Outlook for Insurance Sector Growth in Region Strong, Says DIFC Governor



Deep structural changes and changing attitudes toward risk are driving long-term growth in the insurance sector within the Middle East and North Africa region, said HE Ahmed Humaid Al Tayer, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Speaking at a reception hosted by DIFC yesterday for delegates of the inaugural World Space Risk Forum, a bi-annual conference that brings together professionals in the space business, the DIFC Governor said: “The region’s huge programme of infrastructure spending on energy, water, transportation and petrochemicals is creating mega projects that require insurance and reinsurance services.”

Furthermore, the privatisation of state assets has created a vast array of previously uninsured assets that now require insurance cover. The introduction of compulsory insurance for certain non-life risks by the region’s governments and their efforts to encourage individuals to save for retirement have also given a strong boost to insurance sector growth, the DIFC Governor added.

Being held in Dubai from 1 to 3 March 2010, the World Space Risk Forum, organised in association with DIFC, brings together professionals in the space business to exchange ideas on space risk management and insurance. Over 280 delegates including CEOs and CFOs of satellite manufacturers, satellite operators and launch service providers, in addition to all the major global insurance brokers and underwriter companies are attending the event.

Speaking about the prospects for the space risk sector, HE Ahmed Humaid Al Tayer said: “Space insurance is one of the very few financial sectors that have weathered the storm of the global economic crisis and have continued to be strong and healthy. Future prospects for the space industry are strong. Demand for satellite communication capacity continues to grow as new TV, radio, Internet and mobile telephone services are launched and new earth surveys for pollution, resources and disaster monitoring are implemented.”

The space insurance sector plays a very important role in the success of space projects and in supporting innovation and new technological developments, he pointed out. “By allowing risks to be shared and managed more efficiently, insurance helps to secure the financial stability of businesses. For the same reason, the insurance sector plays a vital role in economic development. This is why, the Dubai International Financial Centre has made insurance one of our key focus sectors,” he said.

DIFC is supporting the growth of the insurance sector by serving as an attractive domicile for firms. The financial district’s offerings include a well established legal framework, onshore jurisdiction, zero tax rated platform and high quality support services that offer a secure and productive base for the establishment of insurance, reinsurance and captive insurance companies, the DIFC Governor said.

“We seek to create a vibrant community of financial service providers that can enhance synergies and knowledge exchange in the industry. We have over 850 companies, which include many of the insurance industry’s leading players like Zurich, AIG, Alliance Re, Marsh, and RFIB,” he added.
The World Space Risk Forum features a number of key note addresses from the likes of Will Whitehorn, President of Virgin Galactic; Jean-Yves Le Gall, CEO of Arianespace; David Williams, Chief Executive of Avanti Communications; Padraig McCarthy, CFO of SES Astra; Faraj Elamari, CEO of Rascom; and Dr. Ramin Khadem, Chairman of Odyssey Moon.

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