5 Interactive Distance Learning Programs on Islamic Banking and Finance

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saudi bourse weighed down by profit taking

The Tadawul All Share Index (Tasi) declined by three per cent last Saturday, dipping below 6,000 points.

The bourse was weighed down by an eight per cent decrease in the Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic) share price on profit taking after the stock hit 67 riyals, recording a 61 per cent since April 21.

Following these losses, the market bounced back again above 6,000 points, fuelled by the increase in oil prices and the positive performance of the global equity markets.

Meanwhile, bank stocks also declined due to profit taking, especially those of Samba and BJAZ, by between six and seven per cent. In addition, speculation continued on the insurance sector's shares.

The trading values of sectors were as follows: Petrochemical Industries 22 per cent; Insurance 17 per cent; Banks and Financial Services 11 per cent; Industrial Investment eight per cent; Agriculture and Food Industries eight per cent; Building and Construction eight per cent, Telecommunications and Information Technology seven per cent; Real Estate Development six per cent; Multi-Investment four per cent, Retail four per cent; Transport two per cent, Hotels and Tourism two per cent; Media and Publishing one per cent; while Cement, Energy and Utilities remained unchanged.

The top five gainers were: Al Ahli Takaful Co 27.5 per cent; Tihama Advertising and Public Relations Co 25.4 per cent; SABB Takaful Co 25.1 per cent; Saudi Transport and Investment Co 21.6 per cent; and Saudi Industrial Export Co 19.3 per cent.

The top five losers were: Allied Cooperative Insurance Group -22.5 per cent; Samba Financial Group -6.7 per cent; Bank Al Jazira -6.2 per cent; Arabia Insurance Cooperative Co -5.4 per cent; Makkah Construction and Development Co -5.1 per cent. The Tasi registered 6052.63 points on Wednesday, closing up by 0.1 per cent from last week. As of yesterday, the Tasi is 26.0 per cent higher than at the start of the year. Trading value reached 43.3 billion riyals, down against last week's 48.8 billion riyals. Sabic dominated trading value at 13 per cent, followed by Alinma at eight per cent and Zain KSA at four per cent.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Takaful provider upbeat on premium income

Takaful premium income is expected to contribute 20% to HSBC Amanah Malaysia Bhd’s revenue by 2011, according to HSBC Amanah Takaful (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Zainudin Ishak.

“At the moment our contribution to the group is insignificant,’’ he told reporters at briefing on a survey conducted by HSBC Insurance (Asia Pacific) Holdings Ltd yesterday.

HSBC Amanah Takaful was registered in August 2006 and the company had recently turned profitable, Zainudin said, adding that new regular premium income at the takaful operator had doubled to RM30mil from RM15mil recorded six months ago.

Zainudin said he expected the “momentum” to continue for the rest of the year, despite concerns that the economic slowdown would limit consumers’ demand for insurance products.

The survey by HSBC Insurance showed that two of the most specific long-term wealth aspirations for Malaysians are related to financial security in retirement and education funding for children.

One of the obstacles to achieve this, however, is the “lack of investment instruments with good returns” in the current market conditions.

Zainudin said HSBC Amanah Takaful intended to leverage on the strength of the group’s brand name, and the fact that HSBC had been in Malaysia for the past 125 years.

“HSBC is a trusted brand name in Malaysia and we have various takaful products to cater to local needs,’’ he said.

The new products were being developed for the Malaysian market through the group’s global expertise in Islamic finance, Zainudin added.

HSBC Amanah is the Islamic banking arm of HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd. It has four stand-alone branches, coupled with the parent bank’s 40 outlets across the country.

--The Star Online

Takaful IKHLAS Launches Ikhlas Hajj Saving Takaful

Takaful Ikhlas Sdn Bhd (Takaful IKHLAS) has launched its latest product, the Ikhlas Hajj Savings Takaful, in Kuching in a ceremony officiated by Chief Minister Tan Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud.

The Ikhlas Hajj Savings Takaful is a protection as well as investment savings plan designed to assist and fulfil the needs of those planning to perform the haj.

"The cost of performing the haj is increasing and those planning to visit the holy land are faced with a rise in the cost of air-fare, accommodation, transport and health services.

