Takaful rules in limbo after court hearing

Date undecided for next hearing; the restraining order stays effective.

Reuters August 16, 2012

DUBAI: Pakistan’s conventional insurance firms will have to wait a few more weeks to learn if they can open takaful (Islamic insurance) windows after the Sindh High Court on Thursday adjourned a case challenging new regulations for the sector.

Five takaful operators – Takaful Pakistan, Dawood Family Takaful, Pak-Qatar Family Takaful, Pak-Qatar General Takaful and Pak-Kuwait Takaful Company – filed a petition in the court in Sindh, the country’s second-largest Islamic banking market, to protest the rules which allow conventional insurers to offer takaful services.

“The court has been adjourned, a date has not been fixed yet,” said Vaseeq Khalid, senior associate at law firm Mohsin Tayebaly and Co, which represents the takaful firms.

Khalid, speaking from Karachi, said the next hearing could be in two to three weeks, while the court’s initial injunction blocking the rules remains in place. On Thursday, the court handled administrative procedures related to the matter.

Takaful Rules, 2012 would make Pakistan the second country after Indonesia to officially allow takaful windows, which enable firms to offer Shariah-compliant and conventional products side by side, provided client money is segregated.

The rules also call for a centralised supervisory board to monitor all takaful operators, including windows.

Conventional players appear keen to enter the market, at least four to five companies have prepared working papers. State Life Insurance Corporation made clear its intentions of launching its own brand of Shariah-compliant insurance products.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2012.


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