Early archaeological records of ancient Egyptian civilisation date back to 4000 BC and document some of the earliest developments of writing, urbanisation, organised religion and later, burial society's - one of the oldest forms of life insurance. I spoke to the Axco researcher following his visit to Cairo in April. The insurance market report for Egypt was republished this month.
WHAT WERE THE MAIN CHANGES IN THE MARKET?
What struck me most was the effects of a stronger economy, stemming from firmer government policy and a recovering currency from when the Central Bank implemented the free float of the Egyptian Pound in late 2016. At that time, the immediate effects on the insurance market were significant, with, inter alia, numerous requirements to revalue premiums and sums insured. The situation is now more stable and most of the people that I met in the insurance market were optimistic about the future.
HOW HAS THE REGULATORY LANDSCAPE CHANGED?
The insurance market remains relatively heavily regulated although it has become progressively more liberal in recent years following adherence since 1998 to a schedule of specific insurance related commitments in relation to GATS. It will be interesting to see in the next five years whether or not a less rigid insurance regulatory environment will begin to emerge.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR THE MARKET?
I foresee continuing improvements in insurance penetration and overall written premium volumes for years to come, combined with long term political stability which has been so sadly lacking in the recent past since the Arab Spring of 2011. President Sisi was resoundingly successful in a referendum (which was held during the time of my visit) ensuring his ongoing presence in power up to 2030. With a population approaching 100 million, the insurance market clearly has abundant potential, a significant part of which remains untapped.
WAS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYED DURING YOUR VISIT?
It is always fascinating talking to our contacts in the insurance world, but this trip I managed to visit the Pyramids. Their sheer size (the Grand Pyramid is 146m high above the plateau) and geometric perfection are mind-blowing. The astonishing design and construction skills of the ancients can still be appreciated with awe, in spite of much degradation over the centuries, leading to the disappearance of all of the shining polished limestone outer casing stones and gold caps.
The pyramids look down on the great Sphinx, believed to have been built between 2613 BC to 2181 BC. It is one of the world’s largest monuments, measuring 73m and 20m high. I can assert without hesitation to everyone that this place is one of the priority must-see locations in the world.