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P PO OW W EE R R Compiled from reader nominations and an anonymous panel of judges, Mena Insurance Review’s 2013 Power 50 showcases the 50 people who wield the most power in the Mena insurance market. It is not ranked in order of influence, although we have highlighted 14 of the most highly regarded individuals. This year’s list features several new people whose achievements deserve credit. The list also recognises the key role played by regulators in shaping the industry’s future. By Ronan McCaughey


INSURERS Walid Sidani, CEO of ADNIC As CEO of HIGHLY REGARDED ADNIC, one of the top three market leaders in the UAE, Sidani was voted as a highly influential player. ADNIC has NEW been rated by Standard & Poor’s as displaying strong capital adequacy, strong operating performance; strong liquidity; and a strong competitive position. ADNIC’s gross written premium for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2012 grew by 12% to AED 1.67bn ($454.7m) compared to AED 1.49bn during the same period in Q3 2011. ADNIC is rated ‘A’ by A.M. Best and ‘A-‘ by Standard & Poor’s. Jérôme Droesch, CEO of AXA Gulf As part of the HIGHLY REGARDED AXA Group, AXA in the Gulf profits from financial strength and stability that gives it a significant comNEW Droesch petitive advantage. has continued to mould AXA Gulf into a force to be reckoned with, as can be seen by the provider winning insurer of the year and personal lines insurer of the year award at the 2013 Mena Insurance Awards. AXA Gulf’s brand awareness also gives it the edge over most of its rivals. Michael Whitwell, president, Middle East and Africa, at AIG Whitwell deservHIGHLY REGARDED edly makes the list again this year because of AIG’s significant presence in the Middle East. Cyber insurance NEW develhas been a particular

opment area for AIG in the region and the provider won the product innovation award at the 2013 Mena Insurance Awards. AIG has also recently launched trade credit insurance in the UAE, with the insurer stressing the ‘hunger’ that exists for this product amongst corporates, brokers and bankers in the UAE. Michael Bitzer, CEO of Daman Daman has grown tremendously since 2006 and is a health insurance company in the region with a clear focus on state-of-the art products. Based on data from November 2012, the Abu Dhabi government owned 80% of Daman, with the remaining stake owned by Munich Re. Daman has been chosen as the health insurer of the year by the insurance industry numerous times. It also won the employee benefits provider of the year award at the 2013 Mena Insurance Awards. Steve Dixon, regional managing director for ACE in Mena ACE has built up an impressive reputation in the Mena region, particularly within financial lines and energy. Dixon recently told Mena IR how ACE plans to launch a facultative reinsurance hub in Tunisia within the first half of 2013. Jason Light, CEO of Emirates Insurance Company (EIC) Light gained a substantial number of votes from his peers to be recognised in the Power 50 list. His experience and gravitas in the Mena insurance industry mean he is a highly respected figure in the sector. In October 2012, EIC launched EIC International, based close to the

DIFC in Dubai to underwrite an African/Asian/Middle Eastern book of energy and marine facultative reinsurance business. Patrick Choffel, CEO of Oman Insurance Company As one of the HIGHLY REGARDED three market leaders in the UAE, Oman Insurance Group has built a competitive position through product development andNEW a strong brand. According to Standard & Poor’s, it became the largest domestic insurer in the UAE in 2006. Choffel has played his part in consolidating the company’s position as a leading insurance provider. Oman Insurance Company is rated ‘A’ by A.M. Best and ‘A-‘ by Standard & Poor’s. Omer Elamin, senior managing director of Orient Insurance An industry HIGHLY REGARDED institution, Elamin deserves INDUSTRY his place in the Power 50 LEADER list because Orient is one of the market leaders in the NEW UAE. In 2012, Orient Group increased its gross premium written from AED 1.27bn ($345.8m) in 2011 to AED 1.4bn in 2012. The combined ‘A’ rating from S&P and A.M. Best is recognition from the rating agencies of Orient’s financial strength and strong performance. Saad Mered, CEO of Zurich’s General Insurance business in the Middle East & Africa region Zurich’s general HIGHLY REGARDED insurance and life insurance operations deserve commendation in the 2013 Power 50 list. There have been notable