"The Ikhlas Hajj Savings Takaful is aptly designed to assist those planning to perform the haj through takaful protection services as well as savings investment which are more secure," said Takaful IKHLAS president and chief executive officer Datuk Syed Moheeb Syed Kamarulzaman.

The Ikhlas Hajj Savings Takaful has a forecast contribution target of RM3 million for the financial year 2009/2010. Takaful IKHLAS is confident that the product is capable of enhancing its revenue contribution in the years to come.

Among the benefits offered through the Ikhlas Hajj Savings Takaful plan are coverage for permanent and total loss of ability and long term critical diseases. Customers will also enjoy delivery, part cash withdrawal and maturity benefits.

Age limit for participating in the Ikhlas Hajj Savings Takaful is from 30 days to 60 years. Further information can be obtained from www.takaful-ikhlas.com.my.


Prudential Records 17 Percent Rise In New Business Sales

Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd (PAMB), part of UK-based Prudential Plc, has posted a 17 percent growth in new business sales in first quarter 2009 compared to the same period last year.

The company's new business annual premium equivalent (APE), which consists of retail life insurance sales and takaful contributions, rose to RM122 million from RM105 million previously, it said in a statement today.

"These results once again demonstrate the strong fundamentals and excellent momentum of Prudential's business in Malaysia," said PAMB chairman Tony Wilkey, who is also chief executive, insurance, Prudential Corporation Asia.

He said the company's aggressive recruitment drive, together with systematic implementation of sales and marketing efforts to improve agency activity, continued to have a positive impact on its performance.

"We have successfully recruited over 500 new agents in the first quarter of the year, bringing the total of our agency force to 9,766," Wilkey said.

"APE sales per active agent also increased by 10 percent," he said, adding that the positive growth was also supported by strong consumer demand for protection and health products.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Aman Insurance Wins ’Best Takaful Operator Of The Year’ At Middle East Insurance Awards Ceremony

Aman Insurance, the region’s leading insurance company, has been awarded the ‘BEST TAKAFUL OPERATOR OF THE YEAR 2009’ for the second year running by Policy Magazine at the Middle East Insurance Awards Ceremony at Raffles, Dubai.

Commenting on the award, Mr. Hussein Al Meeza, Managing Director and CEO of AMAN, said:
‘’This year’s award highlights our on going commitment to serve the local and regional insurance market and was in recognition of our continual compliance with Sharia’a law and our commitment to develop the Takaful Market. Winning the ‘BEST TAKAFUL OPERATOR OF THE YEAR 2009’ for the second year in a row was a real honour for Aman. We are extremely proud of our achievements this year and look forward to continuing to exceed the needs and expectations of our shareholders throughout the region.”

Aman Insurance was awarded Best Takaful Operator of the year based on its development strategy, product innovation, response to customer needs and quality of service. The award was received by Mr. Iqbal Mankani, Chief Operating Officer of Aman.

As a relatively young company, Aman has established itself as one of the leading local and regional Takaful Company with strategic alliances throughout the Arab World. Aman thanks its customers and partners for the confidence reposed on Aman and assures them it would continue to excel in its service to the community.

--Middle East Events

Takaful IKHLAS Announces Quiz Winners

Takaful IKHLAS President Haji Syed Moheeb Syed Kamarulzaman selecting winners for Takaful IKHLAS quiz. Pic courtesy of Takaful IKHLAS PETALING JAYA, May 13 (Bernama) -- Takaful Ikhlas Sdn Bhd (Takaful IKHLAS) has announced the winners of KUIZ IKHLAS @ MSAM 09 which commence 18 till 27 April 2009 in conjunction with the 2009 Malaysia Trust Fund Week in Johor Baharu.

Drawing for the winners was done at Takaful IKHLAS headquarters by Takaful IKHLAS President Haji Syed Moheeb Syed Kamarulzaman and Vice President Haji Wan Mohd Fadzlullah Wan Abdullah.

Syed Moheeb said, "we will continue to implement various creative and innovative activities such as this quiz for visitors of our exhibition. We see this as an alternative platform to introduce Takaful IKHLAS products and services."

