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EghtesadOnline: Iran's insurance industry grew by 22% during the year to March 20, 2017, with insurance penetration rate improving by 0.4% to reach 2.1%, said the president of the Central Insurance of Iran.

"Although our insurance penetration rate stands higher than the average in the Middle East and North Africa, it is still below global standards," Abdolnasser Hemmati was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

The official also elaborated on the objectives of CII for the current year, saying  they included the ratification of corporate governance rules in the first meeting of the High Council of Insurance, the gradual implementation of International Financial Reporting Standards and obligating insurance companies to present their financial stalemates in the first half of the year in line with the new standards.

Other goals included launching the Natural Disaster Insurance Fund, accelerating growth in life insurance, absorbing foreign investments, strengthening the infrastructure of Sahnab (CII's database) and employing half of IT sector's requested manpower, Financial Tribune reported.

"According to the law, insurance companies can attract foreign investment with foreign firms allowed to own 49% of the local insurers' shares and we expect this to happen in the current year," the CII president added.

Hemmati also talked about CII's proposal to eliminate value added tax from all insurance policies.

"Insurance premiums will come down by 9% if the tax proposal is approved," he said.

Hemmati noted that the remaining government stakes in Asia, Alborz and Dana insurance companies will be divested in the current year.

"We also endeavor to raise the capital of Iran Insurance Company by settling government debts to the insurer," he said. 

Abdolnasser Hemmati Iran Insurance Central Insurance of Iran Iran insurance industry Iran insurance penetration