leadership changes; at Zurich for example, Jawed Barna has succeeded Thorsten Kocherscheidt to become the CEO for Zurich’s Global Life business in Middle East & Africa. Furthermore, Zurich recently announced that Mered will lead the business in the Middle East on an interim basis following the departure of Maroun Mourad from the company. Ali Al-Subaihin, CEO of Tawuniya Tawuniya has HIGHLY REGARDED the leading competitive position in the Saudi insurance market with a strong underwriting performance NEW prospects and good growth in Saudi Arabia. According to Standard & Poor’s, the company enjoys a domestic market share of just over 25%. As the CEO of Tawuniya, Al-Subaihin is a highly influential figure in the region’s insurance industry. David Youssef, managing director for Middle East & Africa at Now Health International Having just failed to NEW make the list in 2012, Youssef was consistently nominated by readers to feature in the 2013 Power 50 roll of honour. Youssef is a worthy member of this prestigious list because he was one of the first to recognise the importance of the international health insurance market in the early 1990s, and is recognised as an industry trailblazer. Ashraf Bseisu, group chief executive of Solidarity Group With over 22 years of experience in the insurance and financial services sector, Bseisu was voted by his peers as a


highly respected figure INDUSTRY in the LEADER Mena insurance industry. At the Mena Insurance Live 2013 conference, Bseisu said the Mena insurance industry is overcrowded and there is an imperative for consolidation. Imad Abdel Khaleq – managing director of Jordan Insurance Company Khaleq was nominated INDUSTRY by many of our experts to LEADER feature in the Power 50 list, and rightly so. JIC has an established position in Jordan where, according to A.M. Best data as of December 2012, it was ranked the secondlargest insurance company by gross written premium (GWP) in Jordan. The company won Jordan Insurer of the year at the 2013 Mena Insurance Awards. Khalid Saoud Al Hassan, MD and CEO of Gulf Insurance Gulf Insurance has grown from being a leading personal and commercial insurer in Kuwait into a regional player in the Middle East and North Africa. Earlier this year, Al Hassan told Mena IR that Gulf Insurance is seeking to expand in the Turkish and Algerian markets. Hassan said GIC also plans to increase its number of branches in the countries where it currently operates. Leading this expansion from a strong base puts Al Hassan in the Power 50. Parvaiz Siddiq, CEO of Noor Takaful Siddiq deserves credit for moulding Noor Takaful into a leading takaful operator in the region. Noor Takaful’s marketing in the Middle East has already made it an award winner. Noor Takaful’s mission is to be ranked amongst the top 100 most innovative com-

panies in the world by 2020. Jamal Asfour, CEO of Asia Insurance Company Asfour is playing NEW a leading role in developing and promoting awareness of the opportunities in the Iraqi insurance market. Hisham Radwan, general manager of Aetna’s operations in the Middle East and Africa Having won health NEW insurer of the year at the 2013 Mena Insurance Awards, Radwan joined Aetna in early March and is responsible for expanding its international business in the region. With his deep industry knowledge and lifelong experience in the region, Radwan is the key man in an important growth INDUSTRY area for Aetna. LEADER

Khalifa Al Subaey, group president and CEO of Qatar Insurance Company (QIC) As the group HIGHLY REGARDED president and CEO of QIC,

which is the dominant insurer in Qatar in terms of gross premium written, Al Subaey is a powerful man in the Mena insurance sector. In the March 2013 issue of Mena IR, Mahesh Mistry, director, analytics, at A.M. Best added that QIC is active in the international reinsurance market through its subsidiary, Q-Re.

market at a time of global economic upheaval, QBE has consistently generated strong results and won the commercial lines insurer of the year award at the 2013 Mena Insurance Awards. Eid and his team have achieved a great deal of success in a short period of time – making him an influential expert in the region.

Lutfi Fadel El Zein, chairman, MedGulf El Zein was another popular choice among our readers to make the list and he features in it for the second year in a row. MedGulf has operations in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UK, the UAE, Turkey and Jordan – making El Zein a powerful figure.

