The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya Re Forms Sharia Board for Islamic Market

KENYA Reinsurance Corporation is in the process of establishing a sharia board to handle its plans to re-insure Islamic business. With this the corporation is angling itself to take up increased premiums from the expanding Islamic-compliant insurance services in the country. "Kenya Re is in advanced stages of establishing a Retakaful Window with the appointment of a sharia board panel this month," managing director Jadiah Mwarania told the Star.

Development of Takaful may open up a previously untapped market where it is targeting 10 per cent Muslims and also attracting non-Muslims," he said after addressing the corporation's clients on Thursday. Kenya Re's gross premiums last year amounted to Sh6.6 billion which was a 33 per cent increase from the previous year. To grow this further, the re-insurer is also angling itself for the oil and gas exploration sector which is set for increased activity soon.

Kenya Re has partnered with an Australian consulting firm, Total Risk Solutions, to train the local market on insurance opportunities in the emerging sector. Presently, Kenya has little oil and gas operations underwriting necessitating the corporation to train underwriters. The Kenyan market contributes up to 53 per cent of Kenya Re bottom line, while the rest comes from its operations outside the country. It has been operating a West African subsidiary based in Abidjan for two years. "Africa is still our most preferred and promising market.

The target this year is to raise up to Sh100 million in premiums from the West African subsidiary," said Mwirania. "Plans of opening a regional office in southern Africa are in advanced stages," he said.

Kenya Re made a pretax profit for year ended December 2011 Sh2 billion,23 per cent up from 1.6 billion. It also plans to increase its investments in commercial property development in 2013.

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