Glad you are here ….

I am thrilled to welcome you to the second edition of our newsletter. Reflecting on our journey so far, it’s clear that our efforts to bring this community closer are paying off.

The positive feedback and engagement from our members have been heartening, underscoring the value of this initiative.

This edition continues to shine a spotlight on our vibrant community, highlighting the stories and achievements that make us proud. As we dive deeper into various aspects of our industry, this platform remains committed to celebrating our members, their endeavors, and the collective spirit that unites us.

Join us in exploring the latest developments, insights, and milestones shared in this edition. Let’s continue to celebrate our shared journey and the remarkable people who make it all possible.

As a start, we would like to say a very big congratulations to Gaenor Jones, Regional Director, Chartered Insurance Institute, Middle East  whom won the award for ‘Woman Leader of the Year 2024’ at the Middle East Insurance Awards.

Enjoy
The DIFCIA Team

lloyds lab

The Lloyd’s Lab in the Middle East – Cohort 13

News by Lloyd’s

The Lloyd’s Lab is our award-winning Insurtech incubator. The Lab was launched in 2018 and over 80% of the alumni are still working and prospering in the Market. 

It has become a core representation of Lloyd’s globally and a reflection of the strength and importance of tech innovation in our market.

It was great to have the Lab present at DWIC in April, with a great event featuring five alumni of the Lab pitching their products to a panel of judges including Mohammad Sharaf from the DIFC Innovation Hub.

A number of our alumni are in the early stages of exploring setting up in UAE while at the same time we are seeing a huge amount of interest from Insurtech startups in the region wanting to apply for Cohort 13, which is focussed on the Middle East & Africa.

Applications for Cohort 13 opened in May and will close on July 14th so there is still plenty of time to apply.

We are really keen for the Middle East region to be strongly represented and for this cohort of the Lab to be an outstanding success so please pass the word along to anyone you know in the Insuretech field and encourage them to apply.

Plenty of information can be found by following the link at the top of the page but of course if there are any specific queries I’ll be delighted to help or I can arrange a call with the Lab team in London.

Accord

Acord Global Advisory Council: The Importance of Global Data Standards for the DIFC market

By Dave Matcham

Whilst the London insurance market is 3400 miles from the DIFC trading zone, the two markets have much to bring them together. Similar risk portfolios are traded, often shared between each market and the operational support for the policy value chain is provided in a common fashion.

Both markets contain all the global industry firms, many of whom are members of both the International Underwriting Association in London and the DIFC Insurance Association. IUA and DIFCIA will therefore always work together where it serves their global members.

One such area of common interest is London’s future digital transformation programme. With phase one targeted to begin in London from October this year, as implementation matures, global brokers and carriers trading in London and the DIFC will likely pursue uniform operational processes.

This seeming inevitability has also been recognized by Acord and manifested in the formation of its new Global Advisory Council. Acord is the globally recognized data standards setter with 36,000 participating organisations including all major brokers, insurers and reinsurers. Its portfolio of solutions and industry convening powers have driven numerous digital initiatives and greatly assisted the design and implementation of the London market blueprint for digital transformation.

A number of international firms already use the global reinsurance and large commercial data standards for peer-to-peer trading; however it is London which uses these standards most extensively at a market level. This will in turn help London in its conversion to wider digital transformation.

This transformational opportunity will soon be available to DIFCIA firms. This was the subject of a webinar to the membership on 3 June in which the benefits of global data standards for the DIFC market were explained by Dave Matcham the CEO of IUA, but also an Acord Board member and the first chair of the Global Advisory Council. On its formation, the DIFCIA was delighted to join the Council, and is already benefiting from working equivalent associations in Bermuda, Singapore, and importantly with the London market. DIFCIA’s close connection with the IUA in London will be vital to understand further both the value of data standards, downstream digital processing and the direct relevance to the growth and prosperity of the DIFCIA community.

Case studies from active users of global data standards were presented in the webinar (available from the Secretariat). They clearly show the tangible and financial benefits by eliminating unallocated cash, reducing manual effort in claims processing, improving data quality and huge progress in operational efficiency.

