Dare to Be­lieve & Aspire

IN­SUR­ANCE in­ter­viewed the Win­ner of the Young Taka­ful Man­agers Award 2013, Fauzul Nizam Mo­hamed Zain, Se­nior Man­ager – Agency De­vel­op­ment, AIA AFG Taka­ful Bhd about his as­pi­ra­tions and achieve­ments in the taka­ful in­dus­try.

Insurance - - CONTENTS -

The Win­ner of the Young Taka­ful Man­agers Award 2013, Fauzul Nizam Mo­hamed Zain, talks about his as­pi­ra­tions and achieve­ments in the taka­ful in­dus­try.

On Win­ning the Award

Fauzul felt happy and hon­oured to have won the award as it was not merely a per­sonal achieve­ment but also a recog­ni­tion of AIA AFG Taka­ful Bhd’s con­tri­bu­tion to the in­dus­try. AIA AFG Taka­ful is rel­a­tively new as the com­pany was launched about three years ago. In that short time, the com­pany has grown to be among the Top 5 play­ers in the in­dus­try. Fauzul at­tributes this achieve­ment to good team work.

Per­sonal Achieve­ments & Con­tri­bu­tion to the Taka­ful In­dus­try

Fauzul’s ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­sur­ance in­dus­try spans about eight years. He was in­volved in con­ven­tional in­sur­ance in the first two years and sub­se­quently moved to the taka­ful in­dus­try. Dur­ing his early days in the in­dus­try, he re­counted how he was part of a team, which was tasked with con­vert­ing the con­ven­tional salaried staff op­er­at­ing on a com­mis­sion sys­tem (mud­harabah) into a three-tier agency sys­tem. When Fauzul and his team as­sessed the con­ven­tional sys­tem, they re­alised that it was very costly to the com­pany and this sys­tem also sti­fled the com­pany’s po­ten­tial for ex­pan­sion. This was the rea­son for Fauzul and his team to in­tro­duce the three-tier agency sys­tem which fol­lows Bank Ne­gara Malaysia’s guide­line. Ac­cord­ing to Fauzul, many top in­sur­ers have adopted this sys­tem suc­cess­fully, in­clud­ing AIA. The three-tier sys­tem is purely com­mis­sion­based. It views mem­bers of the sales team as busi­ness part­ners. As en­trepreneurs and busi­ness part­ners, they are ea­ger to in­vest in their busi­ness, set up an of­fice premise for op­er­a­tions and thereby, ex­pand their busi­ness. This model is prac­ti­cal es­pe­cially for those lo­cated out­side the city area i.e. in smaller towns such as Kuala Tereng­ganu or Ker­tih. In AIA AFG Taka­ful, the direc­tive was to set up a di­rect mar­ket­ing team, where tele­mar­keters sell fam­ily taka­ful prod­ucts via the tele­phone. A few ma­jor tel­cos have been en­gaged and ar­range­ments made to en­able both par­ties to ben­e­fit from this ex­er­cise. Ac­cord­ing to Fauzul, not many taka­ful com­pa­nies have ven­tured into di­rect mar­ket­ing be­cause the set up is rather ex­pen­sive. In AIA AFG Taka­ful, tele­mar­ket­ing is one of the ma­jor rev­enue con­trib­u­tors. The idea of tele­mar­ket­ing is to ex­plore dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to reach cus­tomers and the prod­ucts that are sold in this man­ner are also com­pet­i­tively priced.

Con­tri­bu­tion to the Taka­ful In­dus­try

Fauzul is also ac­tively in­volved in the de­vel­op­ment of the lo­cal taka­ful in­dus­try through his par­tic­i­pa­tion as a mem­ber of the Malaysian Taka­ful As­so­ci­a­tion (MTA). In MTA, he

