The Business Year

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Abu Dhabi’s insurance sector is dynamic, fluid, and growing, with a busy M&A scene and plenty of JV activity.

Jason Light

CEO, Emirates Insurance Company (EIC)

In this country, most insurers, ourselves included, handle most classes of insurance business except for life insurance. So, we handle all classes of non-life insurance including insurance against fire in buildings and on construction sites. Construction is obviously a very large sector in this country. Various forms of lability protection are offered as well as coverage for shipping vessels and the cargo they carry. Medical insurance is also a very substantial part of the UAE’s national premium income. At EIC our principal areas of expertise are property, liability, construction, and marine insurance. Reinsurance is a key element in the way all insurers operate in the UAE. As a relatively young economy, the UAE sees a disproportionate number of large risks relative to small ones. So, we rely on long-standing reinsurance relationships to mitigate the effects of that and spread the potential impact of those risks around the world—an excellent example of risk management in progress. Reinsurance is a global marketplace with many established players in Europe, the US, and Asia—though increasingly Dubai itself is acting as a global reinsurance hub. Some of our relationships are 40 years old.

Gautam Datta

CEO, Watania Takaful

Post merger between Dar Al Takaful, which housed both Noor Takaful General and Noor Takaful, and National Takaful Co. (Watania), we have restructured the business. As a result, Dar Al Takaful has become a holding company that is mandated with investment activity to build a portfolio of takaful companies or takaful-related activities, while the operating subsidiaries are Watania Takaful General and Watania Takaful Family. We undertook a strategic brand architecture review to bring all business lines under a single moniker with a unified brand identity and purpose. The entire branding process went through the usual process of stakeholder audit and study focus groups and our research showed that the moniker Watania was the most preferred name by a large percentage of our stakeholders and the one that ranked the highest in terms of top-of-mind recollection amongst them. The new logo is rooted in the culture, heritage, and purpose of both merged companies and combines Watania’s styled typography and Noor’s infinity symbol. The chosen brand was Watania, though the brand also reflects the spirit of Dar. The value proposition of Watania is closely related to the needs of policyholders because, as a takaful organization, we want to ensure we are able to fulfill our commitments to policyholders. At the same time we wanted to ensure that we are creating value for our other key stakeholders, namely investors and our employees, and here in particular we want to ensure that our investors are rewarded for their investment through an increased value of their participation, and that our employees are rewarded through growth throughout their tenure with the organization.

Mohamed Seghir

CEO, HAYAH Insurance Company

HAYAH Insurance was established in 2022 after the exit of AXA, with which it used to be in a joint venture. We wanted to transform the company in line with the evolution of the UAE, with it being relevant to both the local community and the way the world is changing. The decision was taken to address some of the market gaps in the UAE, which are mostly related to retirement, the life protection gap, and the savings gap. The idea was to develop solutions that can be easily accessible to people. And for that, we decided to go through a more tech-oriented approach. As a result, we have developed the only real tech-based insurance company in the region. In terms of pure use of technology, we are talking about AI and how it can be implemented both internally and externally. Internally, we want to reduce the operational burden, while externally it is about how it interacts and interfaces with our clients. Our ambition is clear in terms of customer experience: we want to be the provider of instantaneous insurance. For the product part, the UAE has many expats in the country that come with a short-term plan but end up staying for over five or 10 years. We are looking to fill the gap there. It will be a big transformation for 2023. We no longer want to be a transactional insurance company, which is why there is no “insurance” on our logo. We have started to implement steps into becoming a lifestyle brand, and that is one of the reasons why we rebranded the company in 2022.

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