CEO of Gig | Arab Orient Insurance

Finance / Jordan

“Our market share for medical insurance is now 45 percent”

Established in 1996, Arab Orient Insurance is one of the largest insurers in Jordan, leading the sector in share of medical coverage. Jordan Kuwait Bank became a partner in 2000, later selling off all their shares to Gulf Insurance Group, which is owned by the Kuwaiti government’s investment arm, the Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO). Mustafa Melhem, CEO of gig | Arab Orient Insurance, explains the secret behind the company’s continued growth momentum.

How is gig | Arab Orient Insurance a market leader?
We have proven capabilities and experience, being that gig | Arab Orient is recognized as the first insurance company to receive an international rating in Jordan. Today, we are one of the companies in Jordan to be rated B++ with a stable outlook for the fourth consecutive year by A.M. Best Ratings, a US-based insurance ratings company. We are also recognized for achieving a high financial capacity: Gig | Arab Orient Insurance’s capital is valued at around $30 million. Not only are we a specialist in medical insurance, but we also have proven specialties in motor, marine, aviation, energy, property and travel insurance.

What is supporting premiums growth and how is this boosting market share?
By the end of the third quarter of 2016, our written premiums reached $110.74 million compared to $103.42 million in 2015, accounting for an increase of 7 percent. This resulted in profits before taxes amounting to $5.35 million, marking growth of 15 percent compared to 2015. Our medical products form 60 percent of our profit, and our market share for medical insurance is now 45 percent, meaning that we have become Jordan’s leading provider in this field. Overall, I foresee gig | Arab Orient’s total market share in the insurance sector will grow to 25 percent in 2017, up from 22 percent in 2016.

What makes gig | Arab Orient a specialist in medical insurance?
Medical insurance requires a lot of operational resources because there are frequent claims that occur daily. This is why we have an in-house team working on our medical claims. Furthermore, gig | Arab Orient is the only insurance company that works 24/7, allowing our customers to call a doctor any time they need.

“Gig | Arab Orient Insurance is the only company in the country’s private sector that has specialty products for cancer.”

How are you planning to tap new customers?
According to our research, there are around 1.8 million people working in Jordan’s private sector without any medical insurance. In order to attract this untapped base, gig | Arab Orient has deployed an awareness campaign to market to individual businesses, advertising low-cost medical insurance products that are valued for the same price of a single cigarette. The idea is to convince new customers that investing in their medical insurance is cheaper than smoking, and to comfort them further by developing special products for the coverage of cancer. Gig | Arab Orient is the only company in the country’s private sector that has specialty products for cancer.

Where else do you see growth possibilities?
In Jordan, awareness of life insurance is low and nowhere near countries such as the UAE or Lebanon. Plus, the reopening of borders with Iraq would present possibilities, too. Even the largest businesses in Baghdad are rarely insured and an awareness campaign there could create a huge market.