Doha, Sunday 7 May 2023: Qatar Insurance Company (“QIC Group”, “QIC”), the leading insurer in Qatar and the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, reported today a net profit of QAR 175 million for the first quarter of 2023. The Group’s tactical shift to discontinue its business of international operations led to impressive performance results this year, marking a significant rebound from the previous year. Following a meeting of the Board of Directors yesterday, which was presided by Sheikh Hamad bin Faisal bin Thani Jasim Al Thani, Chairman of the QIC Group, the Board approved the financial results.
Sheikh Hamad bin Faisal Al Thani, Chairman of QIC Group, stated: “QIC's strategic emphasis on expanding direct and personal lines business within domestic and MENA markets showcases its worth. In this context, QIC Groups’ subsidiary Oman Qatar Insurance Company (OQIC) and Vision Insurance Company Completed a successful merger to capitalize on the region’s profitability potential. Simultaneously, our persistent endeavors to minimize exposure to high severity and volatile international risks are yielding positive results this quarter. Despite ongoing market challenges stemming from inflation and geopolitical unrest, these strategic objectives have positioned QIC for robust growth and underwriting profitability in Q1 2023. Furthermore, we take immense pride in QIC's distinguishing brand attributes, such as advanced technological prowess and outstanding operational efficiency. These qualities set us apart and empower us to deliver highly valued, reliable risk protection services to customers across the Middle East, Europe, and international insurance markets.
Restructuring the Business Portfolio in international markets.
Mr. Salem Khalaf Al Mannai, Group Chief Executive Officer, said “In the first quarter of 2023, the rising interest rate environment slowed as inflationary trajectories showed signs of improvement. In accordance with our set strategy, we have now successfully exited from the high severity, low margin and loss-making international risks. The group has also succeeded in completely exiting from the natural disaster insurance portfolio in the American market, which ensures the cessation of loss-making businesses and positively reflects on the profitability of our insurance activities. This has been reflected in the growth of the Group's net insurance service results to reach profits of QAR 276 million compared to loss of QAR 83 million (restated)in the previous period. This achievement reflects the success of one of the main pillars of the Group’s strategy. Amid these circumstances, QIC’s international operations – encompassing the brands Antares Re, Antares Lloyds Syndicate and QIC Europe Ltd, also profited from rate hardening and tighter conditions and started to show healthy underwriting profits during this quarter.”
He further added, “As we maintain our strategic focus on expanding our profitable direct-line insurance markets throughout the GCC, QIC once again witnessed a strong performance from its primary insurance business in its domestic and MENA operations. Our operations continued to impress with strong underwriting profitability benefiting from our highly efficient and automated digital sales channels. QIC remains committed to fostering the growth and development of the direct insurance vertical in the region by leveraging its position as a leader in the digitalization of personal lines and other select lines of business.”
Mr Mannai further stated that “In line with the global insurance reporting standards, during Q1 2023 QIC Group and its subsidiaries successfully adopted the new IFRS 17 accounting standard, which will be a major transformation for the entire insurance industry. QIC Group is the first insurance company in the region to report its consolidated financial statements in IFRS 17”.
In the first quarter of 2023, while the macroeconomic and geopolitical landscapes remained strained, the interest rate hikes slowed as inflationary trajectories showed signs of improvement; global labour markets began to normalize and global shipping costs were almost back at pre-pandemic levels. Insurance markets also continued to harden in select lines of business. These shifts brought an element of relief to global insurers’ results and outlooks.
In light of the improving market conditions, QIC reported an insurance revenue of QAR 1.3 billion for Q1 2023. Premium volume benefitted from a 7% increase in the GWP of QIC’s domestic and MENA operations to QAR 913 million, accounting for 38% of QIC’s overall operations. Aided by QIC’s highly efficient and automated digital sales channels, the business contributed strong underwriting profitability to QIC’s results. QIC is a leader in the digitalization of personal lines insurance for the MENA region. During Q1, QIC showed its commitment to market transformation and enhanced customer services by introducing the fastest online sales solution for mandatory visitors’ insurance in Qatar.
Through this quarter, QIC also continued its strategic path of focusing on less volatile and low severity international commercial risks at a time of rising capital costs. Overall, the Group’s international operations, Antares Global, which includes the brands Antares Re, Antares Lloyds Syndicate and QIC Europe Ltd, delivered a premium volume of QAR 1.5 billion, benefiting from rate hardening and tightening market conditions.
Meanwhile, QIC is continuing with its plan to sell its Gibraltar-based insurance carriers, subject to regulatory approval.
QIC reported in Q1 2023 with a net insurance financial result of profits of QAR 164 million compared to loss of QAR 85 million (restated) for the previous period.
Expanding our footprint in the direct MENA insurance business.
As part of the strategy to expand the Group’s footprint in the profitable direct-line insurance market within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, QIC Group’s subsidiary Oman Qatar Insurance Company (OQIC) and Vision Insurance Company successfully completed a landmark merger in Q1 2023 that promises to deliver exceptional results and quality insurance solutions for the Omani market.
Remarkable investment results despite a challenging environment
While the global financial markets remained highly volatile due to concerns over the global banking crisis, the government bond markets went from pricing in rate hikes to discounting sizeable rate cuts in some markets. In mature markets, inflation proved to be more persistent than anticipated at the turn of the year with the central banks continuing the interest rate hikes. QIC’s investment team manoeuvred well through these turbulent and volatile market environments. The Group reported net investment results of QAR 223 million for Q1 2023, compared to QAR 267 million for Q1 2022. The annualized return on investment came in at 5.1%, compared to 5.5% for Q1 2022.
Continued efforts towards process efficiency and automation
Through Q1 2023, QIC Group successfully continued to enhance its process efficiencies through automation and digitization, which further improved its already exceptional administrative expense ratio for its core operations. Overall, the Group achieved a strong consolidated net profit of QAR 175 million for Q1 2023.
Successful implementation of IFRS 17
In accordance with the guidelines of QCB and IASB (International Accounting Standards Board) QIC Group with effect from 1st January 2023, successfully implemented for its consolidated financial statements, IFRS 17 the new insurance reporting standard for insurance companies becoming the first insurance company in the region to implement it.
IFRS 17 which is a principle-based standard, is a major departure from current insurance accounting practice and involves measuring insurance liabilities based on expected cash flows adjusted for the compensation an insurer requires for bearing uncertainty about the amount and timing of these cash flows as it fulfils the contract.
ESG and sustainability
ESG is now integrated into QIC Group’s operations along its full value chain. In 2022, QIC developed an ESG framework which was approved by the Board, established an ESG and Sustainability Committee to focus and channel the Company’s ESG goals and announced its promise to support Qatar’s commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030. Advancing its dedication to ESG, QIC has distinguished itself as the first insurer in the Middle East to sign the United Nations Environment Programme-Finance Initiative’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance (UNEP FI PSI).