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New rules boost insurance in Bahrain: Regulator


MANAMA, Bahrain— Regulatory changes and new rules for captives and takaful companies are bearing fruit in a growing Bahrain insurance market, the head of the country's regulatory agency claimed.

Bahrain over the past year has continued implementation of a new regulatory framework developed after it created a single regulator for the country's financial services industry in 2002, said Rasheed M. Al Maraj, governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain. Comprehensive solvency requirements and on-site examinations of insurers are among the most recent regulatory moves to be enforced, he said.

In an address opening the 4th Annual Middle East Insurance Forum in Manama, Bahrain on May 8, Mr. Al Maraj said that new insurance rules implemented last year also address the creation of captives in Bahrain and include regulations for creating Islamic insurers.

"The results of these initiatives — regional firsts and probably a world first with respect to rules for takaful firms — are now beginning to bear fruit," he said.Bahrain has attracted several foreign insurers in recent months and some established local insurers may worry about increased competition, Mr. Al Maraj pointed out.

"However, I do firmly believe that there is room for expansion and scope for generating new business. New players can help make the insurance cake bigger; it is not a zero-sum game."