Iran 2017 | FINANCE | B2B

The insurance market is working with foreign partners and investors not only to develop a burgeoning domestic sector, but also to snag a share of the global reinsurance market in the process.

Alireza Bayanian
Managing Director
Arman Insurance
Abdoll Rasol Ataee
Hafez Insurance

What impact have you been able to have on the insurance industry in Iran?

Alireza Bayanian Arman Insurance was founded five years ago by Tourism Bank, Ayandeh Bank, Iran Zamin Bank, and Iranian Investment International Company. The company works in close cooperation with the university and benefits from its expertise. I have been working for Arman Insurance for 10 months, and we are trying to manage the company in line with its mission and goals. I have 44 years of experience in the insurance market, as well as 25 years of university teaching experience on the insurance sector. We focus on training our brokers and agents, and promoting our brand through them to provide services for the welfare of the public. We work on continually expanding training for our agents to help them sell more and provide a better service to our customers in the shortest possible time.

Abdoll Rasol Ataee In 2002, Hafez Insurance became the first private insurance company to be established since the Islamic Revolution. Previously, there had only been private insurance companies nationalized after the revolution. After our establishment, other private insurers followed our lead. Hafez Insurance was founded to improve interactions with international companies in Iran, especially in free trade zones. Our vision is to be the best private insurance company with the strongest relations with international companies. We focus on free zones, the energy sector, and international brokers. Insurance is one of the sectors in Iran that has a long way to go. It has a great deal of potential and can become a great market in the future; however, insurance companies are currently only focused on car accidents and health insurance. In the near future, we expect to increase our interactions with the world and expand our activities. In the Sixth Development Plan of Iran (2016-2021), the penetration rate of the insurance sector is targeted to grow from 2 to 7%. We will see a rapid expansion of insurance activities. Iran is located in a high-risk region of the Middle East, and insurance companies have an important role in creating peace of mind and preventing poverty. Insurance companies will be at the forefront of Iran's economy, together with banks and capital markets.

How do you gauge investor sentiment?

AB The political situation in the region is the key issue in this regard. Foreign investors need to make sure they can get their investments back when they invest in a particular country. They need to have a level of trust that they will receive the benefits of said investment. Even Iranians living abroad are in the same situation as foreigners who want to have a presence here. It is all about securing the insurance market. We also need to improve our technical capabilities to provide foreign investors with the tools they need to do business here. It is definitely one of our main goals to realize partnerships with foreign insurance companies, but the problem is to get to a position where we have a parallel technical system that fits with that of any international insurance company we partner with. We need to have a good plan and level of organization to reach this point.

AA The cultivation of the insurance sector is expanding, and the world's largest companies are ready to enter our country, especially in the reinsurance sector. They have already negotiated their presence and are aware of the risks they face. Before JCPOA, international insurance companies just wanted a share of our insurance sector. Now, we are in a situation in which it works both ways; we also want to gain a share of the international reinsurance market. We will expand our technical knowledge and invest with the help of international investors. We are a general insurance company and cover many insurance segments; however, at this moment reinsurance is the only segment in which we have interactions with international companies. In this way, we are sharing the risks in the energy, shipping, airline, and petrochemical sectors, among others. We want to cooperate with international companies to develop our technical knowledge and educate our staff. In addition, we have plans in the region where we have identified interesting opportunities, particularly in neighboring countries like Iraq. We will work and cooperate with international companies in this region as a public joint company and will share our activities with them in the region. Forming international partnerships is one of our main goals. We are looking at international markets, which is the reason why we focus on free zones.