The year 2022 has been an exciting one for the reinsurance sector in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. We expect the steady market growth of the last 12 months in DIFC to continue through to 2023, with tailwinds that should push the sector to a better position vis-à-vis its financial services peers.

According to AM Best’s MENA Insurance Briefing report, the hardening of reinsurance markets is expected to continue due to sustained pricing momentum and better underwriting terms and conditions. The bounce back of oil price is also helpful in the economic recovery, paving the way for more activities within the region. 

We also foresee that by next year, there will be an increase in appetite for regional players to be at par with their international peers by operating within a strong regulatory environment. This will certainly be one of the insurance drivers in the region and will be underpinned by the demand for properly rated capacity.

The evolving capacity landscape and demand from growing reinsurance brokers seeking to place business in the region’s reinsurance hub could certainly help the sector in MEASA for 2023. Market players will continue to venture into new and emerging territories. Africa will play an important role in the growth of the region as it remains to be a huge, untapped market. African markets will continue to seek to work with players within a recognised reinsurance hub, such as DIFC and we are encouraged by the greater outreach done by carriers and reinsurance brokers alike. The ties continue to strengthen beyond North Africa, and we are keen to see this improve further in the coming year. We also anticipate that the Central Asian countries will further be serviced out of the MEASA region given its cultural ties, accessible working hours and strong trust in the region, especially post-Covid.

We see investment banks and M&A firms moving to the region as they witness an uptick in regional financial transactions. This further opens up opportunities to the reinsurance market. For instance, we see more interest now in transactional risk insurance (warranty and indemnity insurance) given the number of deals happening within the region. This bespoke product will certainly help M&A law firms streamline their negotiations on ground and we expect the demand to grow.    

There continue to be opportunities in cyber and liability. We predict that these lines of business will grow even further. With the continued reinforcement and introduction of these lines to the markets, we should see premium increase through additional activities and not just rate increase. 

The interest in Captives within the region is also growing. The region is now open to the risk management approaches as well as cost-effective premiums of the Captives, particularly when insurance rates are currently at an all-time high. The DFSA’s enhanced Captive regime, will continue to open new doors for new and regionally owned Captives seeking to redomicile.

Talent remains to be one of the biggest challenges of the sector across the globe. Movement of global expertise from key markets to emerging markets is happening, albeit in certain lines of business. Bringing in fresh, young talent to the pool sits at the top of the industry’s agenda. 

Innovation in the insurance industry needs to be fast-tracked as well. Risks are growing, markets are evolving, and customers’ needs are changing. Newer perils crop up faster than the ability of the industry to digitise and create new products, and this is a huge risk for the sector. 

Written by Gracita Aoa De Gracia

Sector Head – Insurance and Reinsurance at DIFC