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UAE - Finance

Ahmad H Idris

CEO, Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC)

Bio

Ahmad Idris is the Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC). He has extensive management and leadership experience, having worked in the insurance industry for over 40 years. Known for his professionalism and commitment to quality, Mr. Idris’s proven leadership abilities have made him a veteran in developing and motivating others to achieve their goals. In his role, he is responsible for leading, developing and executing the company’s strategy. He has been instrumental in propelling ADNIC to ever greater heights over the past 7 years as CEO. Under his leadership ADNIC has won several prestigious industry awards and has registered steady financial growth. While he assumed the role of CEO in 2014, he has previously had an illustrious career at ADNIC, which spanned over two decades. His last role at ADNIC before assuming the role of CEO was Deputy CEO. Starting his career at Kuwait Insurance Company in 1977, Mr. Idris brings a wealth of knowledge and industry experience to ADNIC. He is one of the most influential thought leaders in the industry and has also won several regional and international awards for his leadership. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mathematics from Kuwait University.

"We are now celebrating our 50th anniversary, and there have been many lessons learned looking at the country and how it has transformed."
TBY talks to Ahmad H Idris, CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC), about the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jazfa), sustainability, and insurance.
How does ADNIC define its path while being a key player in the Emirates’ economy for half a century, and what main lessons has it learned?


We are now celebrating our 50th anniversary, and there have been many lessons learned looking at the country and how it has transformed. The business environment has transformed alongside the transformation of the whole economy. The way we do business has also changed multiple times. Digital transformation is now the name of the game, and we are heavily engaged in this, investing in digitalization. The digital transformation journey started years ago, and we are exploring the opportunities that it can present to our business and customers. To that extent, we are working heavily with AI. The key to success is understanding your customers’ needs and focusing your strategy on how you can best develop your solutions and offerings, allowing customers to conveniently access your services. The way the customers access our services and products has changed dramatically. Now, the focus on providing our services and products to customers online. Another lesson learned is that companies should be prepared for disruption at any time. Fortunately, during the pandemic we were able to switch swiftly to 100% working from home. The business was not disrupted, and services continued smoothly. Despite the global economic conditions, ADNIC reported a net profit of AED 267.6 million for the first nine monthes of 2022. To what do you attribute this success?
We continue to invest in people and technology. However, just doing this is not enough. Creating a healthy business environment is also key to success. Even if you invest hundreds of millions and bring in the best talent, if you do not create a healthy business environment where the team trusts each other and the team work culture is embedded and practiced at all levels, there will not be a sustainable success. The world is changing, so it is not about improving efficiency. Improving efficiency is a byproduct; this is a global trend in every way. All services are now leveraging technology to offer services online, and we are no exception. Customers now want to do everything from their cellphones and not even websites. The focus is on offering many of the services via cellphones.

ADNIC has signed an agreement with Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza). What is the added value of this partnership, and what does it signify looking forward?


This came after an agreement with several other Freezones in the country. The partnership allows SMEs and individuals present in those free zones to purchase some of their insurance needs, paperless through a platform. It is all done online.

What strategies are essential to maintain high levels of transparency and accountability within the company?


Companies must abide by all business values, including transparency. This is basic. Business relationships cannot be sustained without transparency from both sides.

What role does corporate responsibility play in the vision of the company? In the run-up to COP28, how is ADNIC evolving in terms of sustainable measures?


We are aware and engaged in ESG. For example, we issue an annual report. We are doing our part here to be a model for other companies to invest in ESG. This is all linked to risk management. It is in companies’ interest to invest in ESG, and the overall risk management standard will be reflected in the price. Indirectly, we certainly encourage greater investment in ESG.

How would you define the insurance sector in the UAE? What are the gaps and main challenges?


The main challenge is that it is a fragmented insurance market; there are more insurance companies here than what is required. Relative to the size of the market, the number is extremely high. Consolidation is required in order to address this issue. It is unsustainable to continue to have such a large number of insurance companies.

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