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Sunday, 5 October 2008

Malaysian Islamic insurer eyes overseas market

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Malaysian Islamic insurer Takaful Ikhlas is in talks to sell its products in the Middle East and North Africa, its chief executive was quoted on Friday as saying.
The company, a subsidiary of insurer MNRB Holdings Bhd, will apply for a licence to allow it to set up an international currency business unit, the head of Takaful, Syed Moheeb Syed Kamarulzaman, was quoted as saying by the Business Times newspaper.
"Only when these discussions become concrete and a proper business plan is developed, will an application to commence international currency business unit be submitted to (central bank) Bank Negara," he said.
"This is anticipated to be in 2009."
He did not say which parties Takaful was talking to. But the report said the company was looking to distribute its products through strategic business partners.
An international currency business unit allows Islamic insurers to do Islamic insurance and reinsurance business with non Malaysian residents in foreign currencies. Income accruing from these operations are tax-exempt for 10 years from the 2007 year of assessment.
Global premiums in Islamic insurance, or takaful, total about $2-3 billion and are expected to reach more than $7 billion by 2015, according to industry figures.
Under Islamic insurance, members contribute to a pool of funds which is used to indemnify participants who suffer a loss.
The funds are invested according to the sharia which avoids interest-bearing loans and gambling, pork and alcohol-related activities. Profits made are distributed among members.
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