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S&P Global Ratings today said that Dubai-based Orient Insurance P.J.S.C. (A/Stable/--) reported stronger-than-expected gross written premium (GWP) growth and higher net earnings in the first six months of 2020, despite the pandemic and lower oil prices. Orient's GWP increased 13.6% to about UAE dirham (AED) 2.56 billion (about $700 million) in the first half of 2020 from about AED2.25 billion during the same time in 2019. This resulted from the company's expansion across all business lines, despite a lockdown for several weeks during this period.

AM Best has revised its market segment outlook on the insurance markets of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to negative from stable. Key factors that led to the change outlook includes the economic downturn across the region stemming from lower oil prices and COVID-19 containment measures; the expectation of lower insurance demand following a delay in the rollout of mandatory health insurance in Oman and Bahrain; the postponement of EXPO 2020 in Dubai; and the potential delay of government infrastructure projects.

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