Central Bank of Bahrain

IAIS Global Seminar Welcome Speech

Manama, Bahrain: 21 June 2010
By Abdul Rahman Al Baker, Executive Director, Financial Institutions Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain

Ladies and Gentlemen, Good morning,

I would like to thank the IAIS for giving the Central Bank of Bahrain the opportunity to host this year’s Global Seminar. While Bahrain has hosted some of the various working group meetings, such as from the Corporate Governance Working Group, and regional insurance supervisory FSI IAIS training sessions, we are pleased to welcome IAIS members and participants in greater numbers for today’s event and the Triannual meetings that will take place during the course of this week. We welcome you to the Pearl of the Gulf, the land between two seas. We also wish to thank the IAIS Secretariat for its dedication and guidance in assisting us in making this event possible.

The Central Bank of Bahrain supports the activities of the IAIS and recognises the importance of the establishment of international standards and guidance to ensure the development of the insurance industry. The CBB also supports such standard setting activities through its regional participation in the Arab Forum of Insurance Regulatory Commissions (AFIRC).

Such standards are of upmost importance, in dealing with the impact of the financial crisis on insurance firms, particularly in terms of their investment activities.

Some of the topics being covered by the Global Seminar deal with Group-wide supervision, Solvency Framework and Corporate Governance. These prudential rules are of utmost importance for the insurance industry and the CBB recognises that there is a need to aim for consistency in the application of such rules for the future well being of the insurance industry.

I would like to share with you some of the background information on Bahrain’s insurance industry which has been around for more than 60 years. Despite the recent financial turmoil in the financial sector, the insurance market in Bahrain has continued its double digit growth in the both the conventional and Takaful markets.

Bahrain is home to several well known international insurance companies and it has been at the forefront of the development in the Takaful and Retakaful markets, as well as being the first country in the GCC to have domiciled captive insurers. Two major insurance syndicates are located in Bahrain as well: 1) The Arab War Risk Insurance Syndicate (AWRIS) and 2) the Federation of Afro-Asian Insurance and Reinsurers (F.A.I.R.).

The CBB has also been working with the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) to put in place a Regulators Certificate that is in line with international standards and is offered in both English and Arabic.

I hope that the presentations that will take place today and triannual meetings this week will stimulate and provide further ideas for the insurance community in developing insurance markets.

Thank you

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