Shaikh Abdullah Salim al Salmi (pictured), Executive President of the Capital Market Authority (CMA), has commended the role played by insurance companies in demonstrating solidarity with the community and the local economy as the country deals with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
A number of insurance companies, he said, have contributed to the healthcare (Waqf) fund which is currently providing services in the current circumstances. He praised the initiative of insurance companies to cover the costs of medical tests and treatment of the insured individuals who are infected with the coronavirus, thus helping supplement the efforts of the Supreme Committee, while also responding positively to the appeal of the Authority, in mitigating the cost burden on the government.
Given the succession of natural disasters impacting the Sultanate in recent years, most notably the ongoing pandemic as well as the tropical storm that hit Dhofar Governorate over the weekend, Al Salmi said the CMA is weighing the establishment of a ‘Disaster Fund’ to compensate for damage, as well as coverage of risks, that are generally not covered by currently available insurance products. These risks include epidemics like COVID-19 as well as compensation for these who suffer losses in adverse weather events.
In his press statement, Al Salmi also lauded insurance companies on their efforts in rolling out remote services, as well as online channels, to enable the provision of insurance services to the general public during the lockdown.
The audited financial statements of insurance companies, Al Salmi said, show they enjoy good financial solvency which enables them to deal with crises and to discharge their obligations toward policyholders.
Gross direct premiums of listed insurers increased by 5 percent to RO 486.5 million at the end of 2019 compared to RO 463.5 million in 2018. The sector recorded an average four per cent growth in gross premiums over the last five years. The number of insurance companies licensed to operate was 20 in addition to Oman Reinsurance Company. There were 35 insurance brokers operating in Oman at the end of 2019, in addition to 145 insurance agents.