There are
more Islamic insurance companies in Qatar now than a decade ago and, as
a result, the Takaful market is very active in the country.

By Anwar
Staff Reporter

A leading
industry expert has predicted a huge growth potential for Qatar’s
Takaful (Islamic insurance) market, estimating its annual growth at 25%.
Dr Ali Mohayeddin al-Qaradaghi, a professor of Islamic jurisprudence at
Qatar University, said that the local Islamic insurance market has lots
of expansion opportunities since “every policy holders with the
conventional insurance firms is willing to turn to the Takaful scheme”.

“I believe
that the Takaful market is very active. Before ten years, we had only
one Islamic insurer, now we have three big companies and other Islamic
branches launched by local conventional insurers,” Dr al-Qaradaghi

He was
delivering a lecture on Monday for the staff and managers of the Al
Khaleej Insurance and Reinsurance company, the recent conventional
insurer to switch to the Islamic system. Dr al-Qaradaghi said the
Islamic Takaful scheme is “totally diff erent” from the conventional
insurance, which he said, involve prohibited practices by Islam.
“Securing the needs of people and reaching them out in diffi cult times
like accidents and death is one of the Islamic principles. This should
be the responsibility of the country, but as countries do not do it,
then individuals should take it over through Takaful companies,” he
said. About the Islamic insurance, the scholar explained that although
policy holders at any Islamic insurance would pay a contribution, hich
he  said was the equivalent of the premium in conventional system,
they will be sharing the surplus made by the company at the end of the

“The big
diff erence between the two schemes is that the surplus in Islamic
system should be divided among the policy holders who retrieve an amount
ranging from 1% to 20% of their earlier contributions,” he added. He
also hailed the decision of Al Khaleej insurance and reinsurance to
switch to the Islamic system, saying that both shareholders and policy
holders will benefi t from the company’s step.

The Al
Khaleej Insurance and Reinsurance’s chairman, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin
Mohamed bin Jabor al- Thani said, in a speech, that his company, which
is set to impark on its activities according to the Takaful system from
January fi rst next year, seeks to be a leading player in the Islamic
insurance industry in the country.

“We promise
our clients that we keep offering them the best products and services
they need. In Islamic insurance, the main focus is not the profi t, but
rather to address risks and alleviate their impacts,” The scholar also
estimated the annual Zakat that should be given by banks and companies
listed in region’s stock markets at $100bn, which he said, can tackle
the poverty problem in the world if invested in aid programmes. “Based
on a recent study I made, I calculated the value of the Zakat due by
companies and banks in Gulf and other Islamic states can make $200bn. If
this amount was properly invested through a ten-year plan to eradicate
poverty, there would be no more poor people who starved to death around
the world,” he added.