she can obtain cashless treatment, know the status of their reimbursement claim or pre-approval request.
Our personal lines clients can obtain the details of policies that we arranged for them and details of our branch network. They will be advised of the upcoming policy renewals.
As a public service, we will launch a mobile app, where one can register expiry dates of policies he/she holds, passport / visa renewal dates etc. We will send notifications of impending expiry / renewal dates to assist the person in taking timely action.
We have launched our public Apps through our social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn under the name RMS Aldhaman.
A LOT OF MONEY GOES TO GLOBAL REINSURERS, HOW CAN LOCAL INSURANCE COMPANIES RETAIN A LARGER PORTION OF THAT WITHIN THE COUNTRY?
There are many ways to encourage insurance companies to retain risk and premium in the country. In some countries, such as Malaysia, local insurers can only reinsure overseas once they have offered the risk to all local insurers and reinsurers. The National Reinsurer is also obliged to accept a compulsory reinsurance cession of all policies issued. In Oman the capital requirement for an insurance company is now RO.10mn, however, with very cheap reinsurance available most local insurers prefer to reinsure the majority of, non-motor, risks they accept, overseas. However, if reinsurance becomes too expensive, local insurance companies may decide to retain more risk within their own balance sheets, thus reducing the amount of money disappearing outside the country.
As the market matures companies will be able to build reserves, employ more experienced underwriters and retain risk on their own balance sheet rather than reinsuring overseas.
IS OMANISATION A FOCUS AREA FOR RMS?
Absolutely, we were ahead of the curve and out of a staff strength of 120 we have achieved close to 80 per cent of Omanisation and we are very proud of that. We believe that there was an announcement last week that requires all insurance brokers to increase their Omanisation rate from 65 per cent to 75 per cent. We are pleased to say that we are already there, but despite that we are being asked to take on more staff as part of the government’s drive to recruit 25,000 Omanis of which 5,000 are allocated to the financial sector. We are in expansion mode and our shareholders are fully supportive of us increasing our offices, staff and supportive of us taking and training more Omanis.
CAN YOU SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON 2018 AND WHAT IT HOLDS IN STORE FOR YOUR INDUSTRY?
Nobody is being optimistic about any increase in oil prices in 2018 and we all need to accept that oil prices are going to remain depressed in the long term. We have to find other ways to generate revenues and that’s what we have done with our business by moving into personal lines, focussing on technology, employee benefits and making sure that we are providing the best possible service. If the client is happy with your service then they are going to stay with you, if not, they will move.
Accordingly, we are consolidating in some sectors, have selected our segments for expansion and then made an informed investment into those chosen areas. Even though the oil price has been depressed since June 2014, it is possible to grow one’s business in Oman and we are optimistic that we can achieve sustainable growth, albeit with a different business model.
YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY FOR A FEW DECADES, CAN YOU SHARE A FEW DETAILS ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE?
I have worked in the insurance industry for 39 years. After a grounding in the Lloyd’s and Company Markets in London, in 1982 I was posted to Lagos, Nigeria by Stewart Wrightson (now Willis Towers Watson). After returning to London in 1985, I was given responsibility for developing Construction and Engineering insurance in the Middle East and travelled the region extensively.
In fact, I visited Oman twice in 1986. In 1989 I accepted a position with Jardine Insurance Brokers (now JLT) in Hong Kong and remained in East Asia for 23 years. During this time, I was based in Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia and for 12 years held regional roles spanning Asia Pacific including Managing Director and then Deputy Chairman for JLT Asia.
Prior to joining RMS in Oman, I was recruited by Zurich Insurance Company (ZIC) as CEO of Zurich Insurance Company’s (ZIC) Global Corporate Division (ZGC) in Asia Pacific. At that time, ZGC had no presence in Asia Pacific. During this period, I established ZGC operations in Japan, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Singapore and Australia and developed revenues of US$475 million.
Whilst based in Indonesia (as President Director of JLT) I was a director of the British Chamber of Commerce; a member of the British Ambassador’s Economic Advisory Board and I have been regular panellist at the East Asian World Economic Forum (WEF). Over the past two years I studied for a Master of Science Degree in Global Management from the University of Salford, Manchester; proving it is never too late to learn!
My wife and I thoroughly enjoy living in Oman. It really is a beautiful and remarkable country and the Omani people are the most friendly and welcoming of any country in which I have lived.