Al Madina expects robust takaful insurance growth in Oman
June 15, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Al Madina Insurance will start a series of new initiatives to highlight the difference between takaful and conventional insurance business. Photo: Jun Estrada/Times of Oman

Muscat: Al Madina Insurance anticipates a robust growth in takaful insurance business in Oman, if the trend in neighbouring countries is any indication.

Al Madina, which has a customer base of 37,000 policy holders, expects the market to grow between OMR60 million to OMR70 million in worst case scenario and OMR150 million to OMR180 million in best case scenario in the next three to five years, the company's chief executive officer Gautam Datta, told journalists here, on the sidelines of launching a raffle promotion for its customers.

"These are broad estimates based on neighbouring market positions, which could be very different in Oman context," he said, adding that it is very difficult to estimate the market potential.

Datta said his company did not change the premium, after converting it into an Islamic insurance company from January this year. "The big advantage for Al Madina is that we started off with about 37,000-38,000 policy holders' data base. Since we have been operating for the last six to seven years, we have already set up the infrastructure." A newly formed company has to factor in prices for all these additional costs.

Datta said his company would start a series of initiatives to highlight the difference between takaful and conventional insurance business.

Referring to re-insurance, he said Al Madina is one among few companies that have a re-insurance programme of over 55 per cent. "The challenge is that we do not have enough re-takaful companies to take our full capacity. Munich Re withdrawn from Omani market, after Cyclone Gonu," he explained.

Datta noted that the Capital Market Authority has given some assurance to give relaxation in investment ceilings.  

"CMA has given us an assurance that if we come up with investment solutions where it requires weaver, they will consider it depending on its merit. They have allowed us to cross our limit in sukuk because we do not have enough instruments in Oman."

Takaful firms are not allowed to invest more than 40 per cent of their investible funds in equity market and 10 per cent in government bonds.

He said Al Madina is planning to expand its retail and personal lines portfolio. "While the large corporates will always have a place, the focus will be to expand the consumer segment," Datta said, adding; "Our distribution channels will be expanded. Currently we are located in four places, which will be expanded. We will also have other channels of distribution line banks."

Raffle scheme
Al Madina Takaful has launched an attractive promotion for customers to 'Insure & Win a Mini Cooper.' Customers who sign up for a new comprehensive motor insurance policy or renew their existing comprehensive insurance policy stand a chance to win a brand new Mini Cooper car, over the next twelve months in a promotion draw that will be held once a quarter.

Speaking on the launch of the promotion, Usama Al Barwani, deputy CEO, Al Madina Takaful said; "As Oman's first takaful provider, Al Madina Takaful has won the trust of customers to offer a world of takaful products, and the latest promotion is a thoughtful gesture from the company to give back to our customers."

"The comprehensive motor insurance policy from Al Madina Takaful comes with a host of benefits, and each quarter, customers get an extra reward of a chance to win a premium car."

The promotion that starts on June 16, is envisaged as year-long promotion where four cars will be given away, one every quarter. The first draw is proposed be held on October 15, and will be supervised by an independent authority.

"We are excited to launch this promotion before the beginning of Ramadan, as customers look forward to buying new cars during this period, and it is also a time to enjoy the rewards of engaging in a financial transaction that is based on Sharia," said Usama Al Barwani.

"We have established a diverse range of products and services across industry segments. Building

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