Despite choppy environmental, economic and geopolitical conditions, there are green shoots of opportunities for the industry

Despite choppy environmental, economic and geopolitical conditions, there are green shoots of opportunities for the industry.

This was the positive message from the morning panel discussion at Day One of the Dubai World Insurance Congress 2023.

Chaired by Helen Yates, editor of Global Reinsurance, the panel featured Mike Reynolds, Group CEO, Oneglobal Broking, David Flandro, Head of Industry Analysis and Strategic Advisory, Howden Tiger, Jasmin Fichte, Managing Partner, Fitche & Co, Salmaan Jaffery, Chief Business Development Officer, Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, and Peter Englund, Head of Commercial Insurance Middle East, Zurich.

The industry has been hit with record catastrophe losses in the past decade, the impacts of COVID, inflation, interest rates and war in Ukraine, but the panel still believed there is cause to be upbeat.

Finding solutions

Despite these external factors, the industry should be looking at the opportunities instead. “Good underwriters and good brokers will come with solutions to the issues we face,” said one panelist.

“Where the market is challenged around capacity, around terms and conditions, around providing coverage in certain areas, such as cyber for example, these aspects are all opportunities for those underwriters and brokers to come up with a solution.”

By taking an approach which is “consistently optimistic”, such problems then become a means to instead discovering new opportunities and providing offerings around them.

Emerging markets

One area of potential growth identified for the industry was emerging markets, with one panellist insisting that Asia and South America are not the only growth markets, but also DWIC’s affluent host location itself.

“Dubai is an emerging market when it comes to the insurance industry. Over recent decades, not much has changed on that front here. It is still a closed market in Dubai, so the UAE is an emerging market in this sense and there are several opportunities for growth here,” the panelist said.

The panellist added that it is too difficult for many companies to expand into countries like India, Indonesia, the Philippines, or some African nations. However, it is possible to join forces and create partnerships in certain emerging markets instead.

“Also, there is low growth in many of the major, mature markets, which means many of the opportunities lie in emerging markets instead.”

Data revolution

Another panellist drew attention the potential of data to aid the industry’s growth. They pointed to the launch, growth and success of ChatGPT – an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot.

“Did you know that I can now programme in Python? I can go to ChatGPT, tell it that I have four columns of data and ask it to write the code for me. I have the data programming skills of a 25-year old now,” the panelist said.

“The world around us is changing and it is changing quite rapidly. We are on the cusp of a new data revolution right now. The implementation of AI into our processes could be like the introduction of the internet the 1990s.”