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UAE insurers signalling recovery but regulatory changes create uncertainty, says S&P

October 2016

October 3, 2016 | 14:25 | Dubai

in the UAE made a comeback in the first half of 2016, reporting aggregate profits both on an underwriting basis and a net income basis, after aggregate losses in 2015, said a report published today by S&P Global Ratings. This is against a backdrop of sizable economic pressures in the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), with global oil prices hovering between $30 and $60 per barrel, leading to fiscal pressures, slower economic growth, and volatile stock markets. The UAE is vulnerable to many of these factors, resulting in our reduced forecasts for GDP growth in the coming years. UAE insurers are now progressively adopting the recent regulatory changes issued by the Emirates Insurance Authority, comprising seven key sections addressing financial, technical, investment, and accounting aspects. “While insurers implemented the first phase, covering financial statement disclosures, with few hiccups, in 2016, the real test will be the implementation of the second and third phases,” said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Sachin Sahni.

Insurers will have to abide by the requirements of the second phase by the end of 2016 and the third phase by year-end 2017. “We anticipate that the second phase of regulations will bring uncertainty. We think that any material strengthening in provisions could undo the improvements in profitability we have seen in the first half of 2016,” S&P said.

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