With the UAE insurance market estimated to reach USD18 billion by 2021, the opportunities in the sector are boundless.

Cédric Charpentier

CEO, AXA Insurance (Gulf)

Whilst insurance penetration is still relatively low in the UAE and Gulf region as a whole, the insurance industry is starting to be recognized in this part of the world as a key growth contributor. AXA Insurance has been in the region for more than 65 years. In that time, we have built a sustainable business with strong foundations, of which we are extremely proud. Our vision, both here and throughout the AXA Group, is to empower people to live a better life, a great ambition that requires significant dedication from our side. We must bring the most relevant and innovative insurance practices to this market. We are at an advantage, as we belong to the AXA Group and have at hand a wealth of resources and talent from every corner of the globe to do so, and ensure it is right for this region. Another element that helps us reach our vision is quality of service: customer experience and customer centricity. Customer first is a core value at AXA, and drives our ambition and behaviors. The final aspect is risk awareness. It is our duty to make them aware of the risks and what is at stake for their families or businesses. Our communication team works on this continually, year after year.

Dr. Abdul Zahra A. Ali

CEO, National General Insurance Company (NGI)

In 2016, the major changes in the market came from the UAE Insurance Authority (IA) in terms of financial and investment regulations. It made a big change in the market starting from 2016 to streamline corporate governance and ensure standardization with international regulations related to the insurance industry. Thankfully, NGI started adjusting its systems in 2015 because we were aware of the draft and knew the regulation was imminent. The regulations ensure greater transparency overall for insurance companies and open their books to regulators as well as clients. We found ourselves having one of the highest solvency margins in the market because, financially, NGI is strong. In the first three quarters of 2017, we had a growth of 7% while our underwriting profit increased by 22% compared to the year before. For 2018, the number of sales agents will increase from 80 to 150 people, and we will open another branch in Dubai. We have nine branches now, and all are doing extremely well so we need another branch in Dubai. We plan, in 2018, for our new system to be 50% paperless and have this figure grow more in 2019. In 2018, we will study Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. We are also looking at Latin America and Africa, where we can add value in a growing market.

Andrew Smith

CEO, RAK Insurance

2017 was fairly successful for RAK Insurance. We saw a great deal of innovation coming into RAK Insurance over the last 12 months. For example, we launched our mobile app, improved the workflow of our website, and built more capability into our insurance application system. Overall, we have held our own and will hopefully have a positive, successful year. Technology will definitely play a greater role in our business in the future, and the year will see us continue with the development of our website with the introduction of more products and services. We are tech savvy as an organization. We look for technological solutions and have a good platform. This will link into developing our mobile application further in conjunction with our online portal. We are looking at moving some of that capability to other devices like Apple Watch as well in 2018. We are aiming to deliver more self-service to the client through all our digital platforms, including some first-of-their-kind solutions in the UAE. One of the areas we are looking at is allowing clients to settle their own insurance claims under certain conditions. We want to continue introducing more digital self-service capabilities. Companies that do not embrace the technology sector and invest in it will find it increasingly difficult to survive.