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DOHA: The GCC’s construction insurance sector is expected to see a surge starting this year, with the region set to invest more than $900bn in infrastructure projects over the next decade. In the next eight years, the member-countries together, will be spending around $100bn in the road and rail projects alone.
The insurance industry in the region is undergoing transformation and there is a tremendous potential for the regional insurance market to grow and thrive, top industry leaders noted at the Middle East Insurance Forum started in Bahrain yesterday.
Sharing the views expressed by the experts in Bahrain meet, top insurance market leaders in Qatar told The Peninsula the local market is set to emerge as a lead player in the region’s project insurance market.
“With many major projects in the pipeline, there will be significant demand from insurance and risk management expertise. This will present a great opportunity for the local insurance market to participate in the risk transfer options,” a top executive of Marsh & McLennanr said.
“The scale of complexity of the project would call for proven experience and value-added service for the project owners,” he added.
A top executive of another leading company said: “There was not much activity in the project insurance sector this year. But starting 2013, Qatar’s construction insurance sector is going to witness great activities. Qatar’s rail sector alone would see an investment ranging $25-40bn. The lowest estimate is something $25bn.”
“From the infrastructure sector, there will be more demands. Different Qatari Authorities are looking to optimise the local market capacity. Local market looks very positive, we expect a lot of activities to open up further in 2013,” he said.
Market sources told The Peninsula that more and more Insurance companies are coming to Qatar.
As of now at least 20-22 companies are involved in the construction insurance sector and more companies are in the process of making an entry, said another brokering company, which is involved in city developments and solar technology projects in Qatar.
Mario Valdes, General Manager, Metlife Alico Gulf, noted in his speech: “In the past few years, the insurance industry across the globe has been witnessing ongoing shifting tides. Low interest rates, lasting macro-economic risks and stagnating mature markets are pushing insurers to allocate resources to markets that will boost their growth engine.
“Where the Middle East insurance stands today is very praiseworthy. In fact, the region has shown its capacity to not only withstand turbulent times but also managed to consistently achieve robust results. Today, the level of investments in infrastructure, continuous population growth and the rise of emerging and mass affluent customer segments are few of the indicators that attest of the promising prospects of the life insurance industry in the region.”