HE Dr. Ahmed Alkholifey, Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), inaugurated the “5thSaudi Insurance Symposium” on Wednesday (March 27) in Riyadh. The event, organized under the theme "Protection and Sustainability" by the Insurance Companies General Committee, brings together senior sector officials and stakeholders from the Kingdom and abroad.
During the opening session, SAMA Governor highlighted the stages of development and growth undergone by Saudi Arabia’s insurance sector, noting that SAMA is striving to further bolster confidence in this important sector by continuing to implement various control measures.
HE Dr. Alkholifey said that the measures implemented to date have helped the sector achieve good growth rates, increasing in volume from SAR 5 billion to around SAR 36 billion, and employing more than 11,000 people compared to just 5,000 with very high Saudization rates.
Speaking on challenges facing the sector, Dr. Alkholifey said, “The most important challenges facing the insurance sector are by and large related to historical factors which resulted in the current low levels of confidence in the performance of insurance companies. As such, these companies need to step up their awareness and educational efforts on the importance of insurance. In addition, they must focus on further diversifying their products, as motor and health insurance policies comprise 85% of the overall insurance policies currently in the market.”
During the panel discussion moderated by Mr. Abdulaziz Al Sedeas, CEO of Al Rajhi Takaful Ins. Co. and Chairman of Insurance General Committee and Mr. Basem Odeh, CEO of Arabian Shield Ins. Co. and Chairman of Insurance Executive Committee, Dr. Alkholifey stated that Saudi Vision 2030 is an ambitious plan, stressing that its programs and initiatives support the various economic transformation and growth programs.
“We hope to see insurance sector working to further engrain the culture of risk management and awareness efforts in order to increase the sector's contribution to GDP, which currently stands at 1.5%,” he said.
On a related note, the Governor of SAMA pointed out the importance of developing all systems and processes related to the financial sector.
“We especially would like to see increased levels of customer satisfaction and faster and more efficient processes for the settlement of claims as this will contribute to boosting confidence in the sector,” he said. “SAMA currently has more than 150 employees focusing on receiving and following up on complaints by coordinating between financial and banking institutions and insurance companies. As of the end of 2018, SAMA received around 30,000 complaints related to insurance sector, most of which have been successfully resolved.”
In the end, HE the Governor revealed that SAMA will soon launch a dedicated resolution center which will handle complaints regarding insurance of motor vehicles whose value is less than SAR 50,000 in order to speed up the resolutions process, noting that the executive regulations and electronic signature of the center have been approved by the majority of insurance companies.