Company gains new licence from the Dubai International Financial Centre

Zurich Insurance Company has been granted a licence that will allow the company to expand its Middle East activities and conduct general insurance operations from the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”).

The company will focus on complex and difficult-to-place insurance risks, assisting local insurers and large corporate customers.

In a statement the company said its decision was due to the “growing independence and self-reliance” of the Middle East insurance market, which is expected to double in size over the next five years.

Zurich Insurance Company intends to use its base at DIFC as the hub from which to further expand its presence in the Middle East and North Africa region.

The licence adds to the company’s existing presence in Dubai and the Middle East – Zurich has been operating in the region since 1986 and opened a life division at the DIFC in 2005.

Saad Mered, chief executive officer of Zurich Middle East, the business unit responsible for driving ZIC’s activities in the region, said the company will have a senior, full-empowered underwriting team based in the region.

He said: “We are delighted to be part of the DIFC and share the vision of having a long-term and mutually beneficial partnership in this unique financial services district. Zurich has a strong history in the UAE and with the DIFC, and we look forward to actively contributing to the regional economy and further market development through the opportunities presented by our growing operation in DIFC.”

“The Gulf area represents huge potential,” Mered added. “We estimate that the current levels of insurance only represent about 2% penetration of GDP, whereas in more mature markets, this percentage rises to around 10%. It is estimated that the regional market could double over the coming years as businesses become more aware of the value that insurance offers.”