Qatar Insurance Group (QIC), the leading insurer in Qatar and the MENA region, held the second edition of its annual insurtech summit on 20-22 May 2023, at Park Hyatt Hotel in Doha, Qatar, under the theme 'MENA Insurtech Rising'. The three-day event brought together 88 C-level regional and international insurers, startup founders, investors and key players to discuss and explore partnerships with a close focus on sharing insights on the latest industry trends, innovation, investment and digital transformation, with the goal of fostering learning and collaboration between the MENA Insurtech ecosystem players.
The year 2022 launched the beginnings of Qatar Insurance Group’s (QIC) digital aspirations reaching beyond in-house innovation to build the MENA insurtech ecosystem. QIC, through its newly launched Digital Venture Partners unit (QIC DVP), led the establishment of the MENA Insurtech Association, a membership-based association founded to build the regional insurtech ecosystem through connecting innovations, talents, partners, and capital.
The question at the centre of this initiative was: how can we create products and services that respond to the needs of the modern customer while catalyzing transformations across entire systems? The answer was innovative partnerships. By combining the unique capabilities of multiple sectors across the spectrum of insurance, technology and financial industries to encourage collaborative creativity and intelligence.
Over 300 representatives from insurance companies, technology firms, startups, banks and investors attended the summit, while 1,100 people tuned in virtually. With over 600 meetings over three days, the summit proved to be a valuable networking platform that can translate communication into tangible partnerships. The top themes were digital innovation, VC investment strategies and the funding landscape, how to strengthen synergies with Africa and deepen insurance penetration rates in the continent and the emergence of a new regulatory environment as a result of innovation.
Group CEO of QIC Group and Chairman of the MENA Insurtech Association, Salem Al Mannai, said, “I am delighted that QIC can leverage its strong regional and international influence so that this global assembly of innovators, experts, entrepreneurs and industry leaders can meet here in Doha under the umbrella of “MENA Insurtech Rising”. Each participant is at the forefront of their industry, uniquely placed to highlight the latest priorities and developments in their field, and each an integral part of a cohesive ecosystem that can reshape the insurance industry.”
One of the highlights of the summit was the final leg of the “MENA Insurtech Startup Competition”, a regional initiative that set out to find the most innovative ideas and technologies while promoting entrepreneurship in the MENA region. A total of 323 applications were received from 41 countries, and 29 finalists pitched to an audience of potential investors and industry leaders. The pitches covered a wide array of solutions, including cyber security, finance, women’s health, car maintenance and more. The startups were judged on the quality of the problem statement fit, the level of innovation, the solution feasibility in the MENA region and the team composition. The growth stage winner was Mismar. Cypherleak, Symplfy and Monak won the early stage category, and Iameno was the idea stage winner.
Commenting on the competition, Al Mannai said, “I am especially pleased that the startup competitions showcased the enormous potential that exists within the MENA region. It wasn’t just innovation for innovation’s sake. The startups offered innovative solutions that were culturally and contextually relevant. They showed a deep understanding of the region’s pain points, and the result was MENA innovation for MENA needs”.
The summit was powered by QIC Group and its ecosystem partners Deloitte and FLAT6LABS in partnership with Qatar Research, Development and Innovation Council (QRDI), Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), Msheireb, Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and by QIC Subsidiaries Epicure, OQIC and Antares and jointly supported by QLM, CNBC, Microsoft, Insurtech Gateway, Insurtech Asia, India Insurtech Association, Insurtech Lab, Scventure, McKinsey & Company, Luimo, Kojo, Insurtech Connect, Insurtech Insight and FS Brew.
Guests, attendees and partners acknowledged QIC Group’s efforts in playing a key role in catalyzing insurance innovation across the region.
Haya Al Ghanim, The Qatar Research, Development, and Innovation (QRDI) Council’s RDI Programs Director, said, "The MENA Insurtech Summit 2023 offers an unrivalled opportunity to nurture and showcase the region's potential in the digital insurance landscape. At the QRDI Council, we are thrilled to collaborate with the Summit team by providing support through our participation in the pitching event and the prestigious Idea Stage Award ceremony. As our journey progresses, we remain committed to fostering innovation, facilitating connections, and sharing insights. This Summit is a testament to our collective efforts in driving the Insurtech revolution across the region."
“In a rapidly growing economy, it is vital to embrace innovation and adapt to the changing business landscape. Insurtech has the transformative power to reshape not just the insurance landscape but also the financial sector and the way we do business. We are proud to support the MENA Insurtech Summit, an event that aligns with the QFC commitment to fostering a culture of innovation, attracting cutting-edge talent, and positioning Qatar as a global financial hub." Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer of QFC.
Eng Ali Al-Kuwari, CEO of Msheireb Properties, said, "We are proud that our smart and sustainable city Msheireb Downtown Doha is the presenting partner of the MENA Insurtech Summit 2023. This summit showcases the rapid advancements in the insurtech landscape and highlights the immense potential for innovation in the MENA region. At Msheireb Properties, we believe in fostering collaborations and driving technological advancements that contribute to the growth and development of industries. We are excited to connect with industry leaders, explore emerging trends, and contribute to shaping the future of the digital insurance ecosystem in the region."
As a responsible insurer and a responsible investor, QIC Group’s InsurTech MENA Summit 2022 was yet another initiative made towards affirming its commitment to the State of Qatar’s agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the end of 2030 and advancing its promise even more, environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) took centre stage this year.
It is worth mentioning that QIC Group has distinguished itself as the first insurer in the Middle East to sign the United Nations Environment Programme-Finance Initiative’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance (UNEP FI PSI).
Source & cover image credit: Press Release
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