The Council is planning several educational initiatives for the DIFCIA members. These will be promoted during this year and will hopefully assist members to plan accordingly for the expected digital revolution which all wholesale markets will see.

Dave Matcham
Chief Executive IUA and Chair of the Acord Global Advisory Council

 

Gallager

ACE Gallagher Holding W.L.L.: Navigating the Middle East’s D&O insurance landscape amid 2024 risks

By Yolla El-Khoury, CEO of ACE Gallagher Holding W.L.L.

Recent instances in the Middle East serve as poignant reminders of the importance of corporate governance and D&O insurance in the face of executive malpractice. 

The Middle East stands at the crossroads of geopolitical tensions, economic uncertainties, and technological progress. The convergence of these factors, alongside regulatory changes and societal shifts, creates a multifaceted risk landscape that poses challenges for companies and their leadership. Therefore, understanding the emerging risks and how they affect the Directors & Officers (D&O) liability insurance landscape in the region has never been more pertinent.

As leaders within their organizations, D&Os must consistently act within the scope of their duties, prioritizing the best interests of their companies. By doing so, they can mitigate the risk of regulatory scrutiny or legal actions from external entities, safeguarding the integrity and stability of the business.

Despite all precautions, there are instances where unforeseen challenges arise. In recent developments, notable cases in the Middle East have underscored the gravity of corporate wrongdoing. Most recently, a final verdict has been issued against former executives of a telecom giant, mandating them to pay a substantial sum in compensation. As a result, regulatory bodies have taken decisive action, ordering former executives of the company to provide significant compensations for their alleged misdeeds. Similarly in another instance, the founder of a prominent company has attributed suspected fraudulent activities to executives within the organization.

These instances serve as poignant reminders of the importance of corporate governance and D&O insurance in the face of executive malpractice. But what factors contribute to such potential allegations of wrongdoing? In the year 2024, specific critical risks loom large, especially in the context of the Middle East:

  • Cybersecurity breaches: With the increasing digitization of businesses, cyber threats continue to be a top concern. The financial impact of data breaches on companies in the Middle East surged to a record USD 8 million in 2023. This marks a 15% rise over the previous three years and a 155.9% increase over the past decade, as stated in the Cost of a Data Breach Report by IBM Security. Apart from financial loss, cyberattacks can result in reputational damage and legal liabilities, jeopardizing an organization’s future viability. Safeguarding against these threats falls squarely within the purview of D&Os, who bear the responsibility of upholding the integrity and resilience of the organization.
  • Supply chain disruptions: The interconnected global economy makes supply chains vulnerable to disruptions. Political unrest, trade conflicts, and logistical challenges can disrupt the flow of goods and services, posing significant challenges for businesses and their management personnel. During the first two months of 2024, trade via the Suez Canal plummeted by half compared to the same period the previous year, according to the UN Global Platform – IMF PortWatch.
  • Regulatory changes: Evolving regulatory frameworks in the Middle East add complexity to compliance efforts for organizations. D&Os must stay abreast of regulatory developments and ensure that their companies adhere to relevant laws and regulations.

In light of such emerging risks, the significance of D&O insurance cannot be overstated. According to Statista, the size of the global D&O market is set to reach USD 54 billion by 2023. In adopting a proactive approach to risk management, companies can better anticipate, assess, and mitigate potential threats.

Studies have shown that companies that collaborate with insurance brokers experience a 5 to 15% lower average cost of risk compared to those that don’t. The role of insurance brokers involves several key strategies to reduce the risk of accusations against D&Os:

Documentation

Documentation plays a pivotal role in D&O risk management strategies, providing a foundation for transparency and accountability within organizations. Comprehensive documentation of corporate governance policies, decision-making processes, and board resolutions helps clarify roles and responsibilities of D&Os. It also serves as evidence of adherence to regulatory requirements and best practices, mitigating potential legal risks. Moreover, thorough documentation facilitates effective communication among stakeholders and aids in the identification and resolution of governance issues.

