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MetLife Alico seeks a march on Islamic insurance business
Jasim Uddin Haroon
The MetLife Alico is mulling over opening up Islamic insurance business following the demand for the Shariah-compliant products in the country.
The country's life insurance leader will open an Islamic window along with conventional insurance business shortly, officials said.
Akhlaqur Rahman, chief operating officer of MetLife Alico, told the FE: "We've observed that there is a good demand for Islamic insurance, like Takaful, in the country."
He said availability of Shariah-compliant investment opportunities has made Takaful more viable in recent times in Bangladesh.
Mr Rahman said: "We're currently exploring the possibility of opening Takaful window operation in Bangladesh."
Sources said the US-based company first showed its interest in the same five years back with the now-defunct chief controller of insurance.
It later refrained from the opening the same following lack of adequate legal support in the country.
However, the Insurance Act of 2010 has stated that life insurance companies could operate both conventional and Islamic insurance in the country.
Sources at the IDRA (Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority) said the growth of Islamic insurance companies is better than that of the conventional ones.
They also said currently a number of conventional life insurers have been operating both the systems.
Apart from this, three full-pledged Islamic life insurance companies are in operation in the country.
IDRA officials said there is an act for Islamic insurance but there are no rules to oversee whether they are properly maintaining the Islamic principles or not.
However, MetLife Alico is yet to fix any timetable for opening up of the Islamic insurance business.
The fully foreign-owned life insurance company has been in operation in the country since 1952. Currently, it has more than 1.3 million policy holders.
The company which was incorporated outside Bangladesh settled claims (including maturity) worth Tk 4.0 billion only in 2011, nearly 19 per cent up from that of the previous year (2010).
[ Trade & Market ] 2012-08-04