By Padraig O’Hannelly.

Insurance is a complicated business, and as economies develop they demand more of it.

This brings challenges, such as how to assess claims when the skills are not readily available locally, how to satisfy reinsurers that risks have been correctly priced and losses properly assessed, and how to develop lower-premium business without driving up costs.

One Iraqi insurer believes fintech assists in providing the solution to several complex issues.

Al Maseer Insurance was founded by Chairman Arak al-Bayati and CEO Sarah Safa Kasim in 2011, with the aim of bringing innovation, knowledge and global skillsets to the insurance sector in Iraq.

As Chief Underwriting Officer Douglas Way told the recent IBBC Technology Conference in Baghdad:

“Iraq is a challenging market for insurance, to put it bluntly; there are some extremely large risks in Iraq, which require very large reinsurance, which is where fintech solutions come to the fore.

When a proposition is difficult, rather than just saying ‘no’, we find a way to make it happen, and increasingly that involves the use of imaginative and cutting edge technology.”

For example, the company is currently working with Virtual i, which enables it to use experts located remotely to carry out detailed surveys on the ground in Iraq.

Just taking a photo and ticking a box is not sufficient to satisfy reinsurers,” Way explains, adding that using this system also helps to up-skill local Iraqis. “We are very much committed to providing the highest level of service, and very committed to using Iraqi people to do that.

Similarly at the low-premium end of the market, the use of mobile devices and automated systems is helping to strip out the costs of processing applications and claims, enabling new business to be written.

When I visited their offices in Baghdad’s Al Mansour district, CEO Sarah Safa Kasim and her team were busily expanding to serve a growing base of international and domestic clients.

Kasim also took me on a virtual tour of their impressive new HQ, designed by Mutaa Al Hashimi, which will be ready in 2022:

“We’re investing in the right people, the right technology and the right facilities – we’re very confident that Iraq can look forward to a bright future.”

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) held Iraq’s first International Tech Conference in Baghdad at the Babylon Rotana Baghdad Hotel on 30 April, hosting government ministers, private industry, entrepreneurs, investors, and representatives from the leading UK and Iraq Tech companies.

The purpose of the Conference was to drive confidence, investment and awareness of the power of the new tech economy and how it can benefit Iraq.

The event – Iraq Tech Conference – was led by Ashley Goodall, IBBC’s Marketing Adviser. Keynote addresses were given by H.E. Dr Sami Al Araji, Chairman of the National Investment Commission and Mr Ashraf Al Dahan, Chairman of the CMC Board of Commissioners.

The agenda for the day comprised four panels: Consumer Tech panel, E-Government Panel, Business Fintech and a Consumer Fintech Panel.

Fintech in particular is making strides forward with the blessing of the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), as Mr Waleed Eidi, Advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank, explained and encouraged the adoption of steps to include Women, those excluded from banking and the digital economy and young people.

The CBI is being ambitious in encouraging banks and financial institutions to modernise and offer new ways to distribute the flow of funds for investment and those who need it. This will also have a big impact on the overall economy and growth.

Ahmed Elkady of EY echoed the importance of Fintech as he led the Consumer FinTech Panel discussion onto technical infrastructure and what needs to happen to grow the opportunity for financial transactions. He was ably supported by National Bank of Iraq’s Eyad Mahmoud and Roger Abboud of Arab Payment Systems – who are modernising banking transactions – and Douglas Way of Almaseer Insurance – who are enabling business to reduce risks and transact insurance products rapidly and scalably.

The conference also embodied eight presentations:

  • “How technology is driving the business and consumer world in Iraq and Internationally” by Zain Iraq;
  • Online Literacy” by Dr Victoria Lindsay, Country Director – Iraq for the British Council;
  • Automating & digitising BP and Iraq” by Zaid Elyaseri, Country Manager-Iraq for BP;
  • Restrata Product Announcement” by Botan Osman, CEO for Restrata;
  • “Five One Labs” by Patricia Letayf, Co-Founder and Director of Operations for Five One Labs;
  • Blockchain and AI – The Future Talk” by Muhana Almrahleh, Director – Head of Information Technology Advisory for KPMG (Jordan); and,
  • How Re:Coded are Training the Next Generation of Technology Leaders in Iraq” by Zahra Shah, Country Manager-Iraq for Re:Coded.

Attendees were able to enjoy one-to-one meetings and conversations.

As part of the Tech Conference on April 30, IBBC hosted an Evening Reception for Entrepreneurs and Start-ups at The Station, Baghdad, the evening prior on 29 April. The evening, planned in partnership with Iraq Tech Ventures and Arabnet, showcased the growing tech community in the country and gave an outstanding platform for some of the leading start-ups and entrepreneurs in a more informal setting.

The participating start-ups pitched their business in 5 minutes to a panel of seven judges composed by: Mohammed Khudairi, Managing Partner of Khudairi Group and Founder of Iraq Tech Ventures; Hal Miran, CEO of MSelect and Founder of Bite.Tech and TechHub; Richard Greer, Venture Capital Investor in Asia, Middle East, & UK and Philanthropist in Northern Iraq; Zahra Shah, Iraq Country Manager for Re:Coded; Ali Ismail, Co-Founder of Fikraspace and Co-Founder & Partner of Solo Creative Studio; Patricia Letayf, Co-Founder and Director of Operations for Five One Labs and Maryam Allami, Advisor for Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

Through this first international Tech Conference in Iraq, IBBC aims to provide a foundation, a platform and focus for Tech in Iraq and give inspiration and confidence to those building a modern Iraq.

