Reuters reports that global insurance firms are “circling Iran for business opportunities“, and the first test of their appetite could come in March when some Iranian companies seek new cover.
Insurers, reinsurers, and brokers are exploring ways to tap a market worth $7.4 billion in premiums; Allianz, Zurich Insurance, Hannover Re and RSA, for example, said in recent days that they would evaluate potential opportunities in the country.
The marine and energy sectors are considered to be among those offering the best opportunities — alongside commercial cover, life insurance is a potential growth area as it represents less than a tenth of overall Iranian premiums, compared with more than half globally.
American insurance industry players are still banned from doing business in Iran, however, due to separate U.S. sanctions that remain in place.
The vice chairman and managing director of the Iranian Reinsurance Co., Mohammad Asoudeh, told Reuters he had already been contacted by foreign insurance players looking to enter the market. He added that his company has held discussions with two credit rating agencies to get a credit rating.
Sasan Soltani, of Dubai-based but majority Iranian-owned Iran Insurance Company, said his firm had also been approached about tie-ups by British and Japanese brokers and insurers.
The chairman of the London-headquartered United Insurance Brokers (UIB), Bassem Kabban, said it was active in the Iranian reinsurance market before the imposition of sanctions and planned to reopen its Tehran office “as soon as we can … People will be very careful what to do. If they are not sure, they would rather not do it.”