Christian Kraut, CEO MiddleEast, Africa, Munich Re Kraut makes HIGHLY REGARDED the list due to Munich Re’s position as one of the world’s leading reinsurers. His influence on the Mena NEW remains insurance industry undeniable and Kraut was consistently voted by readers as a ‘go-to man’. This was acknowledged at the 2013 Mena Insurance Awards where Munich Re won the global reinsurer of the year award.

REINSURERS Khalil Eid, general manager and senior executive officer of QBE’s Dubai branch Eid joined QBE in NEW 2009 to launch its office in the DIFC. Despite entering the

Morocco: Insurance industry share 2011


Others 35%

Wafa Assurance 22.1 %

Royal Moroccan 18.3% CNIA SAADA Assurance 12.7%

AXA Insurance Morocco 13.7%

Hedi Hachicha, chief underwriting officer, treaty P&C, Close East & Africa, SCOR Hachicha was a popular choice among Mena IR’s readers to feature in the list. With its various external growth operations over the last few years, the SCOR group has become a real multinational player. In October 2012, Hachicha told Mena IR that due to the tough competition in the primary insurance markets, there has been some deterioration in underwriting profitability in recent years, especially in property. Mahomed Akoob, managing director of Hanover Re With the establishment of Hannover ReTakaful in 2006, Hannover Re was the first of


Algerian insurance market share in 2011 Société Nationale d’Assurance (SAA) 28%

Others 38%

Compagnie Algérienne d’Assurance Transport (CAAT) 18%

CAAR Assurance 15.7%

INDUSTRY the major reinsurance groups LEADER to devote itself to the emerging Islamic insurance market with its own exclusive fully Shariah compliant Retakaful operation. Akoob’s knowledge and expertise in this sector make him an important feature of the Power 50 list.

a competitive position. Saudi Re is rated BBB+ by S&P.

Tony Cabot, senior executive officer, Mena region at Argo Re (DIFC) Argo Re (DIFC) launched in the Dubai International Financial Centre in September 2011, and since then its core values of excellence and innovation have enabled it to carve a niche for itself. Cabot has played a key role in Argo INDUSTRY Re’s development.

Gunther Saacke, CEO of Q-Re Saacke has been NEW recently appointed CEO of Q-Re – a subsidiary of Qatar Insurance Company (QIC) – with the ‘aim of transforming’ the provider into a global multiline reinsurer with a focus on specialty lines. This makes him a key influencer in the region’s insurance industry. Q-Re has said Saacke and his team are committed to establishing Q-Re as a leading global reinsurance franchise based in Doha, Qatar, with offices in Zurich, London and Bermuda.

Fahad Abdulrahman AlHesni, MD-CEO of Saudi Re Al-Hesni joined Saudi Re in January 2011. He fully deserves his place on the list after the efforts by him and his team enabled the reinsurer to deliver a growth rate of 54% in gross written premium in 2012. Standard& Poor’s (S&P) has described Saudi Re’s capitalisation is strong and it has

Amir Al Muhanna, CEO of Kuwait Re Praised by readers NEW for his dynamism, Al Muhanna heads up Kuwait Re, which A.M. Best has awarded a financial strength rating of A- (excellent) and the issuer credit rating of “a-”. In its ratings announcement in July 2012, A.M. Best said its ratings


for Kuwait Re reflect the company’s good level of risk-adjusted capitalisation and good track history of generating profits. Prem Sagar, CEO of ACR ReTakaful MEA Sagar has over 25 years of (re)takaful and (re)insurance experience and collected the takaful reinsurer of the year award at the 2013 Mena Insurance Awards. Sagar is at the forefront of the provider’s commitment to providing dedicated retakaful coverage to its takaful partners in the Middle East.

BROKERS Farid Chedid, chairman and CEO of Chedid Re One of the most well-known figures in the Mena insurance broking community, Chedid is a man with clear views on the way forward for the industry. He has steered Chedid Re to becoming an award-winning reinsurance broker. The company has offices in Beirut, Dubai, Limassol and Riyadh, giving Chedid further influence in the region.