Risk assessment

It is imperative that organizations engage in risk assessments to safeguard against potential threats and vulnerabilities, thereby fulfilling the responsibility of D&Os to protect the company. Utilizing methodologies such as scenario analysis, risk mapping, and historical data analysis allows for the identification of risks impacting the business. Moreover, involving key stakeholders, including D&Os, risk management professionals, and subject matter experts, ensures comprehensive coverage and diverse perspectives in risk evaluation.

Acting with a reasonable degree of caution

Acting with a reasonable degree of caution is essential for D&Os to fulfill their fiduciary duties and minimize potential liabilities. This involves exercising prudence, diligence, and sound judgment in decision-making. D&Os must conduct thorough due diligence on corporate matters, assess risks, and consider the long-term implications of their actions. By staying informed about industry trends, regulatory requirements, and emerging risks, they can proactively identify and mitigate potential threats to the organization. Additionally, maintaining open communication channels with stakeholders and seeking legal counsel when necessary helps ensure informed decision-making and reduces the likelihood of regulatory scrutiny or legal challenges.

Risk mitigation

It is necessary to develop risk mitigation plans that address key risks prioritized based on their severity and potential impact on the company’s objectives. Risk mitigation measures should also be integrated into daily operations and strategic decision-making processes, ensuring proactive risk management becomes ingrained in the company culture.

Insurance review

Conducting regular reviews of D&O Insurance policies is indispensable to ensure the provision of adequate coverage and alignment with the company’s risk profile and evolving needs. To do so, companies and their leadership should collaborate with insurance brokers to understand policy terms, coverage limits, exclusions, and endorsements.

To enhance the resilience of their operations and secure a prosperous future in the current landscape of the Middle East, it is imperative for companies and their leadership to proactively address emerging risks and fortify their D&O risk management strategies.

Lux

How can Insurers enter the UAE’s new End of Service Saving scheme market?

News by Lux Actuaries

Members in the DIFC will be well acquainted with DEWS – a defined contribution saving scheme that replaced the old unfunded end of service gratuity system. But what about the UAE Mainland?

Last October MoHRE (The UAE Ministry for Human Resources & Emiratization) published the details for the long-awaited “Voluntary End of service gratuity scheme” in “Cabinet Resolution 96”, which will introduce a defined contribution scheme to the Mainland, though with limited similarities to DEWS.

This new scheme, once compulsory, has huge potential to deepen and boost the UAE’s capital markets, as over time Assets under Management will accumulate to over US$ 80 to $100 billion and directly generating more than $1 billion in annually reoccurring industry revenues for fund managers, administrators, consultants and other advisers. This is also an important step towards managing foreign workers’ discretionary savings in the UAE during and after the period of their employ. 

Insurers are hugely impacted by this new development. First, it would be desirable to participate in these new revenues. Secondly, it’s a foundation on which employees financial needs can be efficiently serviced.  Imagine if every employee in the UAE had an app on their phone informing them about the state of their savings – both end of service gratuity benefits and discretionary savings – together with medical, short-term and life insurance coverage. This would be hugely valuable to an employee and presents a big opportunity to an insurer. 

On the downside for insurers, the new scheme will heavily cannibalize the sale of individual life/savings and family takaful products, as every UAE Employee will have access to subsidised AVCs (additional voluntary contribution) savings, easily available on their End-of-Service savings app, directly deducted from payroll, and directly competing with the traditional life insurance savings products.

Unfortunately, Cabinet Resolution 96 isn’t written in a way that makes it easy for insurers to lead such schemes. Rather, Cabinet resolution 96 sees Fund Managers in control. They in turn – according to SCA rules – must appoint a proper Pensions Scheme Administrative Service Provider, and the whole scheme must be secured by one of the six UAE licensed Custodian banks. The only role that is available for insurers within this structure is that of Scheme Administration (ie operate a b2b contact, admin & operations centre to deal with issues from HR administrators of the companies and operate a b2b2c contact centre for the employees). It is fair to say that this task is alien to Fund managers (and their fund administrator) and custodian banks – it is very likely that these institutions will look to outsource these operations.

