World’s richest country per capita can expect growth in 2010; Multaqa conference will discuss opportunities.

Analysts are optimistic about Qatar’s insurance industry despite a relatively stagnant 2009.

A report by Business Monitor International said there is a “high likelihood” that the country will remain one of the worlds fastest growing and the richest in terms of per capita income. It also found that three of the country’s insurers saw growth in 2009 during a difficult year for the Gulf economies.

The authors of the report were also positive about the Qatari Government’s commitment to diversifying the economy away from energy and said the development of the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), overseen by a “highly respected regulator”, is a part of the process.

The BMI report states: “Various foreign suppliers and distributors of insurance-related products have been given approval to commence operations in Qatar. In very general terms, net premiums have moved in line with gross written premiums. This matters, because the insurers typically buy reinsurance amounting to 50-75% of gross written premiums.”

Three local companies Al Khaleej Insurance & Reinsurance, Doha Insurance and Qatar Insurance Company are expected to release modest growth figures for 2009, but BMI forecasts overall gross written premiums in Qatar to have contracted slightly to QAR3,599m in 2009, compared to QAR3,612m in 2008.

Qatar’s insurance industry and its role as a regional hub for insurance and reinsurance is set to be discussed at the Multaqa conference in Qatar on 6th - 8th March.