More than 350 International Takaful Leaders Gather in Dubai for the 7th Annual World Takaful Conference (WTC 2012)



Dubai, United Arab Emirates: 16th April 2012: The 7th Annual World Takaful Conference (WTC 2012) witnessed a high profile opening today at the Dusit Thani, Dubai. Confirming its position as the world’s largest annual gathering of Islamic insurance industry leaders, WTC 2012 gathered more than 350 international decision-makers from over 150 organizations for discussions that focused on improving the competitive performance of the global Takaful industry and managing the essential shift towards sound underwriting profitability. Co-located with the 2nd Annual Middle East Islamic Finance and Investment Conference (MEIFIC 2012), the two day event was inaugurated with a special keynote address by Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, who focused on new growth horizons for the international Takaful market.

Delivering his inaugural address, Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai International Financial Centre Authority said that “as a global financial hub, it's critical that we promote Islamic finance, and continue our efforts in creating an environment which eases the development and integration of Sharia-compliant products into global financial markets. Currently, 9% of our regulated firms endorse Islamic business models. There are tremendous growth opportunities yet to be fully tapped, and such conferences raise awareness of the importance of insurance and Takaful, and are vital to growing this sector.”

The inaugural keynote address was immediately followed by a special opening keynote plenary session. The session featured insights covering the industry across the Middle East and Asia from Dr. Saleh Malaikah, Chairman, Rusd International Holding Group and Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of SALAMA Group; Hussein Al Meeza, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Islamic Insurance and Reinsurance Company (AMAN); and Hans De Cuyper, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mayban Ageas.

Addressing the gathering, Hussein Al Meeza, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Islamic Insurance and Reinsurance Company (AMAN) said that “with the Takaful segment expected to continue growing by leaps and bounds, the future of the industry looks very bright and promising. In order to ensure that the industry maintains its growth levels, it is essential to raise the level of awareness on the significant benefits of using Takaful products and services. It is also vital that collective efforts should be made to strengthen underwriting capabilities. In addition to this the industry players should also tap into newer markets and industry verticals and should also act upon the downward price pressure that is brought about by increased market competition.”

He also said that “in order to drive Takaful towards achieving its full potential, industry players should also make considerable investment into research and development as the strength of the industry lies in its ability to identify and capitalize on what makes this market segment grow. Having a better grasp of their demands and requirements will lead us in developing solutions that can be very advantageous for them.”

Speaking to the media present at the event, David McLean, Chief Executive of the World Takaful Conference said that “Takaful operators are yet to fully achieve critical business volumes despite having incurred substantial establishment costs. Increasing competition from not only new Takaful players but also well established global conventional insurers entering the Takaful market space, is putting immense pressure on the profitability of many existing players. However, with the Takaful industry being currently concentrated only in limited markets, segments and business lines, there is huge potential that is yet to be realized.”

“Given the exciting growth opportunities for the Takaful industry in two of its key markets, the Middle East and Asia, we are delighted to announce the launch of two new regionally focused Takaful events building on the success of the annual World Takaful Conference as a global summit. The World Takaful Conference: Asia Leaders Summit, which will be held in Malaysia in June this year, and the Middle East Takaful Forum, which will be held in Bahrain in October 2012, will create platforms to drill even deeper into the core issues driving the regional development of Islamic insurance in these respective high-growth markets.”

The eagerly anticipated 2012 edition of the Ernst & Young World Takaful Report was also launched at the event. The Report, developed in collaboration with Ernst & Young, was presented at a specially convened plenary session at the conference. With a principal focus on ‘Industry Growth and Preparing for Regulatory Change’, the Report findings noted that the Takaful industry continued to show double digit growth in 2011 albeit at a relatively slower rate of 19% as compared to previous years. According to the Report, Malaysia and the UAE again achieved growth rates of over 24%, whilst Saudi Arabia saw its gross contributions increase by US$0.5bn. The Report also noted that the Takaful industry has now obtained significant market share versus conventional insurance in most GCC countries as well as South East Asian markets. Though there are a number of drivers behind this growth, the one that is becoming increasingly important is regulatory support through appropriate amendments in legislature to provide a level playing field with conventional insurance companies.

The World Takaful Exhibition, which was held along the sidelines of the conference, showcased the latest products, services and innovations from over 30 exhibitors.

Commenting on their participation at the World Takaful Conference, Dr. Saleh Malaikah; Chairman, Rusd International Holding Group; Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Salama Group said that “with an expanding global footprint, the Takaful industry is well placed to further capitalize on the industry’s tremendous growth potential. However in order to ensure that we sustain the impressive growth rate, which the Takaful industry has enjoyed over the last few years, it is essential to resolve certain critical issues which may hamper the industry’s long term growth. With increasing competition from large-scale conventional players and new players entering the market, maintaining scale, operational efficiency and profitability will become increasingly key issues for all industry players. SALAMA has been a key partner of the annual World Takaful Conference since its inception. The event, over the last 7 years, has played an important role in facilitating dialogues that shaped the growth of the industry and we are once again delighted to be supporting this prestigious event to enable the world Takaful industry to achieve further success.”
A similar view was expressed by Ghassan Marrouche, Chief Executive Officer of Takaful Emarat – Insurance who said that “in the next five years, global Takaful premiums are predicted to grow rapidly with Takaful companies aggressively expanding and providing innovative and value-added products and services. The Takaful market’s growth is largely dependent on how we can make meaningful engagements with the larger community and how to educate them about Takaful as an advanced and ethical way to invest for their future.
“We are glad to support the World Takaful Conference 2012, for the second consecutive year, as their “Life & Health Takaful Partner”. Through these forums, we can continue engaging in an open dialogue on the development of the industry with well-respected colleagues. Takaful Emarat is committed to raise awareness about the importance of life and health Takaful products to the industry as a whole”, he added.
More than 350 international delegates are attending the 7th Annual World Takaful Conference, which will continue on the 17th of April at the Dusit Thani, Dubai.

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WTC 2012 On-site Press Release - Arabic

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WTC 2012 On-site Press Release - English

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