‘Lib­erty makes fi­nan­cial free­dom pos­si­ble’

Lesotho Times - - Business -

PAN-AFRICAN fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pany, Lib­erty Life In­sur­ance, re­cently for­ayed into the Le­sotho mar­ket. The life in­sur­ance com­pany is headed by Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Makhakhe Maliehe, who knows the in­dus­try like the palm of his hand. Le­sotho Times (LT) re­porter Bereng Mpaki this week caught up with Mr Maliehe to find out what makes him tick.

LT: Who is Makhakhe Maliehe?

Maliehe: I am a 44-year old Mosotho man who is mar­ried, and has three beau­ti­ful daugh­ters. Born in Mafeteng, I grew up went to school in Maseru. I grew up play­ing street soc­cer like most kids and ul­ti­mately played for Mat­lama Ju­niors un­til I en­rolled at the Na­tional Univer­sity of Le­sotho (NUL) where I joined Rovers. I then joined Arse­nal briefly af­ter com­plet­ing my de­gree and then hung my boots. I still play soc­cer to keep fit in fivea-side for­mat. I also love trav­el­ling and read­ing in­spi­ra­tional books. But play­ing with my lit­tle daugh­ters is my favourite pas­time.

LT: BRIEFLY OUT­LINE YOUR ED­U­CA­TIONAL BACK­GROUND?

Maliehe: I stud­ied for a Bach­e­lor of Com­merce in Ac­count­ing as my first de­gree at NUL. I then did a post­grad­u­ate de­gree at the Univer­sity of the Free State where I at­tained my Hon­ours and Masters in Mar­ket­ing and Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion from 2003 to 2007.

LT: WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?

Maliehe: My first job was work­ing as a tem­po­rary cashier at the bur­sar’s of­fice at NUL and I men­tion this be­cause it was a defin­ing pe­riod in my pro­fes­sional jour­ney. I had stud­ied ac­count­ing and ex­cited about ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a real ac­count­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

I learnt a lot by in­ter­act­ing, though briefly, with ac­com­plished pro­fes­sion­als. But I also dis­cov­ered that ac­count­ing was not what I wanted to spend the rest of my life do­ing. As fate al­ways in­ter­feres, I got a full time job as a Mar­ket­ing and Ad­ver­tis­ing Man­ager in the Min­istry of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and that is where I fell in love with mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing and the power of per­sua­sion.

My re­spon­si­bil­ity was to fill the ad­ver­tis­ing space for the gov­ern­ment news­pa­pers with ad­verts and then see that the copies are sold through­out the coun­try. This was very tough as ad­ver­tis­ing was not as big in those days and cor­po­rates were re­ally not see­ing the value of spend­ing money on ad­ver­tis­ing. But through hard work and knock­ing on doors we man­aged to fill ad­ver­tis­ing space ev­ery sin­gle week.

I then moved to Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Author­ity (WASA which is now Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Com­pany) as a Mar­ket­ing Man­ager. This was a dif­fer­ent ball game since Ba­sotho believe no eco­nomic value should be at­tached to wa­ter since it is a nat­u­ral re­source.

LT: WHEN DID YOU JOIN THE IN­SUR­ANCE IN­DUS­TRY?

Maliehe: In 2012, I joined Met­ro­pol­i­tan Le­sotho as Head of Re­tail. I was for­tu­nate to get an op­por­tu­nity to join a fi­nan­cial com­pany. I worked re­ally hard to un­der­stand the in­sur­ance in­dus­try and I also grew per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally be­cause when you are en­trusted to look af­ter fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests of peo­ple you have to do that with in­tegrity, hon­esty and the high­est level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism. I also ac­quired a pro­fes­sional cer­tifi­cate in or­der to im­prove my in­sur­ance pro­fi­ciency.

LT: WHAT IN­FLU­ENCED YOU TO JOIN THE IN­SUR­ANCE IN­DUS­TRY?

Maliehe: It was my plan to ul­ti­mately join the pri­vate sec­tor and move into main­stream mar­ket­ing and sales.

LT: TELL US ABOUT SOME OF YOUR OUTSTAND- ING ACHIEVE­MENTS TO DATE

Maliehe: I in­tro­duced a few things at WASA. For ex­am­ple, I set up a cus­tomer ser­vice area where clients could go and ap­ply for ser­vices in one place and also make en­quiries and queries. This re­ally changed the ex­pe­ri­ence of clients when in­ter­act­ing with the com­pany as pre­vi­ously as a client you had to go di­rectly to rel­e­vant de­part­ments to re­quest a ser­vice or com­plain.

