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Monday 27 June 2011
Author: Russell Group

As the Arab uprising and the pro-democracy movement continues to spread across the Middle East a new join facility has been formed to meet the demand for political risk and terrorism cover.

Liberty International Underwriters (LIU) and Liberty Syndicates have launched the joint initiative to provide war and terrorism insurance capacity for Middle Eastern risks at a time when the threat from Jihadist terrorism is growing.

Experts say the Arab uprising is set to continue as the Syrian government accuses Islamic extremists of being behind the violence which said to have left over 1,300 demonstrators dead in the country.

The deaths of three leading members of the Jihadist terror organisation al-Qaeda has created a power vacuum and experts believe that the group will seek to increase its activities against the west and western interests in theMENA in retaliation.

LIU will distribute its product through Middle Eastern brokers and provide customer service from its regional office in the Dubai International Financial Centre backed by reinsurance capacity and expertise provided by Liberty Syndicates in London.

LIU will offer this cover to onshore energy-related risks, industrial units and urban risks such as hotels, restaurants, office blocks and banks.

Demand for war and terrorism cover has increased in the Middle East because, in several jurisdictions, banks require back-to-back cover as precondition for financial support.

There has also been a surge in demand for war and terrorism cover following recent events which resulted in political change in Tunisia and Egypt and widespread civil unrest elsewhere in the MENA region.

Michael Burle, class underwriter at Liberty Syndicates, said: “We began to discuss opportunities to develop the initiative in August 2010. Since then, political and regulatory events have meant that demand has surged.

Eli Bouchaaya, MENA regional manager for LIU, said: “We are very pleased to be able to access our group’s Lloyd’s syndicate in order to bring supplementary underwriting expertise and capacity to this complex set of risks. We have worked hard to ensure the product is provided as a rapid and seamless service across the GCC and wider MENA region, with a 24-hour promise for policy quotes.”

The joint venture product is to be marketed via Liberty Mutual Group for theGCC (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman) and MENAregion (excluding Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and Sudan).