MUSCAT: American International Group (AIG), one of the world’s leading insurance companies, on Monday announced the opening of four new branches in Oman.

These branches will be located in Nizwa, Ibri, Salalah and Sur, and will allow AIG to further expand its business in the sultanate, where it has been active for the past 14 years.

AIG’s core focus in Oman will be to broaden its existing customer base and grow its market share, through the introduction of new products and services across both its retail and corporate segments. A further element of AIG’s expansion strategy in the sultanate will be the development of its business through bancassurance, building on its successful partnership with Bank Muscat, a press release said.

In keeping with its strong commitment to develop local talent, AIG plans to further invest in a new training academy and will introduce world-class learning and development training programmes for its local staff and distribution partners in Oman. The new training academy will be based in Muscat and will play an important role in developing the overall Omani insurance sector and further enhancing customer service.

AIG will also increase its own Omanisation rate, which is already at 85 per cent against a requirement of 65 per cent for the sector. The company is also investing in the greater application of customer service technology.

At the formal opening of the Nizwa branch, Ahmed Ali al Mamari, director general of insurance supervision at the Capital Market Authority, said, “The opening of these new branches is a reflection of AIG’s commitment to build insurance awareness and improve the image of insurance in the interior regions of Oman. Such branches will enhance the competition among insurance companies to develop the level of coverage and quality of service provided to clients.”

Neelmani Bhardwaj, general manager at AIG Oman, said, “This significant expansion of our presence represents an exciting opportunity to grow AIG’s business, and the wider Omani insurance industry. Considering that the current insurance penetration rate in Oman as a proportion of GDP is only around one per cent, compared to the global average of approximately seven per cent, we believe Oman is a highly attractive market for all our product lines.”