Zurich Aims to Enter Takaful Market in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia

In the world of Islamic insurance, the three great pillars of the market are Iran, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. Zurich Financial Services, plans on establishing a takaful presence in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, according to Geoff Riddell, Zurich’s chairman of global corporation and chief executive officer of Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.

“We certainly believe we need to be entering takaful. We’re looking at different ways of doing it,” Riddell told BestWire at the 2010 Risk and Insurance Management Society conference in Boston. “We’re looking at how we would enter Saudi Arabia. We’re looking at how do we get a license in Malaysia. We will continue to develop our capabilities and understanding of takaful, and we think it will be a significant part of these markets.”

Zurich recently expanded its global life insurance team to focus on expanding its Asia-Pacific life business. While Zurich has had a “good life operation” in Hong Kong and a “nice little” niche business in Japan for sometime, Riddell said the company’s focus will be on Indonesia and Malaysia.