Before Zakat (the compulsory giving of a set proportion of one's wealth to charity, regarded as a type of worship and of self-purification. Zakat is the third Pillar of Islam), insurers in Saudi Arabia generated a combined profit of SAR1.246 billion (US$332.2 million) in the first half of 2020, an increase of 166.1 per cent over the same period in 2019. Gross written premiums for the first half of the year increased by just over five per cent year-on-year to SAR20.75 billion.
According to Middle East Insurance Review, the market leader in Saudi Arabia was Bupa Arabia, which reported premium income of over SAR5 billion and a market share of 27 per cent. Second position in the market was taken by Tawuniya, followed by Medgulf, Al-Raji and AXA Arabia. Together, the top-five insurers account for around 70 per cent of the market’s gross written premiums and have a combined profit of over SAR1 billion.
However, it was not just the top few companies that managed to report profits this year, despite the challenges 2020 has brought so far. In actual fact, 23 insurance companies registered profits in the first half of the year – a turnaround in fortunes for seven of them, which were not making a profit at all in 2019. One in particular is worthy of a mention – Wala Cooperative Insurance had the biggest increase in profits, reporting a 16-fold increase. Sadly, it’s not all positive news from the Saudi insurance market – while generally, companies have reported healthy earnings, seven reported losses, among them were Allianz SF and United, which were profitable in 2019 but have slipped into the red in 2020.