A recent webinar by Kidbrooke saw itself and Goodacre UK deep-diving into how HAYAH Insurance leverages financial analytics to provide personalised service at scale.
Taking part in the discussion were Stephen Pinner, the managing director at Goodacre, HAYAH head of strategy and digital transformation David Howard and Kidbrooke product and sales lead Erik Brodin.
The discussion began on the topic of the Middle East and the fast-growing financial market in the region – with Howard quizzed on the differences between the two markets.
He said, “It’s very different at a very high level, and it is worth touching on a few differences. In many ways, it is a very forward looking country, and in others it is like stepping into a time machine and going back to the 70’s and 80’s.
“For example, if you look at the business environment in the UAE – especially in financial services – there are very strict ownership and controls. Such an example is that insurance firms must be owned by UAE nationals. Up until 2021, this was the case across all industries. It’s a very closed shop in the UAE and there’s a moratorium on new insurance licences as well – the only way in is to buy an insurance company.”
Howard believes because of cases like this, very little has changed in the business environment in the last few years in the region – with a strong embedded financial culture prominent, compared to the much more flexible market of the UK. Howard also highlighted that with such a static market, there hasn’t been much of a need to innovate.
Despite an inflexible business environment, there are growing signs the market is working hard on the technology front. Howard said, “The UAE really feels that it missed out in being a leader in blockchain and crypto and does not want to miss out on the next big thing. This is why it is pushing hard on Web3 and AI, and there is a really big push for freezones and FinTech hubs.”
He added that the market has opened up much more heavily on the technology front, being the first country to appoint a minister for AI in 2017.
The final big difference between the two markets, Howard underlined, were the consumer base.
He explained, “The UAE is majority expat – 90% of the country is from overseas – primarily Middle Eastern, South Asian and North African, and many from countries with unstable currencies and a lack of modern financial solutions. There are also a lot of blue-collar, young and male expats who are technologically advanced but mostly financial illiterate compared to the UK.
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