According to Takaful IKHLAS, the quiz had been a hit with the visitors at every Malaysia Trust Fund Week events. Without having to make any purchase, visitors age 18 and above can enter this quiz by answering three simple questions.

Takaful IKHLAS has received more than 40,000 entries and most of the participants lived in Johor and Singapore.

The quiz prizes include Haj and Umrah packages and 20 consolation prizes of RM200 for each winner.


PruBSN: Take-up Rate For Takaful Products Still Low

The take-up rate for takaful products is still low in the country due to misperception, according to Prudential-BSN Takaful Bhd (PruBSN) chief executive officer Mohamad Salihuddin Ahmad.

To date, the take-up rate was only 7.7 percent compared to 40 percent for conventional life insurance products, he said.

This, Salihuddin said, could be due to the misperception that takaful products were only for Muslims only.

"Takaful is not a product for Muslims only and since we started business more than two years ago, we have adopted takaful for all concepts," he told reporters after launching the PruBSN Johor Baharu business centre here today.

However, PruBSN, a joint venture between Prudential Plc and Bank Simpanan Nasional, did not see the misperception as a setback but an opportunity to explore, he said.

With more than half of its 10,000 agents being non-Muslims, Salihuddin was optimistic that PruBSN could grow further and capture a bigger share of the non-Muslim market.

At present, 35 percent of its more than 216,000 policyholders are non-Muslims, he said.

"Unlike conventional insurance, takaful products are Syariah-compliant and the best way to go as they propagate transparency," he added.

PruBSN, which has received about RM300 million in regular contributions from policyholders, planned to open five more business centres nationwide this year.

Salihuddin said that between RM500,000 and RM1 million will be invested in each business centre, depending on the size and renovations to be made.

He said the company decided to open the Johor Baharu business centre as it expects an upswing in development with the Iskandar Malaysia project, and it currently has 239 agents servicing customers in the state.

Its other business centre was opened recently in Shah Alam, Selangor, while its marketing and administrative centre is located in Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur.


Takaful Ikhlas Joins PNB Programme In Kuching

In conjunction with the Joint Programme with Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) in Sarawak, Islamic based insurance and financial services provider, Takaful Ikhlas Sdn Bhd (Takaful IKHLAS) will be organising several activities from May 19-21 at the Padang Merdeka in Kuching.

In a statement Friday, Takaful IKHLAS said the company's programme in Kuching is a follow up to its participation in the investment week programme "Minggu Saham Amanah Malaysia (MSAM) 2009" which was held in Johor Baharu last month.

"Takaful IKHLAS participation in the programme will enable the company to provide more exposure to the people in Sarawak on the meaning of takaful and the role and benefits of protection savings as well as its other products," Takaful IKHLAS President and Chief Executive Officer Syed Moheeb bin Syed Kamarulzaman said.

Besides the information, the exhibition space taken up the company will also offer other activities such as Quiz, drawing contest, a zakat payment counter and workshops.

"Visitors to the Joint Programme with PNB will also have the opportunity to win various prizes through the activities," Syed Moheeb said.

Among the prizes lined up include umrah packages as well as consolation prizes comprising deposit accounts of RM200 in Tabung Haji accounts for Muslims and in Islamic savings accounts for non Muslims as well.

Other activities to be held during the event include free health check-up and a blood donation campaign.

Takaful IKHLAS, which began operations in July 2003, is the subsidiary company of MNRB Holdings Bhd, an investment holding company listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia. Its major shareholder is Permodalan Nasional Bhd.

Takaful IKHLAS has two customer service centres in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor as well as regional offices in the city, Kota Baharu, Johor Baharu, Sungai Petani, Kuching, Melaka, Kota Kinabalu, Kuantan, Ipoh and Putrajaya.


Dubai Islamic Bank expands product portfolio with Al Islami Takaful Programme

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) announced the launch of Al Islami Takaful Programme, its Sharia-compliant savings plan with Takaful benefits, designed to meet the unique needs of customers looking for Islamic financial planning solutions.

