More than 400 international Islamic insurance industry leaders gathered at the 10th Anniversary Special Edition of the World Takaful Conference (WTC 2015) in Dubai
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: 21 April 2015: The 10th Anniversary edition of the World Takaful Conference concluded yesterday with over 400 international Islamic insurance leaders attending the landmark event. Supported by the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFC Authority), the event was attended by key decision-makers representing over 150 international and regional organizations. A powerful line-up of more than 50 international speakers and industry thought leaders discussed critical issues that the global takaful industry is currently facing and how the industry needs to be reshaped for greater success.
WTC 2015 was officially inaugurated on the 13th of April 2015 with an opening keynote address by Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), the inaugural speech focussed on establishing Takaful as a strong pillar of the Islamic economy. This was immediately followed by a special keynote sessions featuring H.E. Ebrahim Obaid Al Zaabi, Director General, Insurance Authority and Chirag Shah, Chief Strategy & Business Development Officer, DIFC Authority.
As the official supporter for the 10th anniversary of WTC 2015, DIFC Authority speaker, Chirag Shah started his speech by reiterating that Islamic finance is at the heart of Dubai's agenda and integral to grow its plans. As such, Dubai has the potential to play a global role for the Takaful and Re Takaful industry, supporting Asian and Western markets seeking to develop their Islamic finance capabilities. That being said, Shah stated, Takaful is not penetrated enough and the infrastructure needs to be further developed to meet the Takaful needs of the growing Muslim population. In that vein, Shah reiterated DIFC's support of the Takaful and Re Takaful industry through its regulatory infrastructure. 'In our ten year history, we've provided the same global standards to our institutions but operating from Dubai to tap the flow between East and West,' he said. Shah ended his speech by stating that the potential of Takaful needs to be translated into reality, requiring significant innovation, action and infrastructure development.
'We need to reorient ourselves, as we cannot copy conventional models and this is where innovation comes to play,' he said.
Speaking at the keynote session, Abdulla Al Awar noted that “The global takaful industry has exhibited an exponential growth over the past few years. One of the major factors is the development of overall Islamic economy, others include robust regulatory frameworks, increasing customer awareness and low penetration rates. The key challenges that the global takaful industry face are intense competition, depreciating profit margins, operating efficiency and scalability. For the global takaful industry to achieve its goal of long-term stability, it is imperative to find pioneering solutions to cope with the challenges of an increasingly competitive takaful market. This year’s World Takaful Conference (WTC 2015) held under the theme of “Revitalizing the Industry: A New Way Forward for Takaful” presents meaningful insights on reenergizing the industry and setting a new way forward.”
A major highlight of this year’s 10th Anniversary edition of WTC was the industry leaders’ Power Debate session, which featured significant debates and discussions on how takaful operators can adapt to revitalize the industry and evaluating new strategies to put the industry on a growth path. The debate was led by Mohamed Hussein El Dishish, CEO, Emirates Retakaful Limited (EmiratesRE) and featuring Ghassan Marrouche, CEO, Noor Takaful; Amer Daya, CEO, Al Hilal Takaful; Firas El Azem, General Manager, Takaful Re Limited; Irshied Tayeb, Head of Insurance & Reinsurance, Bin Shabib & Associates (BSA) LLP; and Lakhdar Moussi, Independent Consultant, Advisor to PineBridge Investments Middle East.
Day two of WTC 2015 featured several high-profile sessions such as an exclusive on-stage interview session with a leading pioneer in the Takaful industry. Interviewed by Nicolas Parasie, Reporter of the Wall Street Journal, Fareed Lutfi, Secretary General of the Emirates Insurance Association and Gulf Insurance Federation and a renowned industry figure, shared his unique insights into the progress of the global Islamic insurance industry over the past decade and discussed what the industry needed to do going forward.
Speaking about the event, Dr. Saleh Malaikah, Chairman, Rusd International Holding Group, Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, SALAMA Group said, “Over the last few years the Takaful industry has experienced increasing prominence as a potential high-growth component of the Islamic finance industry, with the Middle East and Malaysia leading the way as the primary growth markets. Moving beyond its niche market status, the industry is steadily building roots strong enough to take its place alongside the conventional insurance industry as a valid alternative in key markets. Though the volume of total global Takaful contributions has increased sharply, most companies operating in the sector are finding it challenging to maintain their profitability levels. We have been strong partners over the decade of the World Takaful Conference and we believe the 10th Anniversary Special Edition of the World Takaful Conference is a great platform to discuss critical challenges and key opportunities that are currently being faced in the industry.”
The WTC 2015 exhibition was held along the sidelines of the conference and showcased the latest innovative products, services, as well as thought leadership.