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Foreign Investors Eying Iranian Insurance Firms

Abdolnasser HemmatiAbdolnasser Hemmati

A couple of foreign insurance companies are determined to invest in Iran in the next two or three months, the president of the Central Insurance of Iran said.

"Foreign companies have been negotiating with Iranian insurance entities to buy their shares," Abdolnasser Hemmati also said in a TV interview.

He noted that according to the insurance industry's laws, foreign companies are allowed to buy up to 49% of the total shares of an Iranian Insurance company, which will materialize this spring.

"We have had serious negotiations about the matter so they sent a team to evaluate the balance sheets of our insurance companies," he added.

Hemmati noted that domestic firms need to prepare their financial statements in accordance with new standards so that they can be reviewed by foreigners.

"Experts of these companies have assessed the financial statements of a number of our insurance companies and as I talked to a couple of high-ranking people in European insurance firms, they seemed to be determined to expand their ties with us, which is a propitious development," he said.

Hemmati also said that it is CII's top priority to make general insurers spin off their life insurance activities into separate entities since it will help develop both fields.

"One of the reasons behind life insurance's underdevelopment is that insurance companies prioritized car and health insurance since they had an easy and highly potential market and did not bother to market life insurance," he said.

The CII president announced that currently the global average of insurance penetration rate is 6%, with life insurance accounting for 3.5% of the figure.

"Excluding life insurance, the penetration rate of insurance is about 2% in Iran, hence focusing on life insurance seems to be just right," he added.

"After the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [the formal name of Iran's nuclear deal with world powers] got underway, we have had significant accomplishments and their effects will soon become evident in insurance industry," Hemmati concluded.

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