The Al Islami Takaful Programme is the latest addition to DIB’s suite of wealth management solutions, which include savings schemes, mutual funds, and other structured products. This programme combines savings and investment plans with a personal Takaful protection, creating a unique product that offers two key benefits – savings and protection – within the same plan.

The Al Islami Takaful Programme has been developed specifically for the needs of DIB customers by FWU - a global leader in Takaful expertise, with Dubai Islamic Insurance & Reinsurance Company (Aman) as the Wakeel.

Highlighting the advantages of the new product Dr. Adnan Chilwan, Chief of Retail and Business Banking, Dubai Islamic Bank, said: “The launch of the Al Islami Takaful Programme is a key milestone in the execution of our retail banking growth strategy, as it signifies the introduction of another Islamic retail product offering savings, investment and protection to the bank’s customers.This is further proof of DIB’s continued commitment to provide attractive financial planning solutions to different customer segments, in line with their needs and resources.”

The Al Islami Takaful Programme offers a range of investment options to suit different risk profiles, with flexible payment options – starting from monthly contributions to one-time lump sum contribution – and flexible maturity periods. Depending on their age, customers can choose a plan term from 7 to 30 years (for regular savings) and 3 to 30 years (for lump sum investment). The product also offers the flexibility to increase/decrease contributions and make partial withdrawals at any time during the term.

The Al Islami Takaful Programme is invested in Sharia-compliant funds that seek to generate attractive returns for participants in the programme. Returns on their contributions made into the investments will depend on the performance of the funds.

Dr. Chilwan added: “This programme gives customers the flexibility to switch between investment options at any time, make partial withdrawals and early encashments or even continue your investment plan after maturity. The annual solidarity 'Takaful' fund surpluses are distributed among all participants, proportionate to their contribution. Additionally, the programme also offers customers the opportunity to appoint up to four beneficiaries with an option to change the beneficiaries throughout the term of the investment, enabling complete peace of mind and protection to loved ones.”

Prospective customers can just walk into any DIB branch and meet a Customer Service Officer, who can provide advice on the right investment plan and structure of the Al Islami Takaful programme, to suit their individual requirements.

--Al Bawaba

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pan Asia Bank ties up with Amana Takaful Insurance for Bancatakaful

Seen here exchanging the MOU from left, Aashiq Aminuddin, Shafraz Asnavi, Reyaz Jeffrey ( CEO- Family Takaful ), Kimarli Fernando ( CEO- Pan Asia Bank), Rizan Mansoor and Kamoor Sourjah ( DGM-Business Dev.-Pan Asia Bank)

Pan Asia Bank and Amana Takaful Insurance have collaborated to offer Bancatakaful, under which, Takaful life policies will be offered to all Pan Asia Bank customers through the Pan Asia Bank branch network. Undoubtedly, this is yet another first from Amana Takaful Insurance & Pan Asia Bank, who are rapidly moving towards the pinnacle of excellence in finance sector in Sri Lanka.

What is Takaful?

Takaful is an insurance system through which the participants donate part of their contribution, which are used to pay claims for damages suffered by some of the participants while balances goes into an investment fund. Amana Takaful's role is to manage the insurance operations and invest insurance contributions in line with Islamic principles. Takaful is a novel way of insurance that is based firmly on values of taking care of each other through trust, equality and ethics. Takaful solutions are on par with conventional insurance solutions but differ fundamentally on the operations of the funds. When you obtain a Takaful Policy, part of your contributions (premiums) are pooled into a fund known as Participants Tabarru (Donation) Funds (PTF) and the balance to a Participants Investment Fund (PIF). PTF is invested in accordance with Shariah and is used to pay claims. PIF is solely for the participants' savings and investment, PIF funds are invested on principles of Al Mudarabah, which is a commercial profit sharing contract between providers of funds and the entrepreneur who actually conducts the business. After a specific period if the participant needs financial assistance he or she could withdraw a considerable percentage of the PIF. Policy holder has the privilege in cancelling the policy at any given time and is entitled to withdraw the PIF along with the profit, subject to cancellation fee. Ms. Kimarli Fernando Director/CEO of Pan Asia Bank stated ,'' Pan Asia Bank is delighted to be the first bank in Sri Lanka to collaborate with Amana Takaful to initiate a premier service to its customers in the arena of Takaful insurance, for the entire family. This partnership will open new doors, propelling the banking industry to stratospheric heights. She also added having got valuable feedback from its Muslim customers for the need for Sharia compliant products, Pan Asia Bank as a "Bank of all communities", is keen to meet the needs of its customers. Bancatakaful is such product and it will be followed other Islamic banking products which we plan to introduce in the future and will be available not only to Muslim customers but to all our valued customers. 'Commenting on this historic occasion, Mr. Reyaz Jeffrey GM/CEO of Amana Takaful Life said, 'Amana Takaful as the leader in Takaful is very happy to be associated with Pan Asia Bank on this unique tie up which will enable Amana Takaful to reach out to a wider audience and for Pan Asia Bank to offer a unique value addition to their financial products offerings'.Pan Asia Bank has 33 branches island wide and Amana Takaful Insurance has 18 branches in Sri Lanka along with a fully fledged operation in Maldives.


