Saudi Arabia announced the establishment of the Insurance Authority (IA), reflecting a significant step forward in building a strong, vital, and stable insurance sector in the Kingdom.
Health projects in the Kingdom are improving, as the sector expects 100 new projects in health services in partnership between the government and the private sector over the next five years, with an estimated capital investment opportunity at $13 billion.
Saudi Shura Council member Fadel al-Buainain believes the Insurance Authority would contribute to pushing and stimulating mergers and acquisitions between insurance companies.
Buainain said that the Authority is expected to enhance mergers and acquisitions in the sector to create strong entities capable of growing, meeting needs, and effectively contributing to the economy.
He explained that some companies in the sector suffer from weak solvency and accumulated losses, among other issues.
The private health sector witnessed significant growth and development because of the insurance sector, said Buainain, adding that the Authority is expected to contribute to the development of health insurance and boost insurance companies.
He explained that this would help the companies meet the needs of the health sector in the future with the privatization of the health sector, increasing the demand for insurance.
Meanwhile, a member of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Economic Association (SEA), Saad al-Thaqfan, confirmed that mergers and acquisitions in the insurance sector during the coming period would increase their shares.
He noted that two companies control approximately 50 percent of the market, while all companies share the other 50 percent.
Thaqfan pointed out that the Authority will positively impact the insurance sector by focusing on structuring, developing, and supervising it.
He asserted that these sectors would continue to grow, particularly with individuals entering the labor market.
During the past decade, the insurance sector could not establish insurance companies with high creditworthiness, except for a few major companies.
During January 2021, several companies were under mergers and acquisitions, such as Walaa Cooperative Insurance, MetLife, Gulf Union Insurance, and al-Ahlia Insurance.
In 2022, the insurance sector grew 27 percent, while the insurance sector index recorded a growth of 55 percent since the beginning of the current year 2023.
The insurance sector is worth over $14 billion, with a 2.09 percent share of gross domestic product.
- The health sector
Healthcare companies in the Saudi market achieved record revenues exceeding $4.5 billion during the past year, with a growth rate of 14.2 percent. Net profits amounted to more than $800,000,000 million, with a growth rate of 22.8 percent over the previous year.
The net profit margin of companies increased during the past year to 17.5 percent, compared to about 16.3 percent for the previous year.
The health and social development sector expenditures from the general budget during the first half of this year amounted to $34 billion, constituting about 21.2 percent of the budget expenditures for 2023 and 28.5 percent more than the corresponding period last year.