Michael Gertsch, CEO of Gulf Re A very well-known and respected figure in the industry, Gertsch was a clear choice among the reader nominations for the reinsurer category. Gertsch has been CEO of Gulf Re since March 2011 and during that time Gulf Re has grown and has delivered strong results. Gertsch has a clear strategy for delivering sustainable growth.

Robert Makhoul, CEO of Marsh in the Middle East and North Africa Leading such HIGHLY REGARDED an established player and industry giant in the Mena region makes Makhoul one of the top influencers in the sector. MakhoulNEW has worked in the region for over 30 years. Marsh has a team of over 400 employees based in the Middle East. But, above all, Makhoul is the key man.

Yassir Albaharna, CEO, Arig Albaharna makes the list having received many reader nominations for his service to the industry and the fact that Arig swung back to a net profit of $15.3m In 2012, after a net loss of $19.1m in 2011.

Chris Pleasant, MD, Mena, at Guy Carpenter With a wealth of industry knowledge, Pleasant figured in the 2012 list and deservedly makes it again this year. He was a clear choice nominated by readers.

Lukas Mueller, head market underwriter Africa & Middle East, Swiss Re In his position at Swiss HIGHLY REGARDED Re, he wields considerable influence because of Swiss Re’s powerful brand, reputation and service provision. The reinsurer’s research publications are NEW a great source of data in the region at a time when data transparency is essential.


Ahmed Rajab, CEO of the Middle East & North Africa, Aon Benfield Rajab is now an estabHIGHLY REGARDED lished player on the Power 50 list. In January this year, Mena Insurance Review reported that Aon Benfield’s Middle East division has been granted a NEW as an authorised firm in the Dubai Comar licence to operate 10.7% International Financial Centre (DIFC). Rajab said that the provider would continue to bring INDUSTRY INDUSTRY new resources, technology and innovation to the Mena LEADER LEADER region. INDUSTRY LEADER

William Wakeham, CEO of AAIB Insurance Brokers Founded in 2005 NEW by Wakeham, AAIB is today one of the leading international insurance brokers specialising in high risk insurance solutions for emerging and post conflict locations. George Kabban, CEO of United Insurance Brokers (DIFC) Highly respected by his peers, Kabban’s leadership means UIB is a leading player in the Mena insurance world. An original thinker, Kabban is a fine speaker ready to share his ideas on the way forward for the industry. UIB (DIFC) is also a previous winner of Reinsurance Broker of the Year at the Mena Insurance Awards. Paul Holmes, MD of Al Futtaim Willis Middle East With over HIGHLY REGARDED 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, Holmes’ diverse experience of underwriting, marketNEW ing, operational and sales management in the region has helped take the business to the next level. Joseph Azar, general manager of Nasco Karaoglan

Industry veteran Azar is renowned for his contacts and level of expertise in the Mena insurance industry and many readers nominated him. Azar makes this year’s list for the first time.


Peregrine Towneley, chairman of Middle East & North Africa division, JLT With his international industry knowledge and expertise, Towneley is an important player in the Mena insurance industry. Given that JLT is said to be close to finalising a retail acquisition in the Middle East, Towneley’s influence could be set to increase further. Wael Khatib, President and CEO, Lockton (MENA) Credit must go to Khatib for his role in Lockton MENA’s success story. Based in the DIFC, Lockton’s service range to clients in the Mena region is diverse and includes areas, such as facultative and treaty reinsurance as well as energy and marine. Kenneth Maw, president and group CEO of Insure Direct (Brokers) Maw has been a leading figure in the UAE Insurance Market, having resided in Dubai

for over 25 years. In November 2012, Maw was named a member of the board of directors of Worldwide Broker Network (WBN), the world’s largest fully integrated network of independent property and casualty and employee benefits brokers.

OTHERS James Portelli, general manager of United Insurance Company A Chartered InsurNEW ance Practitioner by profession, James Portelli has spent the last 15 years of his almost 25-year insurance career in the Middle East. He is currently the general manager of United Insurance Company (UIC), one of the older UAE companies listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Market. Portelli’s incisive and thought-provoking analysis is exactly the type of thinking needed by the Mena insurance industry, if it is to continue innovating.

