Multaqa: Arabian Gulf insurers discuss new international dynamics after the financial crisis

Middle East insurers are increasingly looking east to Asia for economic recovery and growth, rather than the traditional links with Western markets.

Delegates at the Multaqa conference in Qatar heard that trade links between the Arabian Gulf and Asia are growing more quickly than links with the West. Speakers also said that Middle East insurers and reinsurers are doing more business on an Asian platform, actively avoiding Western markets to avoid catastrophe exposure and competition.

The same sentiment has led to more participation in the Middle East from Asian companies, such as Korean Re, ACR, Toa Re, GIC of India and Malaysian Re.

Dermot Dick, chief executive of Qatar-based Q-Re, said: “The global economic recovery is Asian-led.

“For the reason, our Afro-Asian footprint is helpful for steady growth. We also miss the volatility that derives from exposure to increasingly erratic weather trends and weak economic growth in the US and Europe.”

Jonathan Wilton, chief executive of Bahrain-based ACR Retakaful MEA, which is partly backed by a Singapore-based parent company, said: “Qatar companies feel they should increasingly look eastwards after having looked westwards for so long. My feeling is that it should go both ways.”