I am delighted to be attending the 3rd Sharm El Sheikh Rendezvous as I did two years ago when I was fortunate enough to attend the first such event. Last year the second edition had to be postponed until now. The conference appears to be extremely well attended as it was also combined with the 27th FAIR General Conference and as such attracted delegates from over 35 countries.

The first day kicked off with a warm welcome and some very interesting keynote addresses from amongst others, The Egyptian Finance Minister H.E. Dr. Mohamed Maait, The Minister of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs, H.E. Nabila Makram, the Vice Chairman for Financial Inclusion – Egypt Post, Mr. Khaled Emam in addition to the Key executives of both FAIR and the Egyptian Insurance Federation.

Clearly, Egypt has weathered the Covid Storms better than most countries and is embarking on an exciting investment program that aims to deliver even more prosperity to the country, more jobs, and improved living standards, earmarking excess of US$ 50 Billion in new projects/infrastructure, etc. It was gratifying to hear that the country’s deficit reduced during the tumultuous Covid period and GDP had grown well above the IMF’s expectations. For the Insurance industry, this makes Egypt an exciting place to be and an attractive environment for future investment. The subject of Micro Insurance was also discussed and new initiatives developed alongside Egypt Post which through its network of post offices can provide another valuable distribution network for these types of products and reach out to consumers in the lower-income bracket.

Overseas Tourism has yet to pick up and when this eventually does, the country will enjoy even more prosperity brought by the millions of foreign tourists who are no doubt keen to return to Egypt and enjoy all the magnificent sites and experiences that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. To stamp this message further, delegates were provided with a marvelous lecture presented by the organizer’s guest of honor, Former Minister of State for Antiquities Affair’s, Dr. Zahi Hawass, who as Omar Sherif modestly described him as his successor as Egypt’s most famous personality and undoubtedly remains the world’s foremost archaeologist! We clearly have still much more to look forward to as he ended his presentation declaring that Egypt’s sands have only revealed probably 1/3rd of what could be out there.

 

 

Over the next two days, the conference will tackle a number of subjects dealing with Insuretech, digitization, and the future transformation of the insurance industry.

Berns Brett Masaood (BBM), the Abu Dhabi-based independent  insurance broker, financial adviser and risk management company, has confirmed the acquisition of Dubai-based consultancy Refpoint Insurance Consultants LLC (RPIC). It is a strategic move that strengthens its already extensive services in insurance, risk management and financial services and expands its regional footprint.
The investment underscores BBM’s far-reaching brokerage capabilities, top-level consultancy services, and sophisticated risk transfer solutions, in addition to its burgeoning corporate network, which also includes a large retail business and a growing reinsurance division.
RPIC specialises in insurance portfolio management andadvisory support from its Dubai Maritime City location, providing clients with the tools to develop sophisticated and cost-effective risk transfer solutions, supported by latest technology and research.
Vedanta Baruah, CEO and shareholder of BBM, said: “We view RPIC as an ideal fit and a vital component in realising our aggressive growth targets and robust expansion plans. This acquisition is an emphatic demonstration of our aim to be the number one broker in the UAE and the standout leader in a country that is fast becoming a global centre of excellence for the insurance sector.
“The global insurance industry has witnessed a sharp drop in the past 18 months, however  BBM remained focused and was least affected due to the UAE’s thriving economy, our leading market position and the advantage we own in garnering loyal customers. This has enabled us to grow our portfolio of offerings through key partnerships, and achieve a satisfactory financial performance, marking the 12th consecutive year of this growth trajectory.”
Following the acquisition, RPIC Managing Director Ken Maw will continue in his current role while working closely with the BBM Executive Director team of Alka Sudhakaran, KS Krishnan, Lavanya Mamidanna and Sam Carter on business alignment and development and reinforcing BBM’s overall proposition.
Maw said: “We are at the cusp of building some exciting associations across Africa and Asia, which will align nicely with our colleagues at BBM. I look forward to getting the wheels turning and all the necessary building blocks in place.”
Baruah, who was recently awarded a 10-year Golden Visa for the UAE in the investor and entrepreneur category, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us all to personally grow and learn more. We have remained true to our promise to invest in the UAE as our hub and to use this as a base to explore new opportunities in emerging markets. This new association and the wealth of relationships and skills it brings will fuel and accelerate this process.”

Kenneth Maw has joined Universal Assuretech as Board Director. Universal Assuretech, headquartered in Singapore is an insuretech which amalgamates vast insurance knowledge on to its technology platform UServeTM.

 

 

Welcoming Kenneth Maw on Board of Universal Assuretech, Abhinav Puri, Co-founder and Executive Director of Universal Assuretech said “We transform insurers to become insurance service providers. UServeTM is an outcome of over decades of deep knowledge and experience of insurance domain specialists and technology experts amalgamated for an end-to-end technology suite. UServeTM is unique, composite and extremely user friendly making it a pioneering experience for the new age insurance users. The founders of Universal Assuretech have brought forth their conviction that technology has to be married to end customers’ insurance needs by way of a user friendly and seamless platform. We welcome Ken on board. The exemplary work Ken and his team have undertaken in the last three decades in the insurance sector in Middle East shall be of immense value to Universal Assuretech in fulfilling its objectives of disrupting this vast industry.”