'Pak-Qatar' to provide Takaful to Meezan customers

Meezan Bank Ltd and Pak-Qatar Family Takaful Ltd have signed an agreement whereby all customers of Meezan Banks Housing Finance (Easy Home) will be provided with Shariah-Compliant Life Takaful Coverage. Irfan Siddiqui President and CEO Meezan Bank Ltd and P. Ahmed CEO Pak-Qatar Family Takaful Ltd. signed the Takaful (Islamic insurance) Agreement at a ceremony on Tuesday.
According to the agreement, all housing finance customers of Meezan Bank will be provided comprehensive Takaful that will cover not only life but also accidental and natural disability. Moreover, the premium for the first year will be paid by the bank which is to be adjusted later.

The insurance penetration in Pakistan is only 0.3 per cent of its total GDP, which means just 10 to 15pc families are opting out this facility, while in developing countries 60 to 70pc families go for this.

Speaking on the occasion, President and CEO Meezan Bank Ltd. Irfan Siddiqui said that Meezan Bank has always focused on coming up with Halal Riba-free products and innovative facilities for its customers and the Takaful arrangement with PQFTL is another step in the direction of making Islamic Banking the banking of first choice.

CEO Pak-Qatar Family Takaful Ltd said that they were delighted to sign the Takaful agreement with the countrys pioneering Islamic bank, which will pave the way for numerous benefits for its customers. He said that Pak-Qatar Family Takaful is always looking for ways to provide value added products to the people of Pakistan. By joining hands with Meezan Bank we would be able to reach out to many people who would otherwise not have had the benefit of a customer centric and Shariah-compliant risk mitigation tool, he added.

Ahmed said that Pak-Qatar Family Takaful has the financial strength and expertise to safeguard investments and meet the long-term investment needs of the people in Pakistan. He further said that they are rapidly expanding their distribution network in order to achieve their vision of providing financial protection to everyone through Takaful.


MAA Takaful gets syariah expert to stay ahead of competition

MAA Takaful Bhd aims to edge ahead of others in the Islamic insurance market through initiatives such as being the first local takaful player to have a syariah expert on its board.

Chief executive officer Salim Majid Zain says having an expert syariah adviser on board will help the company make informed strategic decisions and help it face growing competition in the industry.

“We are serious in ensuring that all aspects of our operations are syariah-compliant and certainly will have an edge over other players with the presence of our syariah adviser to provide us with relevant expert advice on syariah principles.

“Having an expert on the board will also enhance our expertise in Islamic finance, corporate governance as well as give more confidence to our target market customers,’’ Salim says in an interview.

As one of the latest entrants into the takaful market, the company has aggressive plans to grow its market share, he says, adding that the company is recruiting talented agents.

At present the company has about 15,000 agents, of which 30% are active.

The company has also introduced customer-centric financial planning and sales-automation software in an effort to enhance service.

Investment-linked funds is also one of the areas of focus for the group.

To this end, Salim says MAA Takaful will also be hiring a top fund manager to assist in the development and management of these funds.

Investment-linked funds will continue to be the main contributor to family takaful business, he adds.

