By John Oyuke
Kenya Reinsurance Corporation (Kenya Re) has appointed a Sharia board as it prepares to assume risks of firms offering Islamic Insurance cover known as ReTakaful.
Kenya Re Chief Executive Jadiah Mwarania said the appointment of the board consisting of Muslim scholars and people conversant with the Quran,has brought the establishment of a dedicated ReTakaful window within the corporation closer.
“The Sharia board will help Kenya Re to remain responsive to the requirements of its clients, and develop solutions that satisfy the takaful industry demands for Sharia-Compliant reinsurance services,” he said.
“As a reinsurer we welcome innovativeness that has seen the development of new products like micro-insurance and are keen to support our cedants develop new products,” he said during a party held for clients in Nairobi.
Mwarania observed that the establishment of the window is one of the measures that the corporation is undertaking to grow its business and ensure a good return for its shareholders. Others, he said, are the introduction of new business segments such as micro-insurance and political risk covers.
The move by Kenya Re is in line with the trends in the local reinsurance market, the most recent in being the decision of Africa Trade Insurance Agency to offer ReTakaful services for imports and exports between Africa and the Middle East.
The partnership was with the Islamic Co-operation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit. ATI Chief executive Officer, George Otieno said that the move was dictated by the need to offer reTakaful in sub-Sahara Africa.
“The sector has been sourcing most of its reTakaful from the west before, but now we can offer it,” he said. The local market currently contributes 53 per cent of Kenya Re premium and its most valued market.
Mwarania said the corporation’s gross premium written grew by 33 per cent in 2011 to Sh6.6 billion from Sh4.9 billion in 2010, pointing out that this was a 30 per cent increase from Sh3.8 billion recorded in 2009.
“We are currently receiving 18 per cent compulsory cessions which we do not take for granted. We look forward to increasing our premium volume from this market beyond the compulsory cessions,” he said.
Mwarania said the Corporation would also continue to extend its support to insurers in developing new products and services, mainly in micro- insurance, agriculture, political risks and the Islamic insurance.