About five new companies offering Islamic insurance, or takaful, are expected to launch in the UAE by mid 2011, boosting competition, industry executives said last week of October, 2010.
"At least four to five companies have applied for licences and they could launch initial public offerings (IPOs)," Ezzeldin Elmassry, chief operating officer of Abu Dhabi National Islamic Finance (ADNIF), told a round table.
"There is fierce competition between takaful and conventional insurance companies," he said, adding that there are 54 insurance firms in the UAE.
ADNIF, the Islamic finance unit of National Bank of Abu Dhabi, plans to launch a takaful company in the first quarter of 2011 in a joint venture with three Abu Dhabi government backed firms.
Insurance penetration rates in the Middle East are among the lowest in the world at about 1 percent of per capita expenditure compared to 9 or 10 percent in Western countries, said Osama Abdeen, CEO of Abu Dhabi National Takaful Company.
The new takaful firms are mostly backed by strong existing entities, said ADNIF's Elmassry.
An official of the UAE regulator Securities & Commodities Authority said several applications for insurance licences are pending and some would be approved shortly, declining to provide any names.
Takaful Brunei Darussalam formalised the renaming of its two subsidiaries and launched their new logos yesterday.
The state-owned insurance operator said that it had renamed both of its subsidiaries to reflect their future business functions in line with the requirements of the Takaful Order, 2008.
Syarikat Takaful Brunei Darussalam Sdn Bhd was formed on April 4, 2007 to facilitate the merger of the two state-owned firms Takaful IBB Berhad and Takaful BIBD Sdn Bhd.
In July this year, the companies were renamed - Takaful Brunei Am Sdn Bhd (formerly known as Takaful IBB Berhad') and Takaful Brunei Keluarga Sdn Bhd (formerly known as "Takaful BIBD Sdn Bhd").
The renaming and unveiling of logo ceremony was officiated by Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Major General (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Awang Hj Mohammad bin Hj Daud, the Chairman of Takaful Brunei Darussalam.