Abu Dhabi: Insurance companies say that the UAE is the biggest market in the Middle East due to its growing population and economic stability.

"The UAE insurance market is [likely] to grow 20 per cent annually over the next four years," said Maroun Mourad, CEO of Zurich's General Insurance operations in the Middle East.

He added that the insurance market would surge to more than Dh63 billion ($18 billion) in total premium income by 2015. Mourad was bullish about the prospects for the insurance industry, which so far has been lacking in the UAE and elsewhere in the Gulf, as well as in the rest of the GCC.

"Due to the large and rapidly expanding population and with generally very low insurance penetration rates by global standards, we have a very positive outlook for the insurance industry in the Mena region," he said.

Clear opportunities

"We see clear opportunities to build insurance businesses in the UAE."

Mourad expects that insurance premiums in the GCC will amount to Dh129.5 billion by 2015.

Meanwhile, Hussain Mohammad Al Meeza, CEO and managing director of Aman Insurance, said that in the GCC non-life insurance accounts for 93 per cent of total premiums, meaning that life insurance has massive potential.

"Insurance today is a golden opportunity for life providers who can break the ice and build an understanding of life products value," said Al Meeza. The GCC insurance sector grew 28 per cent from 2009-2010 which is the largest documented growth in the world, he added.