Saudi Arabia 2017 | FINANCE | COLUMN

TBY talks to Ehab Yousef Linjawi, CEO, Gulf General Cooperative Insurance Company on the sector.

Ehab Yousef Linjawi

How has the market evolved for you over the past five-year period?

Collectively, the Saudi Arabian insurance sector has steadily seen double-digit growth over the last five years. The market has grown at a combined rate of 73%. With this huge growth, the penetration is still 1.5% per capita in 2016. Compared to the global average at 6%, it is quite low, so the opportunity is there. To achieve further growth in gross written premium, the name of the game here is to move the awareness of people from “I purchase insurance because it is compulsory" to “I purchase insurance because I need it and I believe in it." We can gain further growth by providing services and gaining knowledge of new technologies. Medical, motor, and third party insurance were the main drivers in the growth of company products. It is our job to add value to policyholders in new services and technologies.

How can you mimic the banking sector or the payment providers in regards to technology?

The regulators welcome every idea to enhance the service provided to customers; there are no limitations on moving from conventional or manual services to electronic ones. We will soon launch our full online service packages. With the support of SAMA, insurance companies will follow banks' steps in moving from conventional transactions to electronic channels.