Swiss insurer Zurich is looking to expand its business in the GCC region by becoming the leading provider of life insurance products in the region.
"As a business, our position has grown. We have a 23% cent market share in gross written premium terms; so our business is growing year on year," Walter Jopp, chief executive of Zurich Middle East, told local news outletThe National.
"Our biggest area in recent years has been the protection space because that is a massive need that is underserved. The penetration rate of pure life insurance is 0.6% in this market - that is very, very low indeed and actually everybody should have life cover," he added.
We are working on an array of new products and solutions and we will continue to put them out into the market"
The company has been operating in the UAE for 25 years and is already one of the leading providers for life protection with more than Dh200bn in cover in the Middle East. It also supplies employer-sponsored workplace savings schemes to about 70 companies across the GCC, with $1bn in assets under management.
In 2016, the UAE Insurance Authority proposed an overhaul of the life insurance sector to improve how savings, investment and life insurance policies are sold. At the time the regulatory body said it had received "an alarming number of complaints" from residents mis-sold long-term savings products - provided by global insurers and distributed by IA-licensed financial advisers.
"We do listen to the feedback," said Jopp. "We are working on an array of new products and solutions and we will continue to put them out into the market."
He also highlighted the need for all UAE residents to think and plan their retirement together with their employers.
"There is a massive opportunity here in the UAE for employers to be able to offer their employees a long-term savings plan," he says. "That's the gap that's needed. But if your employer is not doing it, the onus is on you to save for the moment you retire."