‘This year is our year of consolidation,’ says chief executive officer Udo Krueger. ‘If we produce the performance we are expecting then we might revisit the previous plans for a capital increase.’

Arig has avoided radical strategic shifts though it continues to address its relationship with its subsidiaries. It has sold down its position in Arab Tunisian Insurance Groupto 15 per cent from 49 per cent and in Arab Lebanese Insurance Groupto 25 per cent from 60 per cent.

‘We will continue to downsize our positions,’ says Krueger. ‘We don’t need controlling stakes to achieve our basic aims of open access to distribution channels for our products and adequate dividend yields.’ Arig’s other subsidiaries are in Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.

‘Looking forward, we will be focusing on the medical, life and takaful sectors,’ says Krueger. ‘The regional market remains very attractive. In the Middle East and North Africa, $7,000 million worth of life and non-life premiums are taken annually. By 2010, if regional premiums rise to only half the world average – the introduction of compulsory insurance will support this – that would create a $44,000 million premium market.’