20pc growth in Takaful premiums last year

Muscat: Gross direct premiums of Takaful – commonly referred as Islamic insurance – grew 20 per cent to RO 64.167 million in 2019, up from RO 53.584 million a year earlier, in trend with the steady growth of sharia-compliant Islamic finance in the Sultanate.

According to the Capital Market Authority (CMA), which regulates insurance activities in the Sultanate – both conventional and Takaful – Takaful premiums accounted for a 13 per cent share of gross direct premiums collected by insurance companies last year.  It comes against a backdrop of strong growth in the insurance industry in general, with insurance firms recording a five per cent increase in gross direct premiums, which climbed to RO 486.58 million ($1.26 billion) last year.

CMA Executive President Abdullah bin Salim al Salmi credited the growth to the Authority’s continuing efforts to boost the sector’s contribution to the national economy. “Takaful products achieved growth in gross direct premiums by 20 per cent in 2019, compared to the previous year. The share of Takaful was 13.2 per cent of the total insurance portfolio at RO 64 million ($166.2 million),” he stated in the Authority’s newly published Annual Report for 2019.

Direct premiums garnered by the general Takaful segment of the insurance business climbed to RO 54.717 million last year, up from RO 46.914 million a year earlier. General Takaful accounts for a 13 per cent share of the total general insurance business of all insurance firms in the Sultanate. Family Takaful, which has a 16 per cent share of total life insurance business, surged 42 per cent to RO 9.450 million last year.

To accelerate the growth of the insurance market, the CMA has been urging insurance companies to embrace technology and digital solutions in enhancing the delivery of quality services to customers, said Al Salmi. “In this respect, the indicators show that the growth in electronic insurance policies was 59 per cent during 2019 and we expect the year 2020 to witness a further breakthrough in this regard,” he added.