I also qual­i­fied for a few per­for­mance-driven com­pe­ti­tions at Met­ro­pol­i­tan as my team did quite well ev­ery year un­der my stew­ard­ship.

LT: WHEN DID YOU JOIN LIB­ERTY?

Maliehe: I joined Lib­erty in 2015. Lib­erty ac­tu­ally ap­proached me to ap­ply for the po­si­tion of Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor and ini­tially I was very re­luc­tant as I was still do­ing well in my pre­vi­ous job. But when we dis­cussed their plans and I got a view of their model and prod­ucts, I made a de­ci­sion to join them. Lib­erty had ac­tu­ally done their home­work on the en­vi­ron­ment and un­der­stood the needs of clients.

LT: WHAT CAN BA­SOTHO EX­PECT FROM LIB­ERTY UN­DER YOUR LEAD­ER­SHIP?

Maliehe: Ba­sotho can ex­pect to be served by a com­pany that un­der­stand their needs. Our re­search re­vealed that Ba­sotho are look­ing for three fun­da­men­tal things:

Peace of mind from the knowl­edge that their wealth is pro­tected should they die, be dis­abled, or suf­fer from crit­i­cal ill­nesses such as cancer, stroke, heart at­tack and so on. ba­sotho are look­ing for af­ford­able so­lu­tions.

And lastly, they are look­ing for sim­ple so­lu­tions and this does not only talk to prod­ucts but the ser­vice in gen­eral, but claim pro­cesses among oth­ers.

Be­cause our point of de­par­ture was a clear un­der­stand­ing of the mar­ket needs, we are in­tro­duc­ing prod­ucts that ad­dress the three fun­da­men­tal needs above. Our prod­ucts are sim­ple and af­ford­able. For ex­am­ple, we re­cently launched a fu­neral plan that gives clients high pay-outs at very low pre­mi­ums.

We have the best tech­nol­ogy to man­age the ser­vice process, that is, from a point of sale to claim stage. We are go­ing to em­power our bro­kers and give them gad­gets that will al­low them to make sales and is­sue con­tracts with­out nec­es­sar­ily hav­ing to come to the of­fice and that is the power of tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion.

So as a leader of this com­pany I am go­ing to en­sure that we lis­ten to clients and con­tinue work­ing hard to meet their in­sur­ance needs. I ex­pect the same from the team that I work with.

I should also add that the in­sur­ance in­dus­try in most coun­tries, and Le­sotho is no ex­cep­tion, is rid­dled by com­mis­sion-driven sales which most times have noth­ing to do with the needs of clients. We at Lib­erty were once burnt by this model and our model is not driven by com­mis­sion but we al­low clients to buy what they need and not push them to get a sale through.

LT: WHAT MES­SAGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO PASS ON AS A LEADER TO PROSPEC­TIVE CLIENTS?

Maliehe: My mes­sage to the clients and prospec­tive clients of Lib­erty Life Le­sotho is that we are here to make fi­nan­cial free­dom pos­si­ble for them. Lib­erty has trav­elled the jour­ney and Ba­sotho should know that they are in the hands of a com­pany that knows what it is do­ing. We fold our sleeves ev­ery day to make this pos­si­ble. We are also known for pay­ing claims and that is why peo­ple buy in­sur­ance in the first place.

For me lead­er­ship is when you believe that a vi­sion or goal is achiev­able and you are able to in­spire peo­ple to take the jour­ney to­wards through your ac­tions, sup­port, lis­ten­ing and be­ing dis­ci­plined and firm on traits or be­hav­iours that have to be lived.

I have so many things that in­spire my lead­er­ship style and most are from my own per­sonal jour­ney and some from the things I see in life. The strength of my sin­gle mother who raised three kids on her own. The in­spi­ra­tion some­times comes from lit­tle things like watch­ing small kids play­ing and see­ing how one of them is so charis­matic and nat­u­rally in­flu­ences the oth­ers.

It could be from icons like Chief Mohlomi who was King Moshoeshoe I’s ad­vi­sor who when the King, then known as Le­poqo, asked him what the se­cret of great lead­er­ship is, the great sage said “Motse ha o hauoe ka setl­hare, seth­lare ke pelo”, mean­ing the only true medicine to be a great leader is the heart.

My mes­sage to the clients and prospec­tive clients of Lib­erty Life Le­sotho is that we are here to make fi­nan­cial free­dom pos­si­ble for them. Lib­erty has trav­elled the jour­ney and Ba­sotho should know that they are in the hands of a com­pany that knows what it is do­ing.

Lib­erty Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Makhakhe Maliehe.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.