18 March 2013Analysis

Barometer: MENA prospects strong despite Arab Spring

In its first annual insurance barometer of the MENA region, the Qatar Financial Centre found that senior regional executives were bullish about regional prospects.

68 percent of respondents said they expected insurance premiums in the region to outstrip GDP growth, despite geopolitical tensions. Regional GDP growth was 4.2 percent between 2007 and 2011—above the global average of 3.3 percent—with strong oil prices and a growing middle class likely to buoy MENA economies going forward.

In 2011 the MENA insurance market reached $42 billion in premiums written, up from $26 billion in 2007. The report found that non-life markets are growing by 7.5 percent per annum, while life markets are achieving an annual growth rate of 10.1 percent.  Despite this growth however, insurance penetration accounts for only 1.3 percent of GDP—well below the global average. There is evidently room for significant regional growth.

50 percent of respondents believe that foreign players will develop their market share in the coming two years, although regional regulation remains a concern for many, the barometer found.