Herein lies the opportunity for insurance companies: to provide pensions scheme administration services for End of service saving schemes. One prominent insurer, Zurich, has done exactly that, with its ZWS (Zurich Workplace Solutions) operation in the DIFC administering the DEWS scheme. It is to be expected that ZWS will administer some of the new End-of Service saving schemes appearing in the mainland too. Furthermore, we can expect other insurers to copy this approach and to enter the nascent Mainland end-of-service saving scheme market in this way.

It is interesting to note that some insurers are already in an adjacent market, operating voluntary workplace saving schemes: Hayah and Sukoon both offer such saving schemes, with fund options from AXA and Generali. Hayah just recently obtained SCA approval to launch their End of Service saving scheme, however, they are working together with Azimut – an UAE-based asset manager – as opposed to their existing relationship with fund manager Axa. The reason for this is that SCA rules explicitly state that only UAE onshore licensed fund managers can receive approval, or possibly DIFC/ADGM-based funds that are passported into the Mainland (and approved by SCA).

In summary, the emerging opportunity is tremendous – but it appears insurers can currently only participate in this market on the pension administration side, and must team up with an onshore asset manager.

Ruan van Rensburg, 9 June 2024

 

WIN MENA

Women in Insurance MENA Conference 2024 – Sponosrhips now open

News by The Code Consultancy

After an electrifying event last September 2023, The DIFC Insurance Association & the Women in Insurance Network – MENA have made plans for a bigger and better event this year on October 11th 2024 at the Sofitel Downtown Dubai. 

After an electrifying event last September 2023, The DIFC Insurance Association & the Women in Insurance Network – MENA have made plans for a bigger and better event this year on October 11th 2024 at the Sofitel Downtown Dubai. 

This year we keep the theme of women’s empowerment but also ensure that content is both educational, relevant and engaging. The agenda has been carefully crafted to deep dive into topics that are relatable to attendees across different segments of the insurance industry and different technical functions across the value chain. Our high caliber speakers also carefully selected as female experts from across the MENA market.

The event is free for attendees, this is to ensure professionals of varying salary bands can participate, as our ultimate aim is to support and empower attendees to carve out their professional journey by growing their network, engage in inspiring discussions and learn what other market leaders are doing to support the progress and development of the insurance industry in MENA. 

We are expecting 200+ attendees this year, last year we had representation from across the region from BNI, Zurich, Howden Guardian, AIG, GIG Gulf, Tree, AIG, Axa Partners, Fidelity United, Chubb, Marsh, Sukoon, Orient, Cigna and many more. In addition, we will be launching a mentorship program for attendees at the event, and The Digital Insurer Academy, CII accredited educational academy who are based in Singapore have already donated a mini-MBA program as a prize for one of the attendees. 

To register for attendance, please click here . 

Supporting this event through sponsorship would compliment your D&I strategy or empower the women at your respective company, please reply to this email to hear more about our sponsorship packages. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for any questions, or if you wish, happy to meet to discuss further. 

Pictures of WIN MENA Conference 2023

Video Reel of WIN MENA Conference 2023

You can find all updates of the event on our web page here.

Mina Sahib
Managing Director of The Code Consultancy
Founder of Women in Insurance Network – MENA

arab loss adjusters

Arab Loss Adjusters

News by Arab Loss Adjusters

The pace of change within our industry remains unrelenting. Recent events have once again pushed us to reevaluate and adapt our strategies to address new and emergent challenges. From the global pandemic to unprecedented natural disasters across the US, Europe, Turkey, and the Arabian Gulf, each event reshapes the landscape in which we operate.

The year has been marked by intense regional conflicts and significant environmental events, such as the devastating floods on April 16, 2024, which underscored the critical value of insurance coverage. Despite the challenges, the response from insurers has been commendable. Companies have not only stepped up to support the insuring public but have also demonstrated agility and responsibility in claim handling—exemplified by the efficient management of 60,000 motor claims facilitated by AI-enhanced processes from the Dubai Police.

The broader economic environment remains volatile with global trade wars and push towards ESG and Net Zero targets. These factors, combined with a booming market in Saudi Arabia, demand our focused attention and strategic investment.

