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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Insurance firms' business rises

Graham Morrall (SUPPLIED)
Shveta Pathak
Corporates are getting increasingly interested in insurance products and firms involved in offering such products are witnessing a rise in the share of business from this segment, said a leading life insurance player.

"In spite of current economic problems, premiums – particularly on the corporate segment – have not declined. In fact, in case of corporate customers, it's the opposite," Graham Morrall, Regional Head of Distribution, Middle East and Africa, Zurich International Life (ZIL) told Emirates Business.

The region, with its low insurance penetration, mainly due to cultural reasons and awareness levels, held high potential for insurance industry, he said.

"In terms of number of new companies, or companies that are not our clients, enquiries have increased by over 50 per cent from levels in December. People are increasingly realising the need for protection. We have made significant stride in corporate business in the last three years in the Middle East. There are great opportunities here."

"The requirements for Takaful (Islamic insurance) are there and cater to the segment. We announced in November last year that we would get involved in Takaful market," he said.

He said insurance had become a major focus in the present economic scenario. "Protection has become a key focus for people. The economic crisis has hanged the outlook, people want to save more; they want to be protected."

Unlike many other businesses, particularly the financial sector, that were going through a tough phase, insurance renewals had not been affected, added Morrall.

He said the present economic crisis had led companies to focus on their core businesses.

ZIL, said Morrall, was making efforts to reach the untapped market by widening its network, strengthening the competence of its distributors.

--Business 24-7

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