Secretary general of the General Arab Insurance Federation, kicked off the GAIF34 conference, which is back in Oman for the first time since 2002.

The 34th General Arab Insurance Federation (GAIF) Conference got underway in Muscat today with more than two thousand delegates in attendance.

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Chakib Abouzaid, GAIF’s secretary general, provided an opening speech to the event in Oman, the first time the event has been held there in more than two decades.

“Today, we have the right to celebrate this crowd present at our conference, and more importantly, we have the right to celebrate what the federation has accomplished,” said Abouzaid.

Challenges in the region, underlined by speakers on day one, range from under insurance, highlighted by earthquakes in Turkey, Syria and Morocco, as well as the rise of technological challenges, geopolitical headwinds, and the need to develop local industry talent.

“The insurance industry has not reached the level we aspire to,” he said.

“All insurance premiums do not exceed $45bn, of 1.66% of the Arab GDP, while Arab GDP represents 3.49% of the global sum.

”This means that the weight of the Arab insurance industry does not match the weight of Arab economies,” Abouzaid continued.

“The disasters that hit our Arab region in 2023 have proven the lack of insurance coverage. If we exclude one or two cases, all Arab countries remain exposed to natural catastrophes without the minimum insurance coverage,” he added.

Abouzaid summarised GAIF’s achievements as the region’s industry body for the re/insurance sector with four points.

“GAIF has been and remains the sole representative for insurance and reinsurance companies in the Arab World, and the number of members is a recognition of its position,” said Abouzaid.

“Despite the challenges hindering Arab cooperation, GAIF remains an exception in terms of the level of cooperation among markets represented by associations and companies,” he said.

“The federation has succeeded in organising and facilitating road transportation between Arab companies through the Orange Card, which became digital at the beginning of 2023,” he continued.

“GAIF has successfully build bridges between Arab companies through the organisation of 34 conferences, numerous seminars, a magazine of 160 issues, and a weekly newsletter of 240 issues,” he added.

For the full interview with Abouzaid, published ahead of the conference, click here.