Kuwait 2017 | FINANCE | COLUMN

TBY talks to Tareq A. Wahab Al Sahhaf, CEO, Gulf Insurance & Reinsurance Company (GIRI), on the sector.

Tareq A. Wahab Al Sahhaf

What are the advantages of GIRI's life insurance segment in comparison to the one offered by the Kuwaiti government?

Government hospitals are much better than private hospitals in Kuwait. Private hospitals are just five-star hotels. The problem with state hospitals though is that they are crowded, and the infrastructure has not been upgraded as the population has grown. When it comes to serious procedures or surgeries, however, I would go to a state hospital. So there is no need for insurance. I have private insurance, but it is so I do not have to queue. I will be able to get an MRI immediately, instead of waiting for two months. But our competition remains the government. No matter what we do, it is still difficult for us to sell our products, especially with the personal line. As far as health, housing, and education is concerned, what do Kuwaitis need that for? They already get it for free from the government. With the Kuwaiti insurance segment not being regulated, we further hope that the new law establishing a supervisory body will be passed in parliament soon. Insurance is a profession and somebody from within the industry should be put in place.