Jordan & Lebanon Insurance Report 2014 - New Market Study Published

Fast Market Research recommends "Jordan & Lebanon Insurance Report 2014" from Business Monitor International, now available

[UKPRwire, Fri Dec 20 2013] At first glance, it is obvious that many of the weaknesses that are common to (almost) all the national insurance markets of the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region feature in Lebanon and Jordan. However, both markets are patently open to competition from foreign insurers. In both cases, local companies are resilient. It is easy to find examples of innovation.

As of early 2014, it remains obvious that many of the weaknesses that are common to (almost) all the national insurance markets of the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region feature in Lebanon and Jordan. Neither is a particularly large market in absolute terms - nor will either ever be so. In both countries, there are literally dozens of undersized insurers, focusing mainly non non-life lines. They are lacking economies of scale, access to capital and ability to write risks without buying a lot of reinsurance. Life insurance is under-developed. Insurance laws may have become outdated.

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Nevertheless, there are obvious strengths, which are not necessarily shared by the other MENA markets. First, foreign capital and know-how is thick on the ground in both Lebanon and Jordan. In no particular order, Allianz, AXA, AIG, Sogecap, Munich Re and Zurich each have a presence or an affiliate in at least one of the two markets. MetLife Alico is the dominant player in life insurance in Jordan and may well be so in Lebanon as well. Several of the key regional insurers - such as MedGulf, Libano-Suisse and Arabia Insurance - are based in Lebanon even if they are mostly underwriting risks in other countries in the region.

Interestingly, the largest insurer in Jordan - Arab Orient - is an affiliate of Kuwait's Gulf Insurance. More crucially, the active trade associations - ACAL in Lebanon and JOIF in Jordan - are working with the regulators to resolve the easily identifiable problems. In both countries, the insurance laws are being modernised. ACAL is advocating changes that will compel insurance companies to become members - and is promoting training and professional development of brokers. ACAL's members are also collaborating through the Motor Risk Centre to improve information on motor risks and to combat fraud more effectively.

The regulator in Jordan is looking to introduce a number of compulsory lines - which will provide new opportunities for insurers. In both cases, the regulators have indicated that, in principle, they would be supportive of industry consolidation.

Collectively, these initiatives suggest to us that the insurers, the trade associations and the regulators are ahead of most of their counterparts in other MENA countries. In the meantime, medical insurance and life insurance are growing steadily in Lebanon, while Takaful is flourishing in Jordan.

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