March 12, 2019 / 6:44 AM / 14 days ago

UPDATE 1-Dubai-based Oman Insurance says blocked from Qatar

(Adds detail, background and context)

DUBAI, March 12 (Reuters) - Dubai-headquartered Oman Insurance Co has been banned from selling insurance in Qatar after the Gulf Arab state’s central bank rejected its application to open a branch in the country, the financial services firm said on Tuesday.

The decision comes amid strained ties between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates that has seen both sides accuse each other of unfair business practices.

The rejection means Oman Insurance is prohibited from selling and issuing insurance in Qatar, the company said in a bourse statement.

Oman Insurance, listed on the Dubai Stock Exchange, has a presence in the Gulf region, according to its website.

The company is chaired by prominent Emirati businessman Abdulaziz Abdulla al-Ghurair, who is also the chief executive of Dubai-based Mashreqbank.

Qatar’s central bank officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bahrain had cut political, trade, and transport ties with Qatar in June 2017 and accused the nation of backing terrorism, a charge that Doha denies.

Qatar had injected about $38.5 billion of its $340 billion reserves into its economy to cushion the impact of its neighbours’ embargo, according to a 2017 Moody’s report.

However, it was not clear whether Qatar central bank’s rejection was a direct result of the dispute.

In December 2017, Qatar General Insurance and Reinsurance Co stated that it would exit the Dubai insurance market, and had stopped issuing insurance policies by late-2018. (Reporting by Saaed Azhar, writing by Alexander Cornwell, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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