. The recent emergence of InsurTech has played a major role in driving the growth of our insurance and reinsurance sector; there are now 10 DIFC-based insurance-related institutions. InsurTech is transforming the industry through digitalisation, innovation and collaboration, thereby shaping the future of finance. InsurTech at DIFC will help build strength and resilience for insurance and reinsurance to thrive in the post-pandemic world. Technology will also enable insurance companies to assess how to plan thoroughly and fairly for the inclusion of similar pandemics in its policies, providing greater peace of mind to consumers and companies.

Streamlining regulatory frameworks

Our focus on driving innovation is now amplified for the post-pandemic world. One of our aims is to streamline legislative and regulatory frameworks that will help unlock opportunities for InsurTech startups. Developing talent within the insurance and reinsurance landscape in line with international best practice is also a key goal for the Centre. A recent example of this commitment is the MoUs signed earlier this year with Lloyd’s, as well as UK-headquartered Chartered Insurance Institute. As the world continues to slowly manoeuvre its way into the post-pandemic world, the insurance industry is now focusing on the rapidly changing financial landscape and how it can adapt. As the leading financial hub in the region, we continue to embrace digitalisation, collaboration and talent to deliver large-scale changes in the sector.



Written by Arif Amiri

In his capacity as Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, Arif Amiri is responsible for setting the strategy and growth direction of the Authority. Under his leadership, DIFC has emerged as a powerful catalyst for the financial services sector, as well as the leading global financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.