Central Bank of Bahrain governor Rasheed Al Maraj has urged the country's insurance companies to merge in order to create stronger and more competitive entities.

The governor however clarified that the Central bank will not intervene in the services offered by insurers.

Bahraini Alwasat newspaper quoted the Central bank governor saying: "We need to look at the question of integration and formation of large entities able to provide new services and products for customers to compete at the same time with big companies,"

"Our key task is to provide the legislative environment for all activities, and to guarantee the controls governing the work of these companies," he added.

By the end of 2010, the size of the insurance industry in Bahrain reached more than $530.6m, the paper reported.

According to the General Arab Insurance Federation, the penetration rate of insurance companies in the Arab world was at least 25%and the volume of insurance premiums in the region about $20bn by the end of the year 2010.