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Thursday, January 1, 2009

International Takaful in Malaysia

Takaful (Islamic insurance) is a concept whereby a group of participants mutually guarantee each other against loss or damage. Each participant fulfils his / her obligation by contributing a certain amount of donation (or tabarru) into a fund, which is managed by a third party – the takaful operator.

In the event of loss or damage suffered, the takaful operator will disburse the funds accordingly to its participants. Any surplus is paid out only after the obligation of assisting the participants has been fulfilled. Through this principle, takaful operates as a protection and profit sharing venture between the takaful operator and the participants.

Globally, the takaful industry has been growing rapidly, appealing to both Muslims and non-Muslims. The industry is expected to grow by 15-20% annually, with contributions expected to reach USD7.4 billion by 2015.1 Currently, there are more than 110 takaful operators worldwide.

Malaysia has achieved significant milestones in the development of its takaful industry. With the enactment of the Takaful Act 1984, the first takaful company was established in 1985. Since then, Malaysia’s takaful industry has been gaining momentum and increasingly recognised as a significant contributor to Malaysia’s overall Islamic financial system.

As at 2007, total assets of Malaysia’s takaful industry amounted to USD2.8 billion, with market penetration of 7.2%.2 Takaful assets and net contributions experienced strong growth with an average annual growth rate of 27% and 19% respectively from 2003 to 2007.3

The rapid liberalisation of Malaysia’s Islamic financial industry has encouraged foreign institutions’ participation in Malaysia, thus creating a diverse and growing community of domestic and international takaful operators. There are currently eight takaful operators and two retakaful operators, with five foreign participations from the UK, Bahrain, Germany and Japan. These takaful operators conduct both domestic and foreign currency business.

Malaysia continues to progress and build on the industry’s rapid development by inviting financial institutions across the world to establish takaful and retakaful operations in Malaysia to conduct foreign currency business.

The domestic Islamic financial institutions may also apply for ICBU, a dedicated division to conduct foreign currency business. ICBU will also be accorded various tax incentives and privileges that lead to reduction in the cost of doing business and expedient market entry in foreign currency Islamic finance business. For more information on the establishment and application procedure for ICBU, please contact MIFC Secretariat.

(MIFC)

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