Insurance Industry in the Gulf Cooperation Council - Statistics & Facts

The insurance industry provides contracts known as policies to individuals or business entities as a form of financial protection or reimbursement against future losses. Those losses can be bundled under specialized insurance policies, such as health, life or accident insurances for individuals. For businesses, these policies include cargo or product liability insurance. Generally speaking, the insurance market consists of two main segments: Life and non-life insurances.

The focus of this dossier are the insurance markets of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar, as representatives of the biggest industries in the Gulf Cooperation Council region. Non-Life insurances are the more significant segment of the insurance industry in this region. Most insurance policies have been adjusted to Islamic law requirements, in the same way as other financial products, in order to avoid interest related income.

The insurance penetration rate in the Gulf Cooperation Council region is generally very low. The United Arab Emirates have the highest insurance penetration rate with 2.9 percent. Kuwait has the lowest insurance penetration rate with about one percent.

About 9.7 thousand people are employed in the insurance industry in the United Arab Emirates, closely followed by Saudi Arabia with 9.6 thousand. This is reflected as well in the number of insurance companies operating in the region. The United Arab Emirates houses about 60 insurance companies.

The Bahrain Kuwait Insurance Co. has the highest return of investment ratio of all insurances in the region with 16.7 percent. The return of investment of Emirates Insurance Co. was only 0.3 percent for the same time period.

Qatar Insurance Co. reached a net written premium of 2.9 billion U.S. dollars for 2016 making it the most valuable insurance company in the region, followed by Mediterranean and Gulf Cooperative Insurance and Reinsurance Co. with 785 million U.S. dollars.

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