con­trib­uted to the set­ting up of the Taka­ful Ba­sic Ex­am­i­na­tion (TBE), a joint ef­fort by MTA, The Malaysian In­sur­ance In­sti­tute (MII) and the Is­lamic Bank­ing & Fi­nance Malaysia (IBFIM). He said, “I was with a team that de­vel­oped the mod­ule and mod­er­ated the ques­tion­naire. We have also tied up with the Open Univer­sity, which man­ages the on­line reg­is­tra­tions and com­put­er­i­sa­tion of the ex­am­i­na­tion. Par­tic­i­pants are of­fered an e-mod­ule where they can study at their own pace and take the ex­am­i­na­tion when they are ready.” In MTA, Fauzul is also in­volved in the Learn­ing and De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee. The man­date in this com­mit­tee is mainly to pro­mote the knowl­edge and aware­ness about taka­ful. Part of the ini­tia­tive the com­mit­tee has car­ried out in­cludes the stu­dent in­tern­ship pro­gramme with se­lected univer­sity, namely, Univer­siti Sul­tan Zainal Abidin (UniZAR) this is an Is­lamic univer­sity in Kuala Tereng­ganu and also, Univer­siti Sains Is­lam Malaysia (USIM) lo­cated in Ni­lai. On 16 April 2013, a third univer­sity came on board which is Univer­siti Te­knologi MARA (UiTM). In to­tal, three uni­ver­si­ties are pro­vid­ing the in­tern­ship pro­gramme. The lo­cal taka­ful in­dus­try has grown sig­nif­i­cantly since 2006. How­ever, there is a short­age of tal­ents in the taka­ful in­dus­try hence MTA’s aim of launch­ing ed­u­ca­tion, aware­ness and pro­mo­tional cour­ses to ex­pose and en­cour­age young grad­u­ates’ par­tic­i­pa­tion in its in­tern­ship pro­grammes. Ad­di­tion­ally, the Learn­ing and De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee also do­nates taka­ful lit­er­a­ture to higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions’ li­braries so that stu­dents can use them for the­sis ref­er­ence and fur­ther their ed­u­ca­tion about taka­ful. This en­deav­our is to change the gen­eral pub­lic’s per­cep­tion about taka­ful agents and to view them as pro­fes­sional con­sul­tants. Aside from ed­u­ca­tion en­deav­ours, Fauzul is also in­volved in the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee that works in col­lab­o­ra­tion with MII and IBFIM to host the an­nual Taka­ful Agent Con­fer­ence. This ini­tia­tive is to pro­vide con­tin­ual pro­fes­sional up­dates and sup­port to ex­ist­ing taka­ful agents. This con­fer­ence en­ables agents to keep abreast with the lat­est mar­ket trends and de­vel­op­ment na­tion­wide as well as glob­ally.

Taka­ful In­dus­try Ini­tia­tives

Fauzul was asked what he would like to see the taka­ful in­dus­try do more for it­self. He said, “To me, I feel the taka­ful in­dus­try needs to pro­mote a sense of unity among the play­ers. This can be in many forms in terms of en­gage­ment and ed­u­ca­tion to pub­lic.” He pointed out, “In fact, the in­dus­try can come out with a com­mon prod­uct, sim­i­lar to Bi­jak Malaysia that was de­vel­oped by LIAM. The taka­ful in­dus­try can also de­velop some­thing sim­i­lar where all com­pa­nies can have one sim­i­lar prod­uct. Cur­rently, there are only about 11 to 12 play­ers and I think this is a good ground to start some­thing like this.”

The Qual­i­ties of a Re­spect­ful Taka­ful Leader

Fauzul ad­mires his su­pe­rior, the CEO of AIA AFG Taka­ful Bhd, as he per­son­i­fies a re­spect­ful leader. Fauzul also be­lieves that in­tegrity is a given in this ca­reer and line of busi­ness. How­ever, go­ing be­yond that, he be­lieves that to­day’s lead­ers must en­gage with the peo­ple. He ob­serves that mod­ern lead­ers keep peo­ple in touch with their plans. They do not iso­late them­selves or seem un­ap­proach­able. Such mod­ern lead­ers have the abil­ity to en­cour­age his or her peo­ple to be­come more aware and alert, and help them un­der­stand what peo­ple are fight­ing for. At the mo­ment, AIA and ING are go­ing through a huge in­te­gra­tion process. It is rare in Fauzul’s opin­ion to see two huge gi­ants go­ing through an in­te­gra­tion process. In fact, there is much to learn for ev­ery­one at all lev­els of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. Even his CEO, who has been in the in­dus­try for over 20 years, says that he is learn­ing from this ex­pe­ri­ence. Fauzul said, “In the near fu­ture, if AIA AFG Taka­ful Bhd be­comes a big force in the mar­ket, I will be very proud as I feel I am mak­ing his­tory. I feel a sense of be­long­ing and I can at­test to the fact that I was in­volved in the en­tire process from start to fin­ish.”

Words of En­cour­age­ment to Peers in the Taka­ful In­dus­try

He would like to con­grat­u­late his peers for be­ing part of the taka­ful in­dus­try. This is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause in Malaysia, there are about 66,000 agents and the in­dus­try has been grow­ing at dou­ble dig­its an­nu­ally. It is a great place to be in now and taka­ful is no longer per­ceived as old-fash­ioned.

Words of En­cour­age­ment to Young Taka­ful Agents

Through his jour­ney in the world of in­sur­ance, Fauzul learnt that there is al­ways an op­por­tu­nity for growth. He en­cour­ages young taka­ful agents to be open minded but he also cau­tions them as well say­ing that, “some­times the very rea­son for our suc­cess can also be the same rea­son for us to be­come com­pla­cent.” He be­lieves that any­thing is pos­si­ble as long as peo­ple main­tain dy­namism and in­no­va­tion. He also be­lieves that young peo­ple to­day need to be ver­sa­tile and be ac­cept­ing of change. Fauzul said, “I used to be­lieve in life we need to make sac­ri­fices. But I ob­served to­day’s CEOs are very suc­cess­ful in their ca­reer, their pri­vate and so­cial life. So, there is no rea­son for us to be un­suc­cess­ful in many ar­eas of our lives. I be­lieve that the peo­ple who have the most flex­i­bil­ity, have the most con­trol.”

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