The Business Year

Jerome Droesch

UAE, DUBAI - Finance

Crystal Clear

CEO, AXA Insurance

Bio

Jerome Droesch has been in his current position since 2011. An industry veteran, he has been with the AXA Group for more than 20 years and has held several commercial, technical, operational, and managerial positions across France. In 2003 he was appointed P&C Insurance Organization Director in France before taking the Lead of Sales and Distribution Direction for the French West Region in 2005. He became the Regional Chief Executive Officer for AXA France, handling the south-west region in 2008. He has a vision to drive AXA Gulf growth to the next level and accelerate its expansion across the Middle East.

TBY talks to Jerome Droesch, CEO Gulf and Middle East for AXA Insurance, on recognition and awards, SMEs, and mandatory health insurance.

AXA Insurance won in 2014, for the 5th consecutive year, Insurer of the Year at the MENA Insurance Awards, and was also awarded the prestigious Banker’s Middle East product award for 2013 for the ‘Best SME Product.’ What is the significance of these two achievements?

These awards speak about our consistency to deliver world-class insurance products and services in the MENA region. The selection of AXA Gulf as the Insurer of the Year recognized its commitment to customers, innovation and consistent delivery of high quality coverage, product diversity, technical expertise, leadership and a strong, persistent financial performance. The insurance industry has evolved over the years, and the need of the hour is to deliver the best insurance product customized to suit individual needs, in every sector. To have won the prestigious Insurer of the Year honour at the MENA Insurance Awards for five consecutive years speaks volumes about our company’s strategy and comprehensive product portfolio as well as our reputation to deliver consistent first-class services. In this fiercely competitive sector, this is indeed a great achievement for us. Last but not the least, these awards recognize the work delivered by each and every AXA employee in the region, and I thank everyone for making this happen. Those awards reinforce our goal to become the preferred insurer across various markets and categories. Finally, it also reinforces the trust that distributors and clients have in the brand. This is gives us a 360-degree view of what we are doing and how we are perceived in the market as a whole.

How important are SMEs to the client portfolio of AXA Gulf?

Almost every business starts as an SME and progressively grows larger, so it is natural for us to be rooted and connected to SMEs, because they constitute the future of the economy. SMEs add a lot of innovation and energy to the economy, and their success gives a good measuring stick of the dynamism of the economy as a whole. It is important for us to be well connected to this part of the economy to understand what is going on. According to Dubai SME, an agency of the Department of Economic Development, SMEs represent 95% of companies in Dubai, contribute to 40% of the Emirate’s GDP and employs 42% of its workforce. This reflects the critical role that this sector plays in achieving and nurturing the overall development across diverse economic sectors. We have created a dedicated SME unit, the objective of which is to educate SME owners on risks through a specialized team of experts. This team will meet business owners in their offices and analyze their specific requirements to provide adequate prevention and protection measures. Finally, the team will regularly follow up with SME customers and monitor the evolution of their businesses to continuously verify their insurance needs. In addition, AXA in the Gulf will enhance the support to SMEs during their first year and beyond, and this is will be achieved through a new dedicated hotline that business owners can access for advice and information.

As one of the preferred insurers chosen to be part of the Dubai Heath Authority (DHA)’s mandatory health insurance initiative, what role do you think that this initiative will play in the development of Dubai?

Probably what is more important for me than the economic impact is the social impact of the DHA initiative. I see this as the real role of an insurance company and the insurance sector. You cannot develop the global economy of a country without providing the right level of protection to the citizens. There are many people that are not able to afford treatment locally. This means that either they will not get the treatment at all, or they will wait until they return to their home country, which might be every year or two, to get treatment.

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