14 June 2021Feasibility studies analysis

New captive regimes leading to increased interest in GCC captives: AM Best

An AM Best market segment report on captives in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

The GCC region has lagged behind many other areas in the formation of captive insurance companies in recent years, AM Best noted. However, the hardening of commercial rates is increasing interest in these structures, especially as regulatory developments have made it easier to form captives in the region, it said.

Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Bahrain are among the GCC jurisdictions that have created dedicated captive-specific legislation, largely modelled on historically successful captive jurisdictions such as Bermuda and Guernsey. The Dubai Financial Services Authority has also issued a consultation paper including a proposal for a dedicated captive insurance regime, AM Best noted.

While countries including Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait still do not offer dedicated captive regimes, a number of large companies from those countries, including Saudi Aramco, Kuwait Petroleum and SABIC, have captives outside the GCC.

“With the anticipated crop of new captives in the GCC, AM Best believes that an attractive licensing and supervision regime will play an important role in determining which financial centres attract the most business,” it said.

The rating agency pointed to an uptick in feasibility studies in the GCC, with interest coming not only from traditional users of captives, such as energy and heavy industry sectors. A range of different businesses are looking at self insurance options, it said, noting that companies across the region are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their understanding of risk management.