5 Interactive Distance Learning Programs on Islamic Banking and Finance

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Halal brands has potential to make Pakistan proud, prosperous, says minister

ISLAMABAD: Enormity of Halal business cannot be denied whereas importance and significance of value added exports in any economy could not be over emphasized, said Minister for Science and Technology Mir Changez Khan Jamali. He said contrary to the common understanding, Halal business was not limited to Muslim communities and countries rather because of its high hygienic values the Halal products are attracting non-Muslims as well. He was chairing the first meeting of National Steering Committee for promotion and development of Halal products, on Friday. The minister said Halal market and Halal branding was today a global phenomenon and it had the potential to make Pakistan proud and prosperous. The minister said without research and development no industry could go far in that competitive world so S&T organisations had to make sure that private industry was fully supported by applied Research & Development work. Jamali said there were only four Islamic Republics in the World including Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Mauritius, and Pakistan was the only country with such a potential for production and export in Halal market. The participants included Federal Secretary Irfan Nadeem representatives from Ministry of Religious affairs, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Live Stock and Dairy Development, Ministry of Industries and production, Ministry of Commerce, and Ministry of Law, Board of Investment representative of each province, Lahore and Karachi Chamber of Commerce etc. staff report

Courtesy By: Daily Times

Friday, March 18, 2011

Growth expected for Malaysian Insurance Sector

Projections foresee growth in 2011 topping 12% across the Malaysian insurance industry. The Malaysian government has unveiled stimulus plans and other legislative initiatives which together with an historically low interest rate environment have lead to very favorable conditions for growth in the insurance sector. All forecasts however need to be tempered by an awareness of uncertainties about the outlook for a number of western economies and the possible resulting downward pressures on overall performance of the global insurance industry.

Malaysia’s economy grew 7.2 percent last year, the highest rate experienced since the year 2000. The Malaysian government has aggressively pursued substantial investment programs with the explicit goals of doubling GDP per-capita and turning Malaysia into a high income country by 2020. New parliamentary initiatives such as the New Economic Model (NEM), Economic Transformation Program (ETP) and the Tenth Malaysian Plan will, according to industry analysts, lead to a growth in demand for insurance products and services.

The Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) held that in addition to these numerous initiatives announced in the Economic Transformation Program, including the private pension plan and worker insurance scheme, economic conditions in the country are ripe for further life insurance development. Consumer confidence in Malaysia has shown marked improvement, rising to 107 points on the latest Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index, its highest score since the third quarter of 2006. Around 41 percent of the Malaysian population is currently insured, according to the LIAM. This level of life-insurance penetration is low by a developed economy’s standards and will be an important factor in the further growth of the sector. The current low interest rate environment will act as an impetus to consumers seeking high-yielding products like insurance in Malaysia.

The LIAM reported that new business sales for life insurance rose 19 percent on a weighted premium basis during the first three quarters of 2010. This growth was accredited to strong performances in regular premium sales which were up 21 percent compared with the identical period in 2009. Single premium business, however, registered a small 1 point decline.

The LIAM’s views were supported by the General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM), the Malaysian Takaful Association (MTA) and Allianz Malaysia Bhd (AMB).

The General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) executive director Mr. Lim Chia Fook reported that, in absence of any further adverse impacts on the world economy, the insurance association foresees the outlook for the general insurance industry this year to be very positive with an increased demand for insurance in all areas expected. The general insurance industry recorded that for the third quarter of 2010, gross direct premium estimates were 3.16B$, demonstrating a growth of nine percent over the same three quarter period during the previous year.

The Malaysian medical and health insurance sector (MHI) is likewise expected to sustain powerful development, driven by upward trends in consumer awareness coupled with an increasing want for cover against escalating healthcare costs. Mr. Lim added that the introduction of the health insurance plan designated for foreign workers would further drive growth in the MHI sector. PIAM anticipated new areas of industry growth through micro-insurance products, especially considering the rapidly developing small and medium enterprise and biotechnology sector in Malaysia.

The Malaysian Takaful Association (MTA) expects the Islamic insurance industry to continue to improve on its 10% market penetration, particularly by expanding into rural areas. The Islamic insurance market has grown due to more interest in shariah-compliant investments. The industry has experienced substantial growth after the Malaysian central bank issued takaful licenses to four established consortiums in 2006, which included HSBC, Malaysia’s Hong Leong Bank and Prudential Holdings. Malaysia currently has eight takaful operators and trusts that the inclusion of new insurance players would increase industry competition, pushing players not only to capture new market share but also to develop fresh takaful products. Similar to general insurers, the islamic insurance sector operates through correlation with macro economic performance; hence the positive outlook for the Malaysian domestic economy will affect the development of both sectors.

