AbdulHameed Al Ammadi, the general manager of the Bahrain Insurance Association, hailed Keypoint’s insurance seminar, held at the Downtown Rotana in Bahrain. “Insurance is a critical sector of the national economy and to have over three-quarters of the Kingdom’s insurance sector present at today’s VAT seminar is a sign of growing recognition – by the industry and its stakeholders – that VAT is going to give rise to a wide range of challenges. Keypoint and its team of consultants with broad insurance experience highlighted many of those challenges in an engaging and instructive way.”
Mubeen Khadir, who heads Keypoint’s tax practice, welcomed the opportunity to share his teams’ expertise with over 70 key insurance executives. “Our team has worked with over a dozen insurance companies over the last six months on VAT implementation and advisory, working with insurers, reinsurers and brokers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and here in Bahrain. That experience is hugely useful for insurance stakeholders here in Bahrain. On top of that, our two presenters also worked with insurance companies in Malaysia, which is a significant centre for the insurance industry, both conventional and Islamic.”
Sheikh Omar Hisham and Chris Parks, both managers in Keypoint’s tax practice and recognised as leading advisers to the insurance industry across the GCC, discussed basic VAT concepts and gave a general overview of how VAT would affect the insurance industry in general, before explaining how VAT would affect specific parts of the insurance sector, looking at direct insurance, reinsurance and brokerage. They showcased lessons learned from implementation in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, before setting out a suggested path for the industry.
Al Ammadi, an insurance veteran who was recently appointed to lead the BIA, welcomed Keypoint’s contribution and stressed the importance of the sector working together. “One of the things that really impressed me was the makeup of the audience, with representation not only from industry but from the wider stakeholder group, such as the Central Bank of Bahrain and Bahrain’s Economic Development Board. We need to work as an industry to ensure that we speak with one voice – and ensure the industry as a whole is ready for the implementation of VAT.”
The Minister of Finance announced at the recent EuroMoney GCC conference, held in Bahrain, that the Ministry of Finance was working to implement VAT by the end of 2018.