For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit our website at https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/

To contact IBBC for Interviews, registration and sponsorship please contact london@webuildiraq.org

(Source: IBBC)

The IBBC (Iraq Britain Business Council) is launching a Tech Conference in Baghdad on 29th and 30th April.

The Conference is showcasing leading Iraqi and International companies with the intention of building confidence for Tech initiatives within Iraq.

Iraq is at a pivotal point in its development as it revives and rebuilds its infrastructure, so now is an ideal time to review the opportunity that modernisation and tech could bring to the country. IBBC is keen to support modernisation and its benefits, and to share what we have learned in the UK.

With political leadership, a positive investment climate and the talent and interest among young people and the right educational skills, tech can take off in Iraq, in the way it has in the UK.

The conference aims to showcase the best tech companies in Iraq, to give confidence and support to those on the way up and to change perceptions about the country and encourage investment.

IBBC Marketing Consultant Ashley Goodall says:

“We believe that Technological applications can enable Iraq to become more productive and efficient and a drive for transparency, a mechanism for government payments, a means to interact with citizens, and a source of new employment opportunities for young people.”

Christophe Michels Managing Director of IBBC says:

“We are all excited about the prospect of holding this prestigious event for IBBC members, the Tech Community and the wider people of Iraq. We hope and expect it will have an impact on all audiences to encourage a more rapid uptake of technological expertise, skills, and investment in Iraq.”

Leading Iraqi companies include: Almaseer Insurance, Inspire Solutions, Zain Telecom, Careem, Switch, Media World, Zain Pay, National Bank of Iraq, KRG, Onyxes, Re:coded, Five One Labs, Khudairi Group, Iraq Tech ventures, Arabnet, Central Bank of Iraq and many international groups such as BP, PWC, EY Iraq, KPMG, Finastra and many more. The Governor of Central Bank of Iraq kindly confirmed his attendance.

IBBC want to provide a platform and focus for Tech in Iraq and give inspiration and confidence to those building a modern Iraq. Come and join the new wave and help modernise Iraq.

The IBBC Tech Conference is taking place in Baghdad, the Babylon Hotel on 30th April with an Entrepreneurs event on 29th April.

For information and registration https://www.ibbctechconference.org/

To register to Entrepreneurs event on 29th April: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/startup-battle-baghdad-tickets-60109360716

For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit our website at https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/

To contact IBBC for Interviews, registration and sponsorship please contact london@webuildiraq,org

(Source: IBBC)

The IBBC (Iraq Britain Business Council) is launching a Tech Conference in Baghdad on 29th and 30th April.

The Conference is showcasing leading Iraqi and International companies with the intention of building confidence for Tech initiatives within Iraq.

Iraq is at a pivotal point in its development as it revives and rebuilds its infrastructure, so now is an ideal time to review the opportunity that modernisation and tech could bring to the country. IBBC is keen to support modernisation and its benefits, and to share what we have learned in the UK.

With political leadership, a positive investment climate and the talent and interest among young people and the right educational skills, tech can take off in Iraq, in the way it has in the UK.

The conference aims to showcase the best tech companies in Iraq, to give confidence and support to those on the way up and to change perceptions about the country and encourage investment.

IBBC Marketing Consultant Ashley Goodall says:

“We believe that Technological applications can enable Iraq to become more productive and efficient and a drive for transparency, a mechanism for government payments, a means to interact with citizens, and a source of new employment opportunities for young people.”

Christophe Michels Managing Director of IBBC says:

“We are all excited about the prospect of holding this prestigious event for IBBC members, the Tech Community and the wider people of Iraq. We hope and expect it will have an impact on all audiences to encourage a more rapid uptake of technological expertise, skills, and investment in Iraq.”

Leading Iraqi companies include: Almaseer Insurance, Inspire Solutions, Zain Telecom, Careem, Switch, Media World, Zain Pay, National Bank of Iraq, KRG, Onyxes, Re:coded, Five One Labs, Khudairi Group, Iraq Tech ventures, Arabnet, Central Bank of Iraq and many international groups such as BP, PWC, EY Iraq, KPMG, Finastra and many more. The Governor of Central Bank of Iraq kindly confirmed his attendance.

IBBC want to provide a platform and focus for Tech in Iraq and give inspiration and confidence to those building a modern Iraq. Come and join the new wave and help modernise Iraq.

The IBBC Tech Conference is taking place in Baghdad, the Babylon Hotel on 30th April with an Entrepreneurs event on 29th April.

For information and registration https://www.ibbctechconference.org/

To register to Entrepreneurs event on 29th April: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/startup-battle-baghdad-tickets-60109360716

For more information on the Iraq Britain Business Council, visit our website at https://www.iraqbritainbusiness.org/

To contact IBBC for Interviews, registration and sponsorship please contact london@webuildiraq,org

(Source: IBBC)