The UAE’s financial services sector has seen an increase in the uptake of insurance products that are in line with Islamic principles, according to new data released on Friday. 

The number of written Takaful or Islamic insurance policies issued across the emirates rose by around 20% to 992,106 in 2021, from 820,517 in 2020, the UAE central bank said in a new report. 

Also in the same year, providers of Takaful insurance logged a total of AED 4.35 billion ($1.2 billion) in gross written contributions (GWC), up by 0.51% from the AED 4.32 billion recorded in 2020.  

The amount of GWC in the Takaful sector accounted for nearly 10% of the overall gross written premiums in the UAE insurance industry. 

The total net written contributions (NWC) also increased by 7.04% from AED 2.3 billion in 2020 to AED 2.46 billion in 2021. 

Policies related to healthcare accounted for the largest share of gross written subscriptions in the Takaful insurance sector, around 43%, followed by insurance on assets and liabilities (38.3%) and family and fund accumulation (18.1%). 

The UAE was the first country in the Middle East and North Africa (MEN) region to regulate the Takaful insurance sector in 2010. 

As of 2021, the UAE is home to a total of 62 insurers, 12 of them are specialising in Takaful insurance. 

Across the GCC, the UAE is the second-biggest market for Takaful insurance after Saudi Arabia in terms of asset size, according to Alpen Capital in its report last year. Qatar and Bahrain came in the third and fourth spot. 

The region has more than 47 listed Takaful operators with combined premiums amounting to $11.9 billion in 2020, up from $10.6 billion in 2018. 

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Daniel Luiz)