Regional perspective

ARAB COUNTRIES: Insurance Density and Insurance Penetration (SOURCE: Muhanna Foundation)

This could be a very opportune time to take a good long look at the Middle Eastern insurance industry, where far-reaching changes are expected region-wide. On the static side of how things are, stand the numbers on territory, population and economic performance, in relation to insurance. According to data circulated by the General Arab Insurance Federation (GAIF), these basics are a surface of 14 million square kilometers, a populace of 300 million people and a compounded GDP exceeding $700 billion, of which 1%, or $7 billion, are spent on insurance. In per-country averages, citizens of Arab states each allocate between $5 and $243 for general insurance, with average annual spending computing at $22 per capita for the region, says GAIF.
Studies from the other side indicate that the Arab contribution to global insurance premiums is a mere 0.22% overall, split into just under half a percent of non-life and less than a tenth of a percent of life premiums (2002 figures, as presented in an overview of the Lebanese insurance sector by financial institution Saradar Investhouse).
In global comparison, the Arab region is critically under insured, but so is most of the world. The average Swiss citizen, for example, spends about $5,000 annually on insurance

Thomas Schellen

Thomas Schellen is Executive's editor-at-large. He has been reporting on Middle Eastern business and economy for over 20 years.