The company’s market share in investment-linked takaful business last year for regular new business was 13% and about 10% for single contribution (premium).

It is targeting a 35% growth in regular investment-linked new business by the end of the year.

There are eight players in the takaful market currently and the granting of up to two new family takaful licences this year under the Government’s liberalisation of the financial sector is expected to further heat up competition.

Asked on how it would compete with other new players coming on board, Salim says: “The new players will certainly increase competition and this would also pave the way for greater acceptance of takaful as an alternative to insurance and traditional invesment products.

“MAA Takaful inherits the MAA brandname which has been long established in Malaysia. It is known and well represented in the multi-ethnic population which provide the cutting edge in growing our business and retaining our customers.”

MAA Takaful is a 75:25 joint venture between MAA Holdings Bhd and Bahrain’s Solidarity Company BSC.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Amana Takaful calls for EGM

Company’s NAV decreases to 43% of stated capital

By Jithendra Antonio

Amana Takaful PLC has informed its shareholders in a letter that company has called for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on May 14th 2009 since the company’s Net Asset Value (NAV) has reached half of its Stated Capital. Further in the letter signed by Director/ Chief Executive Officer Ehsan Zaheed states that the NAV has decreased to Rs.214,189,707 as at December 2008 which was recorded to be Rs.266,707,463 as at December 2007. Company’s net assets value as a percentage on stated capital stands at 43% as at December 2008 compared to 53% which was in December 2007. Amana Takaful PLC’s stated capital stands at Rs.500,000,360 at present. The EGM has been called in compliance with the Companies Act No.07 of 2007 Section 220

4Contd. on B4

where a company is required to convene an EGM to its shareholders in the event when the net assets of the company are less than half of its stated capital. Amana..

In the letter company says that the losses have risen from the operation of the insurance business which includes underwriting results and the operating and administration expenses. “Amana Takaful PLC is completing the first 10 challenging years with the establishment of the General and Life segments and 18 branches island wide and one in Maldives. The company had to invest into brand development for both General and Life Products” said the company in letter highlighting that Amana Takaful’s options are very limited with regard to investment income due to Sharia compliance compared with the conventional insurance companies which reflect better profitability. Furthermore, “54% of the cumulative loss has arisen in the year 2007 due to heavy claims incurred in that specific year among other reasons” stated the company.

Under Retained Earnings of the company’s financials, Amana Takaful’s balance stands at a loss of Rs.233,292,897 as at January 1st 2008 and company has reached a net loss of Rs.52,517,756 compared to net loss amounted to Rs.153,076,543 in the year 2007. The Company’s balance stands at a total loss of Rs.285,810,653 as at December 2008. However the letter states that immediate measures which have been initiated in 2008 had resulted in the drop in the loss by 65% from 153 million in 2007 to 52 million in 2008. And to further improve the profitability in the year 2009 and beyond, the company states that it has taken measures to brought in more focus on the market mix and strategies are formulated to have a 50% growth in the revenue. “Steps are taken to introduce more stringent credit policies to minimize credit risk and the stagnant investments into real estates will be divested within the regulations of Insurance Board of Sri Lanka (IBSL) into short term Islamic based investments to earn more profits from investments.” The Company also said that it will take steps to manage staff cost with additional measures to minimise the fixed component and link them to production (make it variable) and further to improve underwriting quality to minimise the underwriting risk according to the letter.

Beginning as a collaboration with Takaful Malaysia on 7th December 1998, Amana Takaful PLC is the first insurance company in Sri Lanka to pioneer the process of ‘Refunding Surplus’ at the end of each policy term. Refund of Surplus is the process of sharing underwriting profit among all participants (customers) who have not submitted a claim during the year and Amana Takaful PLC has paid approximately Rs.6 million as surplus refund for ‘General Insurance Participants’ in 2007. Amana Takaful is reinsured with Best Re of Labuan, Malaysia, Labuan Re of Labuan, Malaysia, MNRB of Malaysia, Asian Re of Thailand, Kuwait Re of Malaysia (Country of origin - Kuwait) and Tokio Marine Re-Takaful (Pvt) Ltd of Singapore (Country of origin- Japan) according to company profile. ‘Takaful’ is a risk management concept that is based on mutuality and partnership; simply, ‘Takaful’ means ‘Joint Guarantee’ in which several parties are involved. ‘Takaful’ is an Islamic insurance concept which is firmly grounded in Islamic financial principles, observing the rules and regulations of Islamic law. This concept has been practiced in various forms for over 1400 years in the world.

