Insurance technology, also known as Insurtech, is a rapidly growing fintech segment that has disrupted traditional insurance provision worldwide. Leveraging advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT), among others, Insurtech companies are shifting the current market dynamics and bridging the health protection and financial security accessibility gap that the traditional insurance sector fails to deliver. In addition, these tech-savvy enterprises, backed by private equity and venture capital investors, offer various innovative products and services through digital channels helping improve distribution, insurance literacy, and affordability, ultimately increasing insurance acceptance and penetration.
Swiss Re, a global reinsurance and insurance provider, forecasted in its latest World Insurance report that global insurance premiums are expected to reach $7 trillion by the end of 2022. This presents a tremendous opportunity for Insurtech firms worldwide to partner with the insurers, onboarding them to cost-efficient end-to-end insurance platforms, addressing the entire insurance lifecycle, and providing innovative products and services from customer engagement to underwriting. Further, the emergence of the pandemic brought Insurtech companies to the forefront since it has necessitated the quicker implementation of insurers' digital transformation.
Although the majority of Insurtech companies currently operate in North America, Western Europe, and developed geographies of Asia, an increasing number are gaining ground in developing countries. Also, much of the Middle East region remains low on insurance penetration as compared to other regions globally. The Insurtech segment is growing rapidly by altering the market dynamics and catering especially to digital-savvy and underpenetrated consumers. Moreover, the GCC insurance market is projected to grow at an annualized rate of 3.2% from US$26.5 billion in 2021 to US$31.1 billion in 2026 owing to an increase in population, economic recovery, and infrastructure development across the region2.
In Qatar, the Insurtech market estimation will reach US$1.9 billion in 2026, growing at a CAGR of 4.7% from 2021 onwards3. New Insurtech players have emerged in Qatar’s insurance landscape with the entry of online insurers and insurance aggregators. In 2020, Qatar Insurance Company (QIC), one of the largest insurers in the MENA region, established its Qatar Financial Center (QFC)-based IT services subsidiary Anoud Technologies4. It offers the Anoud+ platform and support services to insurers in emerging markets. The web-based platform was developed in-house by QIC in collaboration with Swiss Re (a global reinsurance company) and aimed to support insurers in improving operational efficiency and ensuring quick turnaround without straining their IT investment budgets. Anoud+ provides functionalities including client relationship management, underwriting, technical accounting, finance, policy and claims management, workflow and document management, reporting, data analytics, and reinsurance administration5. Moreover, in January 2023, QIC launched the first all-inclusive online portal, offering the fastest digital solution to buy and renew insurance policies related to motor vehicles and accidents without additional documentation.
“The launch of QIC Digital Venture Partners is a significant milestone for our digital future. Grounded by our strong regional and international performance, QIC DVP will reshape the digital insurance ecosystem and become the go-to digital insurance partner in the MENA region.” – Salem Al-Mannai, Group CEO, QIC11
QFC, Qatar Fintech Hub (QFTH), and QIC are making continuous efforts via several initiatives/benefits to support Insurtech companies' access to Qatar’s lucrative market and investors. QFC7 and QFTH8, in 2021, hosted seminars to discuss the potential opportunities that InsurTech holds for Qatar’s fintech and startup landscape. Also, in June 2022, QIC hosted an Insurtech Hackathon, “InsurHacK”, for startups from MENA, Southeast Asia, and Europe keen to explore opportunities in the MENA region9. The core objective was to nurture startups involved in developing solutions in the Insurtech ecosystem with the support of advisors, investors, and key players in the industry10. In addition, QIC has also announced Digital Venture Partners (DVP), a new business unit bound to become the ecosystem orchestrator for insurance and ‘Insurtech’ in the MENA region12. Moreover, in December 2021, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) announced a new mandatory health insurance system for all non-Qatari nationals living in and visiting Qatar, implemented in May 2022. This is expected to provide an impetus to traditional insurance and Insurtech companies by augmenting insurance coverage in the country and leading to financial inclusion13.
