Lebanon Businessnews News

Insurance sector ends year at $1.2 billion
Number of premiums rises by 11 percent in 2011 despite unfavorable market conditions: ACAL Secretary General
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The value of insurance premiums in 2011 reached $1.22 billion, the Association of Insurance Companies in Lebanon (ACAL) reported in its yearly results. The value of insurance premiums in 2011 had grown by 9.6 percent from the previous year.

The increase in the value of premiums was stimulated by an annual growth of around 15 percent in medical insurance premiums, as well as a 14 percent increase in fire insurance premiums. The value of life insurance premiums and of workmen insurance premiums both grew by ten percent from the 2010 level. The value of cargo insurance premiums rose by seven percent, while that of motor insurance was up by three percent from 2010. According to Jamil Harb, the Secretary General of ACAL, the growth in the value of medical insurance premiums (15 percent) is attributable to the hike in the prices of premiums. The number of medical premiums has barely increased. Medical insurance premiums and life insurance premiums represented the bulk of written premiums in 2011 with equal shares of 28.1 percent each.

“The sector was able to maintain a growth of around 11 percent in 2011 despite the unfavorable economic and political circumstances,” said Harb. He said that the output of the insurance sector was “not bad” given the challenging situation, but that the sector can generate much more growth.

The number of insurance premiums issued in 2011 totaled around 3.46 million, up by almost 11 percent from the previous year. Life insurance premiums represented around 28 percent of the sector in 2011.

According to the report, Motor insurance represented 26.8 percent, while fire insurance acquired 6.7 percent. Workmen insurance and cargo insurance represented 2.9 percent and 2.6 percent respectively. According to Harb, the low number of cargo premiums is due to the fact that almost half of the cargo insurance is made abroad.

Insurance indemnities paid on policyholders’ claims totaled $577 million, up by 19.7 percent from 2010. Medical claims represented 40.6 percent of all claims, while motor claims represented 28.5 percent. Life insurance claims accounted for 12.3 percent, while fire insurance claims made up ten percent.

Harb said that the insurance sector has good growth opportunities. “We are working for better incentives in the life and cargo insurance categories,” he said.

ACAL is working with a number of ministries to boost the insurance sector. According to Harb, the Ministry of Economy is working to organize and control Mutual Funds, which offer medical and health insurance coverage for their subscribers. Moreover, he said, a draft law on public safety in buildings will further promote the insurance sector. If enacted, this law will enforce up to five branches of insurance premiums.

by Hanadi Chami
Date Posted: Mar 05, 2012
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