Looking around him at DWIC 2024, Mohamed Saad Zaghloul, senior executive officer of the Dubai office of Africa Re Underwriting Management Agency, suggested there would be change and “tough discussion” for UAE treaty business at renewals.

Recent heavy rains that struck Dubai itself have highlighted the issue of catastrophe risk exposure within the UAE and its (re)insurance market.


Africa Re’s business in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is focused on Middle East risks, mostly treaty, life and non-life.

Some 10% is facultative business, the remainder treaty, and its DIFC hub is the first office of the company to focus on the Middle East for the Lagos-based group, which has nine offices across Africa.

Upcoming renewals will mean some tough conversations between local market insurers and their reinsurers, Zaghloul (pictured) suggested.

“There’s opportunity to change the limits and to change the structures of the treaties,” he said.

“We’re talking motor, property all risk, all of them. Most of the companies have almost minimal retention, with much of the business going into the treaty, and then also facultative.

“That’s going to lead to a tough discussion this year between reinsurers and the ceding companies.”

Price is the other big issue to discuss, said Zaghloul, focused on whether nat cat exposed rates will be applied.

“There is a big question now, whether the UAE is going to be considered as a nat cat exposed territory,” he said.

“Depending on the severity of the losses, once the claims come, reinsurers will be able to determine the severity. And if it does become a natural catastrophe—which I think it will be—then an emphasis on nat cat rates is going to be done.”

He drew a comparison with cyclone exposures in Oman.

“We know that there’s an accumulation in Dubai, but we also assumed it was not exposed to nat cat. It may be a once-in-a-century catastrophe, but let’s look at the cyclones in Oman.

“Fifteen years ago, Oman was considered exactly like the UAE until the cyclone Gonu hit in 2007.”

Subsequent cyclone activity would lead to the Omani catastrophe risk pool between government and insurance companies. “I think the UAE will take the same route,” Zaghloul added.