Egypt's Senate gives preliminary approval to new insurance law

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 27 Feb 2022

The Senate – Egypt's consultative upper house of parliament – gave preliminary approval Sunday to a new government-drafted insurance law.

Egypt s Senate. Al-Ahram

Senate Speaker Abdel-Wahab Abdel-Razek said the articles of the law will be discussed in detail during the Senate's plenary sessions on Monday.

The draft law was approved by the Senate's Financial and Economic Affairs Committee on 13 February after being referred by the House of Representatives

Hani Sirri, head of the Senate's Financial and Economic Affairs Committee, said the draft Unified Insurance Law aims to draw up new and comprehensive rules for regulating the insurance industry and market in Egypt.

“Four decades of actual implementation show that the insurance market is in pressing need for new legislative and regulatory rules,” said Sirri, adding that “technological developments and the creation of new insurance tools also require that a unified insurance legislation be passed.”

Sirri indicated that the new government-drafted insurance law is also necessary to cover a new group of professions and services related to the insurance industry.

“In this respect, the new law aims to cover the rights of holders of insurance policies and private insurance funds,” said Sirri, adding that “the law also seeks to streamline insurance rules to go in line with new international standards, as well as speed up digitisation reforms and the use of financial technology in the insurance sector.”

Sirri also indicated that “the law aims to widen the scope of obligatory insurance operations in order to achieve insurance inclusiveness and reach out to poor and limited income classes which are not currently covered by any kind of insurance, particularly health insurance.”

A report released by the committee revealed that Egypt's insurance sector includes 41 companies which collect EGP 47.5 billion in insurance installments a year, and pay EGP 33.5 billion in insurance compensation (around $3 billion and $2.1 billion, respectively).

"The net investments of insurance companies have reached EGP 131.466 billion in July 2021, in addition to the fact that there are 692 insurance funds which collect EGP 10.5 billion in annual subscriptions, pay EGP 9.9 billion in compensations, and have EGP 85.61 billion in investments," said the report, adding that "these figures show that Egypt has a thriving insurance market but it has to be effectively regulated and supervised."

Deputy Senate Speaker Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqaa said the law is in line with Article 28 which states that the State shall do its best to create an investment friendly climate and pay a special attention to small, medium and micro-size enterprises in all fields.

"In this respect, the law makes insurance compulsory for small-scale enterprises to encourage them to gain more ground in Egypt's economy," said Abu Shoqa, adding that "the law also is in line with Article 221 which states that the Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) shall be responsible for monitoring and supervising non-banking markets and instruments including capital markets, and insurance activities."

Phoebe Fawzi, another deputy senate speaker, said the law aims to unify all laws governing the insurance sector into one law. "This explains why the law is on unified insurance, not to mention that it aims to go in line with international standards and technological developments in the insurance sector in order to attract more investments to Egypt in this field," said Fawzi.

Senator Hassanein Tawfik said the new law clearly reflects the government's policy of modernising vital economic sectors and digitising its performance.

Senator Hani Sirri indicated that the new law will cover all kinds of insurance operations.

"This law will regulate insurance companies, special funds, obligatory operations such as highway accidents, as well as state new supervisory rules for the insurance industry," said Sirri, adding that "at the end we will have a unified law that will regulate all forms of insurance in Egypt in line with international rules and methods and impose stricter supervision."

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