MTA chairman Datuk Syed Moheeb Syed Kamarulzaman reported: “The significant growth in retail credit financing, especially in relation to home financing in 2010, may be curbed to some extent in 2011 and this should encourage takaful operators to diversify their business focus away from financing protection products to agency driven products.”

Allianz Malaysia CEO Jens Reisch remarked that apart from the initial low insurance penetration rate in the country, increase in consumer knowledge, greater demand for retirement savings, together with growing Bancassurance and takaful businesses from a more liberalized insurance industry, are some of the other factors that would advance the insurance sector. Mr. Reisch added that Allianz: “is undertaking numerous initiatives to improve its distribution capabilities and we hope to continue to strengthen the top line and sustain profitability.”

Mr. Reisch highlighted that the major challenges facing the insurance trade would be the provision of long-term assets for packaging insurance products, the low interest environment for insurers failing to manifest attractive guaranteed return products and the requirement to offer high guaranteed products into the long term future.

The LIAM assert that global economic uncertainty could restrain the growth potential of the industry: “While it is an external factor, the quagmire prevailing in the established economies of the United States, Japan, Europe and the reaction of the local share market towards such sentiments may have an indirect impact on the industry. It can cause a slowdown on external demand that will eventually influence consumers in terms of decision-making, thus making sales more difficult.”

The association’s president, Md Adnan Md Zain, believes the best actions to take to overcome these peripheral obstacles would be through prudent domestic policies, active oversight, working closely with regulators and better integrating as an industry. The Life Insurance Association doesn’t discount the potential for inclusion of new foreign insurance players that could invigorate the market as well as the continued implementation of the financial inclusiveness programs undertaken by both the authorities and financial institutions.

Courtesy by: International News

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Amana Takaful announces rights issue

Amana Takaful, the pioneer of Takaful in Sri Lanka, has announced a rights issues on a 1:1 basis at Rs 1.50 a share, which is subject to approval by the Company’s Shareholders at the EGM scheduled for 18th March 2011. Once concluded, the rights issue will see Amana Takaful’s core capital rise to Rs 1.25bn, which will facilitate its expansion strategy in spearheading Takaful in Sri Lanka as well as consolidating its position to meet changes in regulations pertaining to risk-based capital and splitting of life and general business, the company said in a statement.

"We feel bullish about the opportunities that are emerging through the post war development taking place, backed by long term economic policies of the Government. The changes in regulation pertaining to the insurance industry is also a strong impetus and the recent amendments to the Regulation of the Insurance Industry Act (RII act) will allow us to spread Takaful more strongly in Sri Lanka," said Ehsan Zaheed, Director/CEO, Amana Takaful PLC.

"These changes also allow us to spread our investments portfolio, which has up to now been limited. Further, the budget proposals are also an added source of strength to us, which will help us increase financial performance," he added.

"The economic climate for investment is good in Sri Lanka as the regulator intends to adhere to a development oriented monetary policy. This will bring liquidity back into the market for investment and other activity thereby creating more opportunities for insurance companies to capitalise on. As Sri Lanka’s only Takaful provider we are readying ourselves to meet this very challenge," Zaheed said.

In a related development, Amana Investments, the parent company of Amana Takaful, was awarded a license to operate a fully fledged commercial bank. Called Amana Bank it will be Sri Lanka’s first fully fledged Islamic Bank and herald a new era in Islamic banking and finance in Sri Lanka helping grow with the momentum built by Amana Investments over the last decade of operations.

Amana Takaful Maldives also made news recently when it applied to be listed in the Maldivian Stock Exchange making it the first and only insurance company to do so in the country. Amana Takaful Maldives, a subsidiary of Amana Takaful PLC, has served the people of Maldives since 2003 and is a leading insurer patronised by the people, the government and private institutions alike.

Globally Takaful is growing fast and estimated to reach a staggering 7.4 billion by the year 2015 according to Moody’s Investors Service of the US, from 5.3 billion as at 2008 as mentioned in the Ernst & Young World Takaful Report of 2010. World over there are about 80 Takaful operators with an additional 200 Takaful windows. Furthermore, according to Bank Negara of Malaysia the global Takaful growth rate stands at 20 percent.