 

 

Kenneth Maw said “I am delighted to be on Board of Universal Assuretech which has been set up with the vision of disrupting the information asymmetry in the insurance industry by creating a seamless and open access technology bridge, UServeTM, between the insurance providers and the end customers. In today’s digital world, consumers are looking at flexibility, simplicity, choice and personalization in their interaction with the insurance providers and UServeTM aims to be the technology bridge enabling this connectivity. Universal Assuretech enables insurers penetrate the market thereby positively impacting their top line and also helps in reducing the distribution cost to make them more profitable. It is a WIN-WIN for insurers as well as end customers.”

 

UServeTM aims to create strategic partnerships with the top insurers, both life and non-life, to extend their geographical reach and also enable them to provide personalized services to their existing and prospective customers.

After extensive market research, Universal Assuretech has planned its addressable market to be South East Asia, Middle East and Africa.

Refpoint Insurance Consultants (RPIC) and RedAir Limited in London have signed an agreement that will see RPIC bring RedAir’s innovative blockchain-based flight delay compensation service, Red Assist, to the Middle East.

 

 

Recognizing the value of RPIC’s long-established relationships with key airlines in the GCC, RedAir is also keen to harness RPIC’s knowledge of the insurance markets to help it to best position its service, RedAssist, with low cost carriers (LCCs) and full service carriers (FSCs) – oLen referred to as ‘budget’ airlines and ‘flag’ carriers. RedAssist is a transformational service that reduces the costs of administration for airlines in handling complaints and claims. With time savings come cost savings plus an increase in customer satisfaction as claims are processed immediately and automatically with payment made to passengers in minutes.

 

 

 

Insurance companies and airlines are oLen perceived as deliberately delaying the process of paying passengers’ compensation. RedAssist removes that perception. Offering the flexibility to cater for legislation internationally (EU261, etc.) and reflecting compensation payments accordingly, RedAssist enables airlines to “make things right, when things go wrong”.

RPIC deal with RedAir

Ken Maw of RPIC (l) and Richard Marsden of RedAir (r) chose to bring the services to regional airlines for their excellent services.

RedAir’s CEO Richard Marsden said, “With air travel set to double over the next 20 years (according to the IATA), RedAssist’s innovation and automation will be required more and more by established and new airlines. The Middle East is one of a number of regions that is set to see major growth – Asia and LATAM being two of the others. Being able to deliver the levels of customer service that are synonymous with the culture of the Middle East was one of the main reasons that we elected to work with RPIC. It already has an excellent reputation in both the insurance market and the GCC and RedAir is keen to align to like-minded partners, like this to serve the MENA Market.”

Ken Maw, MD of RPIC, commented, “Bringing innovative new services like RedAssist to the GCC made perfect sense to me. Giving customers an experience like no other is what the Middle East’s airlines are world renowned for. Excellence in customer service is what Middle East airlines deliver like few other airlines internationally. Bringing this value-added service to their passengers will see them take passenger experience to yet another level for the rest of the world to aspire to. RPIC is proud to partner with RedAir to enhance both passenger experience and airline efficiency.”

Refpoint Insurance Consultants LLC (RPIC) considers increasing demand likely for specialist Insurance Consultancy services in the Kingdom…

by Natasha Keats {Original Article can be found here}

Attending conferences provides an opportunity for Axco to expand our industry knowledge as well as an excellent forum to meet with customers and contacts to exchange ideas. Ken Maw, MENA Regional Ambassador for Axco recently attended the Sharm El Sheikh Rendezvous. This first rendition, of what will be an annual event, brought together re/insurance industry professionals from all over the world, a large contingent of whom came from the MENA region. Ken met with many of the key movers and shakers including a brief meeting with Egypt’s Minister of Finance, Minister of Public Enterprise and the Governor of South Sinai who were present for the opening ceremony.

The conference theme “Spreading Precious Ideas” reflected the collective desire to improve the future of the industry. Over 2 days, delegates were treated to a series of very well-presented panel discussions and keynote presentations, conducted mainly in English but audio headphones with simultaneous translation were readily available to ensure everyone could benefit from the various discussion topics.

An Exhibition Area outside the main hall was a showcase for many major industry players and providers as well as private meeting rooms. All in all, plenty of opportunities to mix, network and build new friendships throughout the region.

The main learning point was the potential spoken of the Egyptian Insurance market. Although still relatively small, it is one of the fastest growing in the world with plenty of untapped potential. Experts expect it to expand in double-digit figures and it will no doubt benefit from large-scale infrastructure projects across all major sectors including oil & gas, mining and power as well delving into other commercial lines and the massively untapped individual personal lines business where the subject of “Micro Insurance” opportunities was highlighted. Unsurprisingly this scope for development echoes the views from Axco’s insurance market report.

My thanks and congratulations are extended to the organisers for what was an excellent program, I am sure with the success of this first such event at Sharm El Sheikh, the future renditions will become even grander.