Over the eight years that we have been producing Insight Discovery’s flagship Middle East Investment Panorama (MEIP), we have asked the advisers whom we have interviewed across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region to name the international life insurance companies with whom they have had the most dealings.

The answers have been remarkably consistent. Zurich International, Friends Provident International, Old Mutual, Generali, Hansard, MetLife, RL360, Investors Trust and AXA have long been trusted partners of the advisers. LIC International is a key player among advisers who work mainly or wholly with non-resident Indian (NRI) clients.

Collectively, the international life companies are a lot more diverse than the asset managers with whom the advisers work. This is because of the nature of the businesses. Asset managers seek to provide superior investment outcomes, whether they are suppliers of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), discretionary fund management (DFM) services or conventional mutual funds. International life companies, on the other hand, provide a wide variety of investment and protection solutions. Given that some of those solutions involve the packaging of funds from asset management companies, the international life companies are collaborators, as much as competitors, with the asset management companies.

This year, once again, Zurich International was mentioned by many of the advisers with whom we spoke for the excellence of its support for advisers across a number of areas: digital and e-based developments; helping advisers to grow their business; online post-sales business processing; online pre-sales business processing; general support for the advisers’ clients; general technical support and; assistance in making advisory firms ‘future fit’.

Nevertheless, it was easy to find instances where other international life companies were mentioned by significant numbers of advisers in relation to one or more of these areas. One example is Hansard – for digital and e-based developments, online business processing (post- and pre- sales), and its help in making advisory firms ‘future fit’. Another is Old Mutual International- in relation to helping advisers grow their business, as well as support for clients and general technical support.

Insight Discovery’s MEIP digital report for 2017 can be found here: https://insight-discovery.lastworddigital.com