The nature of the Middle East, with its heady mix of plentiful oil, totalitarian governments and an often volatile political environment, means there is a ready market for a company such as AAIB to exploit. Many insurance brokers steer clear of doing business in conflict zones, which means that the range of options for companies requiring insurance cover in such places is often very limited.
Without access to financial records it is impossible to know whether AAIB is making the most of this market opportunity, but the steady growth of its office network and the planned expansion into new territories suggests that things are going well. Maintaining a base in Amman, which is a relatively low-cost location with a good supply of well-educated graduates and easy access to most countries in the region, no doubt helps.
The recent Arab uprisings will have increased the awareness of many international companies of the need for insurance cover to protect against political, as well as economic risks. This year has seen countries, which had previously been considered stable by most people, such as Tunisia and Bahrain, erupt into violence and there are now high levels of risk in much of region. These events mean there should be no shortage of expansion opportunities for the firm in the near future.
The real test for AAIB will come when the political environment calms down and it seeks to compete in markets that have stabilised and normalised. With its first-mover advantage in Iraq and potentially Libya, it will have an edge over the competition initially, but the significance of that will dissipate over time.