In­sur­ing A Dig­i­tal Fu­ture

S Venkat­acha­lam, CEO of NLGIC, talks about how the com­pany has grown to be­come an in­dus­try leader, and its ex­cit­ing plans for the fu­ture.

Forbes Middle East - - OMAN COUNTRY REPORT - www.nlicgulf.com

You’ve been rec­og­nized for your con­tri­bu­tion to the growth of the re­gional and do­mes­tic in­sur­ance in­dus­try. What other ar­eas within the sec­tor would you like to trans­form?

For many years, in­sur­ance solutions in this part of the world have re­mained fairly un­changed, but con­sumer be­hav­ior has evolved. We fore­see lot of changes com­ing up in the in­sur­ance in­dus­try, in the way we do busi­ness.

We have been at the fore­front of dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, con­tin­u­ously up­dat­ing our­selves to make in­sur­ance sim­ple, have bet­ter reach and pro­vide cus­tomer de­light. We are se­ri­ous about de­vel­op­ing our dig­i­tal in­sur­ance busi­ness to in­crease in­sur­ance pen­e­tra­tion. Ac­cel­er­ated un­der­writ­ing through ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and ma­chine learn­ing will en­hance risk as­sess­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

We are also look­ing at IoT de­vices (telem­at­ics, wear­ables, etc) to help cus­tomers avoid un­for­tu­nate events and pro­vide us­age-based in­sur­ance. We want to play our part to make cus­tomers more in­formed through tal­ented in­sur­ance pro­fes­sion­als.

How were you able to build NLGIC into a ma­jor in­sur­ance player in the U.A.E and a dom­i­nant health in­sur­ance leader in Oman?

When I took over in 2003, we had a

Gross Writ­ten Pre­mium of four mil­lion Omani Riyals.

We have since grown to 135 mil­lion Omani Riyals and ex­panded to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait, and listed on Mus­cat Se­cu­ri­ties Mar­ket. We are now plan­ning to en­ter new mar­kets in the re­gion as well as out­side.

We have ex­panded our port­fo­lio from life and med­i­cal to other per­sonal lines prod­ucts, es­pe­cially mo­tor in­sur­ance, where we are one of the largest play­ers to­day. One of the ma­jor chal­lenges is the price war, which I think it is go­ing to con­tinue for some time un­less there are reg­u­la­tory changes or newer prod­ucts and ser­vice of­fer­ings. Our suc­cess has been thanks to our busi­ness model, based on cost lead­er­ship, and our abil­ity to grow and sus­tain in a cost sen­si­tive mar­ket.

How do you em­power your team to meet your or­ga­ni­za­tion’s goals in an ev­er­chang­ing mar­ket?

Our em­ploy­ees are our real strength and we work as one big fam­ily. There is a sense of be­long­ing among all of us and we work to­gether to achieve our or­ga­ni­za­tional goals. We have an open­door pol­icy and we share a com­mon goal to be the most trusted in­surer in all the mar­kets that we op­er­ate.

We have a very struc­tured tal­ent de­vel­op­ment pro­gram, which in­cludes iden­ti­fy­ing the right tal­ent, pro­vid­ing skill en­hance­ment pro­grams and fast­track­ing ca­reer pro­gres­sion to the right peo­ple to cre­ate the next-level lead­ers.

How are you us­ing tech­nol­ogy and other in­no­va­tions?

Many fin­tech com­pa­nies are en­ter­ing the in­sur­ance in­dus­try and the fu­ture looks ex­cit­ing. We are keen to in­vest in in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy, not only to keep our­selves ahead but also to man­age dis­rup­tion, which may hap­pen closer than we think. We have de­vel­oped our own NLGIC IN­SUR­ANCE mo­bile app and of­fer on­line dig­i­tal sales for buy­ing or re­new­ing in­sur­ance or track­ing med­i­cal claims. We will con­tinue to in­vest, in­no­vate and cre­ate value for all our cus­tomers, em­ploy­ees and stake­hold­ers.

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