Insurance penetration highest regionally
Swiss Re: Lebanon fifth highest among Arab countries in premiums generated
The insurance penetration rate in 2011 was the highest in the Arab world and the 46th highest globally, according to Swiss Re's survey of the global insurance market. The insurance sector's total turnover last year stood at 2.9 percent of GDP, up from 2.8 percent a year earlier.
The survey ranked the country 63rd globally out of 147 markets covered, and fifth among 12 Arab markets in terms of premiums generated last year. It came ahead of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey.
Lebanon’s insurance market generated $1.2 billion in total premiums last year. “The market witnessed a slow activity in 2011 that continued through the first quarter of this year,” said Assaad Mirza, chairman of the Association of Insurance Companies (ACAL). Mirza said the business environment is far from encouraging considering local and regional adversities.
For 2012, figures released by ACAL showed that the number of insurance policies issued dropped by 13 percent until end-March. The value of premiums stood at $318 million, up four percent year-on-year. The rise in premiums was the result of higher premium prices. Fire insurance and Cargo insurance premiums rose by 14 percent and 11 percent respectively. Life insurance premiums rose by 11 percent. Both medical and motor insurance premiums were almost flat in the first quarter.
Jamil Harb, secretary general of ACAL, did not expect the insurance market to drop any further: “The market can either maintain its current level, or grow, but it cannot shrink. Customers get insured either because they are aware it's necessary, or because it's mandatory. Either way they are unlikely to abandon their premiums.”
Reported by Hanadi Chami
Date Posted: Jul 04, 2012