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Interview: Christos Adamantiadis
Managing director of Chartis Memsa, Middle East and North Africa, foresees a promising market of opportunities
August 19, 2012 12:16 by kippreport
What emphasis do you give to improving underwriting performance?
Chartis’ stated vision globally is to be the most valuable insurance provider. That, by itself, underlines and highlights the importance of bottom line in our corporate business objectives. Having said that, the Middle East is also seen by Chartis’ leadership as one of the prime growth regions globally – so it won’t come as a surprise that we have very ambitious plans for our Middle East operations in general, and our UAE operation in particular.
Are you currently running any initiatives to bring more Emiratis into the business?
In general, Chartis has always operated under the principle that we need to give back to society part of the goodwill that is generated through the trust local communities show to Chartis. This is one of our key operating principles around the world. Specifically for the UAE, we are working on several social responsibility initiatives that are meant to make insurance more appealing, both as an institution as well as a career opportunity, to the local Emirati community.
Has your business shown a marked improvement in the ‘bottom line’ in the past 12 months?
Our UAE business has always been a relatively healthy-margin operation, so in that sense we are continuing along the same path, with no major deviation from the robust past experience.
Do you believe the UAE market is well placed to defend itself against overseas competition?
The UAE is increasingly being seen as a regional insurance hub; right now, I cannot see any reason why this trajectory should not be reinforced going forward.
How do you feel international insurers with a presence here in the UAE compare to local providers?
Both local and international players have something to offer and contribute to the fabric of the UAE insurance industry. Without wishing to generalize, local players are typically better connected within the UAE business landscape, while international players are endowed with more capacity as well as access to global knowhow and experience. To grow and become established, the industry needs a blend of both access and experience.
What are your expectations for the coming year?
In Chartis we believe the market is going to grow in line with 2012, with a lot of good things happening in terms of market presence and visibility.
How can you outperform the current market trends here in the UAE?
Arabia and the UAE have been identified as one of the more promising markets for Chartis. That, in itself, will attract a lot of Chartis’ focus and investment in the region. While we don’t benchmark our success against the market growth rate, we should expect to grow by at least twice the market CAGR over the next five years.
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