--Financial Tim

PQFTL and Meezan Bank sign agreement

Meezan Bank Ltd and Pak-Qatar Family Takaful Ltd (PQFTL) signed an agreement under which all customers of Meezan Bank’s Housing Finance (Easy Home) would be provided with Shari’ah-Compliant Life Takaful Coverage. President and chief executive officer Meezan Bank, Irfan Siddiqui and Chief executive officer Pak-Qatar Family Takaful, P Ahmed signed the agreement. According to the accord, all housing finance customers of Meezan Bank would be provided comprehensive Takaful that would cover not only life but also accidental and natural disability.

--(Daily Times) staff report

Takaful firms 'must gear up for future challenges'

The high growth rates reported in the global takaful industry cannot be sustained forever and companies must gear up for the challenges ahead, said a top Bahrain-based expert.

Solidarity chief executive Sameer Al Wazzan was speaking at the opening of a two-day takaful seminar at the Elite Suites.

The event was organised to bring senior executives from across the world to share experiences, discuss developments and address the challenges that lie ahead.

The second International Co-operative and Mutual Insurance Federation's (ICMIF) Takaful Network Seminar is being hosted by Solidarity Group, a member of the Ithmaar banking group.

'Many of our companies were formed during the boom years on the basis of feasibility studies and business plans drawn up on the basis of higher rates on economic growth in target markets,' said Al Wazzan.

'The recent global financial crisis was not only unexpected, but the extent of the downturn could not be anticipated,' he said.

'Consequently, it is very important for us, as takaful practitioners, to examine not only growth prospects, but also the possible constraints and hurdles which our industry may face under current financial and economic conditions,' said Al Wazzan.

'Any over optimism needs to be scaled down and practical issues which have surfaced need to be recognised and dealt with in realistic terms.

'We must, collectively, debate these issues, understand the realities and work to overcome the challenges we will face,' he said.

Al Wazzan praised the role played by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) in contributing to the development of the region's takaful industry.

'The CBB has been a pioneer in this region in promulgating regulations specifically covering takaful,' he said.

'This has spurred growth in the number of takaful and re-takaful companies established in Bahrain, as well as the level of business generated,' he added.

CBB Financial Institutions Supervision executive director, Abdul Rahman Al Baker delivered a presentation entitled 'Takaful Industry - Challenges and the Way Forward.'

Al Baker presented an overview on the takaful industry from both the global and national perspectives. He also discussed the main factors for growth of takaful, the current and future challenges, and the way forward.

--TradeArabia News Service

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Nexus expands into Qatar and launches Takaful product

Nexus, one of the largest IFA firms in the Middle East, has opened a Qatar office following regulatory approval from the Financial Centre Regulatory Authority.

The development comes as the company, formerly the Middle Eastern distribution arm of insurer Zurich, rolls out a Takaful insurance product for firms designed to provide coverage against a range of business risks.

The Business Protector product, which has been developed in partnership with Dubai’s Salama Islamic Arab Insurance Company, includes cover for property, interruption to business, employee compensation, among a number of other areas.

Mahmoud Nodjoumi, chief executive of Nexus, said: “[Business Protector] is part of our joint efforts to accelerate the development of Takaful and insurance solutions and expand the services that we provide to our clients. The prospects for increasing the insurance penetration rate in the regional economies are clearly positive; and with the market reach and operational sophistication of the product, we are confident that the single, comprehensive Business Protector policy will help regional businesses function seamlessly.”

Rafiq Halani, general Manager – general and health at Salama, said the policy, which provides cover ranging from AED 500,000 to 30m, provided comprehensive cover.
“What makes the Business Protector a complete plan is that it covers the entire gamut of insurance requirements across various sectors – from media to industrial to food and beverages,” he noted.

--International Adviser