Courtesy By:The Island

Indonesia Islamic Insurance Assets Increased 47.6% in 2010

Indonesia Islamic Insurance Assets Increased 47.6% in 2010
By Suryani Omar - Mar 15, 2011 10:09 AM GMT+0500
Business ExchangeBuzz up!DiggPrint Email .Indonesia’s Islamic insurance assets surged 47.6 percent to 4.5 trillion rupiah ($512 million) last year from a year earlier, Indonesia’s Capital Market and Financial Institution Supervisory Agency said.

Islamic insurance, or takaful, is based on the Koranic principle of mutual assistance where policy holders contribute a sum of money to a common pool managed by the company.

Premiums for the takaful sector rose 35.7 percent to 3.2 trillion rupiah in 2010 from a year earlier, Isa Rachmatarwata, head of the insurance bureau at the agency, said in a written response to questions.

Islamic insurance made up 2 percent of the total 224.9 trillion of insurance assets in the country, Rachmatarwata said.

Courtesy by: Bloomberg

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Labuan licensed firms can have dual locations

Labuan International Business and Financial Centre (Labuan IBFC) licensed insurance and takaful firms can now locate their management and operational offices in Kuala Lumpur, or any other city within Malaysia, in line with the ongoing process of co-location and the movement towards a fully abstract international business and financial centre.

This allowance is part of the financial sector liberalisation package initially introduced by Labuan Financial Services Authority in 2009, which provides for similar concessions to Labuan Holding Companies, Labuan Banks and Investment Banks.

The extension to Labuan insurance and takaful entities underlined the important role insurance and takaful played in the growth and success of Labuan IBFC, said Labuan FSA director-general Datuk Azizan Abdul Rahman.

“The insurance and takaful sector has consistently recorded strong performance and remains as one of the core sectors in Labuan IBFC, with gross premiums written exceeding US$1bil and double-digit increase in the number of licences,” he said.

counrtesy by: The star Online

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Takaful Emarat appoints Action UAE as its regional public relations partner

.UAE-headquartered Takaful Emarat, a Shariah compliant life and health insurance company, announced the appointment of Action Global Communications (Action UAE), the region's largest independent public relations consultancy, as its public relations partner across the GCC region.

Action's appointment comes as part of Takaful Emarat's strategic objective to ramp up its marketing and communication activities this year in line with its ongoing drive to strengthen its presence within the UAE and across the region.

Present at the signing ceremony to formalise Action's appointment were Takaful Emarat's Chairman Dr. Khalid Saqer Bukhammas Al-Marri; Board Member, Mohamed Ali Abdalla Ali Alsari; Consultant to the Board Nader Qaddumi and General Manager, Ghassan Marrouche.

Tony Christodoulou, Chairman, Action Global Communications and General Manager, Action UAE David Baker, attended the signing ceremony from Action UAE.

Takaful Emarat was founded through a strategic partnership between Al -Buhaira National Insurance Co the UAE's leading insurance company and UNIQA Group Austria, one of Central Europe's most trusted insurance brand.

Courtesy By: AME Info

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Takaful Coverage Introduced For Students

Bandar Seri Begawan - For as little as $5 per year, a student can get Islamic insurance coverage amounting to $5,000 in the Group Personal Accident Takaful for students introduced by Takaful Brunei Am/General.

To explain the importance of having Takaful (Islamic insurance) coverage for students, Takaful Brunei Am Sdn Bhd (TBA) and Takaful Brunei Keluarga Sdn Bhd (TBK) yesterday held a presentation for teachers, parents and students of Sayyidina Hassan Secondary School.

The presentation revealed that Takaful Brunei Am Sdn Bhd (TBA)'s personal accident coverage for children offered comprehensive protection in the event of death and permanent total disablement due to accident or illness. The takaful insurance offers 24-hour coverage worldwide and medical expenses. The talks also highlighted saving

and protection products for future financial planning. The Group Personal Accident Takaful for students is divided into three plans, namely, Plan A for $5,000 coverage, Plan B for $10,000 coverage and Plan C for $15,000 coverage. In case of death, beneficiary will get $500 while medical expenses is covered at $1,000 for all plans.

Some 325 students from uniformed groups, namely, army cadets, police cadets, scouts, fire and rescue cadets, Red Crescent, Girl Guides, and their parents attended the talk. Also in attendance were the principal of the school Dayang Hajah Suriani binti Hj Noorhashim and Pg Hj Md Sufffi bin Pg Hashim, General Manager of TBA.

In another briefing recently, Takaful Brunei Am Sdn Bhd and Takaful Brunei Keluarga Sdn Bhd conducted a talk at Suri Seri Begawan Hospital, KB. The talk highlighted various products (Life and non-Life products) Takaful Brunei offers to suit an individual.

Courtesy by: Borneo Bulletin