Medgulf: MEED Assessment

03 November 2009

Compulsory health insurance has helped protect the Lebanese company from the worst effects of the economic downturn

Medgulf has clearly benefited from the regulatory changes enforcing mandatory insurance. These changes are spreading to other states such as Kuwait and Bahrain, presenting further growth opportunities to Medgulf.

Regulation of the motor sector in Saudi Arabia, which requires vehicles rather than licence holders to be insured, introduced in 2007 is also making the firm more ambitious in the motor insurance market.

As regulation becomes tighter, the markets become more attractive to other insurers, and competition with international health insurance companies from Europe and the US will inevitably increase.

But Medgulf has a long history and solid reputation, and is backed by world-leading reinsurers. Its history means it has an enormous claims database to rely on for pricing and risk management. What is more, it also has the support of investors, such as construction giant Saudi Oger, which are backing the firm in its growth plans in sectors such as engineering. 

By launching insurance operations in June in Egypt, the company is also breaking into another enormous market that could later be exploited by its other business streams, such as insurance brokerage.

Overall, Medgulf has grown steadily and invested conservatively, the results of which include a tripling of assets and premiums from $213m in 2004 to $758m in 2008.

Legislative reform coupled with its solid reputation gained over 29 years of operating means that its success is likely to continue into the future despite growing competition.

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