Furthermore, through the National Fintech Strategy, Qatar provides a framework for initiatives that constitute an attractive ecosystem for local startups and international fintech firms to set up bases in the country14. The Qatari Insurtech segment is expected to witness significant growth in the next couple of years, owing to the increasing digital penetration, technology adoption, rising consumer awareness of insurance products, tech-savvy consumers, conducive regulatory policies, and government initiatives. With a roughly 1% insurance penetration, Qatar ranks lowest among its key peer countries, such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain15. Therefore, it presents a significant opportunity for Insurtech startups in Qatar since a large gap exists due to low insurance penetration. Undoubtedly, new tech-enabled business models are required to provide growth and momentum to the markets, and Insurtech companies should be able to innovate — either internally or by partnerships — to seize the opportunity.
1. World insurance: inflation risks front and centre (2022). Available at: https://www.swissre.com/dam/jcr:4500fe30-7d7b-4bc7-b217-085d7d87a35b/swiss-re-institute-sigma-4-2022.pdf
2. GCC Insurance Industry (2022) – Alpen Capital. Available at: https://argaamplus.s3.amazonaws.com/68f88da4-b648-41f9-bb31-47ebb3414cb6.pdf
3. John, P. (2022) Qatar insurance market may reach $1.9bn in 2026 driven by growth in life, non-life segments: Alpen Capital - Gulf Times. Available at: https://www.gulf-times.com/story/709993/Qatar-insurance-market-may-reach-1-9bn-in-2026-driven-by-growth-in-life-non-life-segments-Alpen-Capital
4. Sheehan, M. (2020) ‘QIC and Swiss Re partner on admin platform Anoud+ - Reinsurance News’, Reinsurance News, 5 March. Available at: https://www.reinsurancene.ws/qic-and-swiss-re-partner-on-admin-platform-anoud/
5. Anoud Tech named as Global top-Ten InsurTech Leader - Anoud Technologies (2021) Anoud Technologies. Available at: https://anoudtechnologies.com/2021/09/07/anoud-tech-named-as-global-top-ten-insurtech-leader/
6. QIC Launches the First and Fastest all-inclusive Online Portal to Get Insurance in Qatar (2023) | Qatar Insurance Company. Available at: https://www.qicuae.com/qic-launches-the-first-and-fastest-all-inclusive-online-portal-to-get-insurance-in-qatar/
7. Tech Talk x Opportunities in Insurtech - Qatar Financial Centre (2021). Available at: https://www.qfc.qa/en/media-centre/events/list/tech-talk-x-opportunities-in-insurtech
8. Evolution of InsurTech, Journey for Qatar, Challenges & Lessons Learned (2021) Qatar: Qatar Fintech Hub. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5LJV2DSGCc
9. insurHack Mena - 1st MENA InsurTech Hackathon (no date). Available at: https://competitions.insurtech-mena.com/en/challenges/insurhack?lang=en
10. QIC holds InsurTech MENA Summit 2022 - Qatar Insurance Group (2022) Qatar Insurance Group. Available at: https://qic-group.com/qic-holds-insurtech-mena-summit-2022/
11. QIC launches Digital Venture Partners - Qatar Insurance Group (2022) Qatar Insurance Group. Available at: https://qic-group.com/4662-2/
12. Annie Joseph, S. (2022) Qatar’s QIC unveils new business unit ‘Digital Venture Partners’ - GCC Business News, GCC Business News. Available at: https://www.gccbusinessnews.com/qatars-qic-unveils-new-business-unit-digital-venture-partners/
13. New mandatory health insurance system introduced in Qatar : Clyde & Co (2021) Clyde & Co. Available at: https://www.clydeco.com/en/insights/2021/12/new-mandatory-health-insurance-system-introduced-i
14. Walker, M. (2020) Qatar Fintech Hub Offers Incubator and Accelerator Programmes to Global Market | The Fintech Times, The Fintech News. Available at: https://thefintechtimes.com/qatar-fintech-hub-offers-incubator-and-accelerator-programmes-to-global-market/
15. GCC Insurance Industry (2022) – Alpen Capital. Available at: https://argaamplus.s3.amazonaws.com/68f88da4-b648-41f9-bb31-47ebb3414cb6.pdf