Looking to the future, the question of where to prioritise working capital and how quickly we need to adapt continues to be of paramount importance. The recent surge in claims and the proactive steps taken by entities across all sectors to resume normal operations highlight a clear path forward. The role of international reinsurance markets and the potential development of a regional reinsurance hub are also critical elements to establish its influence.

Our commitment is to continue innovating and improving our practices across all conventional classes of business. This will not only enhance our resilience but also strengthen the trust and confidence of our communities in the insurance sector.

As we navigate these turbulent waters, let us remain steadfast in our commitment to adapt, innovate, and lead with purpose, ensuring that we are always prepared to meet the next wave of challenges head-on.

Khalid W. Jishi,
Arab Loss Adjusters

Gallager floods

Gallagher Re provides insight on the reinsurance impact of the Arabian Gulf floods

News by Gallagher Re

Following the Arabian Gulf floods, data from Gallagher Re estimates the property market loss for UAE at between $1.8 billion and $2.3 billion. This is based on Gallagher Re’s proprietary flood model for the MENA region, along with the post-event footprint provided by JBA. This figure could change given claims are still being worked through.

The Gallagher Re team estimates the market loss for UAE motor to be between $350 million and $650 million. This includes comprehensive policies only, as third-party liability motor policies would not be covered. Due to the mobile nature of vehicles, there are additional uncertainties associated with this figure.

During the storms the UAE experienced its highest rainfall in 75 years. The rapid urbanisation in major cities over recent years has led to increased rainfall runoff, exacerbating flooding. These losses equate to an industry loss return period of at least 100 years.

The UAE was the hardest-hit country in the region and is expected to account for the majority of the total loss. Oman also experienced significant impacts; however, in terms of insured losses, these are expected to be minimal compared to the UAE. Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia also reported minimal losses.

Commenting on the data, ChemsEddine Kassali, Regional Director for Gallagher Re in MENA said: “While earthquake risk is generally considered the primary peril for reinsurance purchase, this event really highlights the importance of considering flood risk too. There is a growing need to have reliable flood models to help insurers properly assess their risk to flood in the region.”

Learning, knowledge, team, insurance

DIFCIA Knowledge Hub Fees and Registration Update:Another pride and joy of the DIFCIA!

News by Difcia

Registration for our Knowledge Hub offers over 100 online courses designed to meet your professional development needs. 

Registration is open to all DIFCIA members on an individual or corporate basis. If you are not a DIFCIA member and are interested in becoming one, please get in touch with Chantal directly by contacting her at chanta@difcia.org

Subscription Fees

We offer two types of memberships – individual and corporate – with the following fees:

  1. Corporate Subscription to the DIFCIA Knowledge Hub*

Company Registration Fee: US$ 250 (one-time fee)

Annual Corporate Subscription:

Bronze US$150 per employee per annum (up to 10 employees)

Silver US$ 125 per employee per annum (up to 25 employees)

Gold US$ 100 per employee per annum (25 + employees)

*Corporate membership applies to Companies that wish to subscribe their employees to the Knowledge Hub. Subscribed users can be added anytime or removed when the subscription is renewed.

  1. Individual Membership to the DIFCIA Knowledge Hub**

Individual Registration Fee: US$ 150 (one-time fee)

Annual Individual Subscription: US$150 per individual per annum

**Individual subscription status applies to any Individuals requiring personal access to the DIFCIA Knowledge Hub who are not eligible for corporate access.

  1. Access to the DIFCIA Knowledge Hub for non-members of the DIFCIA*** (Optional)

Individual Registration Fee: US$ 250 (one-time fee)

Annual Subscription for Non-members:

Individual: US$250 per annum

Corporate: US$ 250 per individual user (unlimited)

*** DIFCIA non-members can access the DIFCIA Knowledge Hub online courses upon approval of their subscription status. Please get in touch with Chantal directly for details and options.

Next Steps: How to register:

Once you have decided between an individual or corporate subscription, you can proceed with the registration process. If you are a corporate member, choose how many users you want to subscribe to the platform in your company. We will invoice you for the one-time yearly registration fee and the number of user subscriptions required. Once payment is received, access to the Knowledge Hub will be granted, and you can immediately start taking advantage of the benefits.

We look forward to receiving your submission’s