Best general takaful provider: HSBC Amanah
Although Takaful Malaysia remains a major player in the field of shariah-compliant insurance, offering some 117 types of general takaful schemes, it is primarily focused on southeast Asia. In contrast, the winner of this year’s award, HSBC Amanah, has a global reach. It now offers general takaful products to both its retail and corporate clients in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK, via a combination of its own manufacturing capability and white labelling. The general takaful offering was only initiated in late 2004, however, meaning that volumes are still small.
While shariah-compliant insurance remains an underdeveloped field of Islamic finance worldwide, HSBC Amanah has led the drive to expand the takaful market. In July 2005, the bank became the first UK high-street financial services institution to offer an Islamic insurance product, selling Home takaful from its UK call centres.
Ajmal Bhatty, global head of takaful, says that the product provides buildings and contents cover and is “the first in a range of Islamic finance products to be introduced” in the UK. Next will be a mortgage protection plan, then more investment-related products. The products will aim to meet the “pent-up demand for Islamic finance solutions” among Britain’s 1.8