Sharia-compliant insurance underwriting has potential for growth in Western market
In May, Cobalt Insurance Holdings launched the world's first sharia-compliant managing general agent, Cobalt Underwriting Services. The London-based entity will, among other things, underwrite a variety of global risks on behalf of major insurance companies interested in offering sharia-compliant insurance and reinsurance through the London market. Sharia-compliant (or Islamic) insurance – widely known as takaful – has existed in one form or another for more than 1,000 years. However, it is only in the past four decades that it has experienced real momentum. The catalyst for the growth of the industry was the ruling in 1985 by the Islamic Fiqh Academy in Saudi Arabia that conventional insurance policies were haram (forbidden) according to sharia law, but that an alternative policy conforming to the principles of Islamic dealings founded on the basis of charity and co-operation was permissible.
Launch of the world’s first Islamic-compliant agent is only the start, say Susan Dingwall and Martin Schneider
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