Saudi insurers lead GCC region in net profit and revenues, study shows

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RIYADH: The net profit of insurance companies in Saudi Arabia surged by 1,221.3 percent year-on-year in 2023 to $861 million, driven by favorable economic conditions. 

According to the report released by research firm Insurance Monitor, in association with Lux Actuaries and Consultants, four firms from the Kingdom grabbed their spots on the list of the 10 largest coverage companies in the Gulf Cooperation Council region in terms of revenue. 

The rankings come as 2023 saw the start of operations of the Insurance Authority in Saudi Arabia, described in the study as “a significant structural reform well-timed with the robust growth in insurance revenue to pave the way for regulatory independence and sectoral advancement.” 

Saudi insurers Bupa Arabia and Tawuniya were placed first and second respectively on the list, with revenues in 2023 amounting to $4.2 billion for the former, and $4.07 billion for the latter.

Al Rajhi Takaful, which placed eighth on the list, had revenues of $1.12 billion, while MedGulf, with revenues of $888 million, was placed ninth. 

Overall, insurance firms in Saudi Arabia witnessed a revenue rise of 26.6 percent to $15.14 billion in 2023 compared to the previous year. 

According to the research firm, this increase was attributed to price hikes and the surge in demand from regulatory enforcement. 

Bupa Arabia also topped GCC firms with a net profit of $251 million.

The report said 2023 was a record year for listed insurers in Saudi Arabia, adding: “With revenue growth sustained at 27 percent and profit yielded by all 25 insurers, averaging the sector’s ROE (return on equity) at 16.8 percent compared to 1.4 percent last year when more than half the market reported losses,”

The study also highlighted notable developments in the Kingdom last year, including the issuance of a license to Saudi Mortgage Guarantee Services Co., also known as Dhamanat, to conduct life and non-life coverage business in Saudi Arabia. 

In 2023, Cigna was granted the first foreign branch license to commence operations in the Kingdom. 

The permit issuance was part of the Saudi Central Bank’s strategy to encourage foreign direct investments, increase the sector’s competitiveness, and utilize the Kingdom’s economic potential.

GCC insurer’s revenue soars 19% to $32.2bn in 2023

Overall, GCC insurers’ revenues surged by 19 percent to $32.2 billion in 2023 compared to the previous year. 

According to the report, this positive performance by insurance firms in the region was spearheaded by regional heavyweights Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

In the UAE market, insurers’ revenues grew by 20.3 percent year-on-year to $8.25 billion in 2023. 

Net profit of these firms stood at $861 million last year, representing an increase of 19 percent compared to the same period of the previous year. 

UAE’s Orient Insurance grabbed the fourth place of the biggest insurers in the region with a revenue of $1.73 billion, while Sukoon, also from the Emirates, was placed sixth in the list with $1.26 billion. 

The total revenues of insurance companies in Qatar, however, fell by 0.7 percent year-on-year in 2023 to $3.29 billion. 

Qatari firms’ net profit also declined 68 percent to $107 million in 2023 compared to the previous year. 

For the remaining region, earnings growth has been largely sustained by strong investment returns, while underwriting performance has generally weakened, with the highest deterioration of 3.8 percent points observed in the UAE. 

“An example is Oman, where the combined net profit of listed insurers rose by 19 percent to $50.8 million in 2023, boosted by a 32 percent increase in investment income that was largely generated by the sultanate’s top three insurers,” said the report. 

For LIVA, Oman’s leading provider, 2023 was conceivably a foundational year following the acquisition of RSA Middle East in July 2022. 

Following the large-scale regional integration and group rebranding, LIVA reported a 43.2 percent rise in revenue to SR809 million, helping the company earn a spot among the top 10 insurers in the region. 

The analysis also pointed out that the earnings of coverage firms in the region have been largely sustained by a significant increase of 92.4 percent in investment income while underwriting performance has generally weakened.

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