Insurance sector opens up opportunities for Omanis

n trend with the growth of the insurance sector in the Sultanate over the past five years, the number of Omanis joining this sector has been gradually increasing as well. Nevertheless, this sector needs to get more Omani talent in the coming years to balance employment ratios that are currently more in favour of expatriates. This can be achieved only through the training of nationals for jobs held by non-Omanis.
At the same time, the number of public shareholding companies established in this sector has been increasing over the past years too. So have the number of private hospitals and health centres in various parts of the country. Consequently, the authorities concerned must organise more training programmes to qualify young Omanis for job growth in this vital sector.
Omani society is still a young society with around 45 per cent of the people under 20 years of age, while only 6 per cent are about 60 years, according to 2016 data. The average size of the Omani family is 7.8 persons; based on current maternity rates, averaging four live births per Omani woman, the size of the Omani population is expected to double over the next 25 to 30 years, assuming current fertility and death rates stay the same.
Given these trends, the health, insurance and related sectors represent promising markets for national employment. The Capital Market Authority (CMA), which oversees the insurance sector in the Sultanate, organises a number of training programmes in cooperation with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Recently, the Authority celebrated the conclusion of the training of 230 Omani recruits of insurance and brokerage firms. This was achieved in the framework of the CMA’s strategy for driving Omanisation in the insurance sector.
The insurance sector in the Sultanate is witnessing today high growth in insurance premiums, with the share of the health insurance segment rising significantly as well. Health insurance premiums now account for 33 per cent of the total insurance premiums, surpassing motor insurance, which has a 31 per cent share. According to the Capital Market Authority statistics, insurance firms operating in the Sultanate generated RO 248.7 million in business last year. The total assets of insurance companies increased to RO 1.105 billion, entailing a growth of around 5 per cent.
Of RO 463.495 million raised in insurance premiums last year, the share of health insurance premiums totalled RO 152.298 million — representing 37.7 per cent of the total. This growth in the insurance sector represents a challenge to the authorities in striking a balance in the portfolio of the insurance sector and risk diversification. It faces other challenges because of the scarcity of technical and managerial competencies that can manage the insurance portfolio, especially in the health insurance. At the same time, more investment is needed in private hospitals, equipment and medical specialists to meet the increasing demand for healthcare services from a population size of 4.6 million people, of whom 45 per cent are expatriates. Moreover, hospitals, health and medical centres should also be suitably classified.
The next stage will witness an uptick in training and qualifying programmes designed to channel more numbers of young Omanis into this key industry. These efforts should also include initiatives to build the technical and managerial competencies of Omani personnel to meet the requirements of this sector.