Wayne Jones, partner, Clyde & Co Jones deserves his place in the Power 50 list because he is a leading insurance lawyer in the region. Jones and his colleagues continue to make a significant contribution to the Mena insurance industry by providing expert advice, insight and information. The Clyde & Co team also update Mena IR readers with a quarterly regulation update. Younis Al Sayed, chairman of the Bahrain Insurance Association and chief executive of Takaful International Al Sayed is a powerful advocate for Bahrain’s insurance industry and his joint responsibilities give him a great deal of influence in the region. Kevin Willis, director of financial institution rating services at Standard & Poor’s Willis consistently provides expert analysis on insurance companies and markets in the Mena insurance region. Always approachable and media friendly, his objective view and

Tunisia: insurance industry share in 2010 Others 56%

STAR 18.4%

GAT 8%

AMI 8%


intellectual rigour are highly regarded by Mena IR readers. Vasilis Katsipis, general manager, market development, A.M. Best – MENA, South & Central Asia Katsipis, plays a key role in building relationships with stakeholders in the industry throughout the Mena region. Recent years have seen A.M. Best developing from a new entrant in the region to a leading rating agency for (re) insurance companies. Fareed Lutfi, secretary general of both the Emirates Insurance Association and the Gulf Insurance Federation Lutfi was consistently named by his peers as a key influencer in the industry. And it is easy to see why. Simply, Lutfi provides a great source of industry knowledge and insight. He clearly recognises the challenges faced by the industry and is a driver for change and innovation. Ian Johnston, chief executive of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)

Johnston was appointed as chief executive of the DFSA in June 2012, making him a key figure in shaping the future of the industry. The DFSA is an independent regulator for the DIFC, a financial free-zone established in Dubai. The DFSA’s regulatory regime has been tailor-made to suit the DIFC, and to the highest international standards. Khalid Althieb, insurance supervision department at Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) SAMA is recHIGHLY REGARDED ognised across the region as an effective and efficient regulator in Saudi Arabia (KSA). Its pro-active approach is NEWin a region the way forward where regulation is too often fragmented. The Regulation Watch update from Clyde & Co in this issue showcases the active approach being taken by SAMA, such as implementing regulations for the Real Estate Finance Law in KSA. It is likely that the new regulation driven by

Egyptian life insurance companies by market share in 2010 Others 29%

Pharaonic American Life Insurance CompanyAlico 16.3%

Misr Insurance Company 36.6%

Allianz Life Assurance 17.9%

Egyptian non-life insurance companies by market share in 2010 Others 36%

Misr Insurance Company 57.4%

Suez Canal Insurance Company 7.3%

SAMA will promote insurance premium growth in KSA.

ONES TO WATCH Dr. Francesco Paolucci, director, department of health financing & Insurance at Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health (SCH) is introducing a national health insurance plan to be rolled out in stages by 2014. Paolucci is therefore a key individual at SCH. H.E. Ebrahim Obaid Al Zaabi, acting director general at the UAE Insurance Authority Since its inception by virtue of the Federal Law No.6 of 2007, the UAE’s Insurance Authority has arguably achieved progressive strides in developing the UAE’s insurance sector. Al Zaadi’s strategy for the authority over the next year will be worth monitoring. H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Saoud Al-Thani, governor of Qatar’s Central Bank The Qatar Central Bank (QCB), which regulates

the banking and financial services institutions, assumed responsibilities for licensing and supervising insurance companies, reinsurers and intermediaries in December 2012. This will help harmonise insurance regulation in Qatar.

NORTH AFRICA Senior insurance executives in North Africa are absent from this year’s Power 50 list. The pie charts throughout this feature show the leading companies in the North African markets based on their respective market share. This data has been sourced from the Insurance Intelligence Center. Libya While precise industry market share figures are unavailable in Libya, the Libyan insurance industry is dominated by six companies: African Insurance Company; Libya Insurance Company; Sahara Insurance Company; Trust Insurance Company; United Insurance Company; and Takaful Insurance Company.

Power 50 List  

Compiled from reader nominations and an anonymous panel of judges, Mena Insurance Review’s 2013 Power 50 showcases the 50 people who wield t...