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Figures are good

The insurance sector has significantly grown during the years 2009 and 2010. And future seems to be promising.

Like much else in the Lebanese economy, the insurance sector growth has been remarkable. But the main reason that helped Lebanon surpass the economic downturns is its prudent anticipatory financial policies that applied not only to the banking sector but the insurance industry as well. In 2010, total non-life premiums registered a 12 percent increase in premiums to $808 million.

 

In 2009, the insurance sector grew by almost 15 percent. Business Monitor International indicated that continued development especially in non-life insurance has ensured that the global financial crisis of late 2008 has had a little impact. It’s noteworthy that in 2007, the top ten life insurers posted increase in their premiums with bank assurance more than doubled. An increase in new demands for premiums is the main reason behind the jump in profits. “The bank assurance along with the compulsory life insurances associated to bank loans is another reason behind this growth. Total non-life premiums reached $482.65 million in 2007, up 8 percent from $446.8 million in 2006.

 

The aggregate non-life premiums of the top 10 insurers reached $313.7 million in 2007 compared to $285.6 million in 2006. Insurers admitted that the insurance market would have supposed to rise even more if stability existed, however they conceived this figure as good with regard to the current political situation. The awareness of people of the importance of all insurance coverage could be also another reason behind a future growth. William Salem, deputy general manager at Lia Insurance cited many reasons that stand behind the increased demand for premiums. One of the main reasons is the banks’ lending strategy i.e. personal loans, car loans and housing loans. “All these loans are coupled with insurance cover requests.” He noted that “the selling insurance via banks has also become easier, sales people do not spend time on prospecting and a clever data segmentation strategy also helps producing ready to buy hit lists.”

 

 “The current Lebanese economy overall development with its impact on in force premium adjustment or new premium generation is another reason to cite, in addition to the new comers to the insurance broking market with higher educational level and better new technology usage and the superior customer behavior due to advanced awareness especially for those having business links with Gulf, European & North American markets,” he added.

 

A positive outlook Business Monitor International (BMI) said in a report published by Bank Audi’s Lebanon Weekly Monitor on the Lebanese insurance market that it expected significant growth in the life insurance segment over the period 2011-2015.As is the case in most Middle Eastern markets, BMI sees double-digit annual growth in Lebanon through the 2011-15 forecast period. The report estimated that total premiums in Lebanon amounted to $1.259 billion in 2010. This includes non-life premiums of $859.7 million and life premiums of $399.3 million.

In 2015, the corresponding figures should be $2.088.6 billion, $1.397.2 billion and $691.4 million. The study noted that the relatively small size of the market in Lebanon indicates that it has strong growth potential, especially that the country is open to foreign insurers.

Certain local businesses, like MedGulf and Arabia Insurance, have made progress in building a footprint across the Middle East, BMI said. Insurance insiders are optimistic about the future of the insurance sector. Launching awareness campaigns and introducing new products remain the main plans in the pipeline for insurance companies. However for Salem, “the future plans are to work on cutting costs by optimizing business processes and top notch technology usage. Competition will be faced in the Lebanese market by focusing on customer satisfaction, aiming loyalty consolidation and their relations attraction, optimizing workforce productivity and innovating as well,” he said.

 

Beirut

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ECO INITIATIVES

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