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.
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.