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December 2014 – January 2015
In an attempt to improve the efficiency of the insurance sector (“Sector”) and improve the quality of the insurance services and products offered to consumers by underwriting new risks, the Capital Market Authority (“CMA”) in Oman has made some essential amendments to the insurance law (“Law”) through the issuance of Sultani Decree number 39/2014 in relation to the legal form and the share capital requirement of companies that conduct insurance business in Oman.
The Sector is mainly regulated by the Law and its implementing regulations. The new amendments include the following:
About two-thirds of insurance companies in the Oman market will be affected by the new amendments and will need to comply with the amendments within a period of three years. It is not clear how the new amendments will be accommodated with the new Islamic Insurance law (“Takaful”), which is in the process of being drafted by the CMA. Given the fact that Takaful will be a law on its own, existing insurance companies will not be permitted to sell Islamic products.
The Sector has been liberalised in recent years by the amendments to the Law made by the CMA. Parallel to this, underwriting by insurance companies has started in other areas of investment such as health insurance, whereas areas such as car insurance have seen a decrease in recent years.
Property insurance is also on the rise following Cyclone Gonu’s impact and damage caused to properties and infrastructure in the capital, Muscat, and other areas in Oman. Nonetheless, yearly announcements of the possibility of natural disasters occurring have also contributed to the rise of property insurance.
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