By: Abdurrahman Shamlan
Tariq Abdul-Waseh Saeed, General Director for leading Yemeni insurance company United Insurance, has revealed that Yemeni insurance companies have incurred great losses in 2011 as a result of the year’s unrest.
In an interview in last Thursday’s state-run September 26 newspaper, Saeed said the unrest had taken its toll on Yemen’s commercial and economic fields and that insurance companies had been greatly impacted, with losses at some companies mounting to 50 percent.
“The insurance companies’ losses varied from one insurance company to another, depending on the company’s position in the market. For example, our company managed to get over the crisis with only a 10 percent loss,” Saeed said.
When asked whether the insurance companies attempted to raise awareness among people about the importance of insuring their properties, he replied: “We did not want to mislead the people and make them believe that insurance companies could provide them with insurance for their properties in a time of conflict.”
“In general, the awareness of the importance of insurance is still very low in Yemen and we have run several campaigns aiming to raise awareness among the people about this issue,” he said.
Saeed added that insurance fees are very affordable and turn out to be of great benefit to clients if their properties are damaged.
Speaking about the government’s role in raising awareness about the importance of insurance, Saeed said, “The government has a very important role in this regard. In some countries, the government passes laws making it obligatory for private sector companies to insure their properties.”
He further urged the government to enact insurance laws, and said that if such laws were applied, Yemen’s insurance sector would experience significant progress.
Many Muslim clerics have unequivocally stated that commercial insurance is not ‘halal’ – the Arabic word for religiously permissible. In this regard, Saeed said his company had provided its customers with a new kind of insurance called ‘Takafili’ (solidarity), in which the insurance company returns a portion of insurance fees to its clients at the end of each year.
United Insurance is the biggest insurance company in Yemen, and holds 44 percent of the nation’s total insurance market.