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UAE - Finance

Mohamed Seghir

CEO, HAYAH Insurance Company

Bio

Mr. Mohamed Seghir is the CEO of HAYAH Insurance Company P.J.S.C. He started his career in 2007 as an Actuary at FWU AG in Munich, where he was responsible for Western Europe and the Middle East. He then took up the role of Manager Actuarial Services for Munich Re before joining Swiss Re in Zurich in 2013, initially as a Senior Marketing Actuary in charge of pricing of the life & health business in MENA, Turkey and Pakistan before becoming the Head of North Africa and Middle East. In April 2018, Mohamed has been appointed CEO of HAYAH Insurance Company P.J.S.C., previously known as AXA Green Crescent, the UAE’s digital life insurer. He is a regular contributor to seminars, conferences and publications for the insurance industry. Passionate about insurance, Mohamed has developed a deep expertise on various topics such as bancassurance, life insurance, takaful, and pension. He studied at ISFA (Institut des Sciences Financières et des Assurances) and holds a MSc in Finance and Actuarial Sciences and a BSc in Finance from Université Claude Bernard (Lyon, France), and is a fully qualified actuary from the French (IA) and Swiss (SAV) Institutes of Actuaries.

"HAYAH Insurance was established in 2022 after the exit of AXA with which it used to be a joint venture."
TBY talks to Mohamed Seghir, CEO of HAYAH Insurance Company, about the company’s mission, digital transformation, and his outlook for the local IT sector.
What is HAYAH Insurance Company’s primary mission and vision?

HAYAH Insurance was established in 2022 after the exit of AXA with which it used to be a joint venture. We wanted to transform the company in line with the evolution of the UAE with it being relevant to both the local community and the way the world is changing. The decision was taken to address some of the market gaps in the UAE, which are mostly related to retirement, the life protection gap, and the savings gap. The idea was to develop solutions that can be easily accessible to people. And for that, we decided to go through a more tech-oriented approach. As a result, we have developed the only real tech-based insurance company in the region.

HAYAH Insurance Company aims to provide a fully digital insurance experience. What gives the company an advantage over its competition?

The first was the lack of legacy because the major issue with transformation is the legacy with existing customers. As we started fresh in 2022, we did not have such a challenge, which also pushed us to go the digital route. The other thing is that the UAE is the most technologically advanced country in the world in many aspects. What we wanted to do was to uncover the dust from the insurance industry, which is a traditional, paper-based one. We were just emerging from the pandemic as well, and we felt it was a good time, as people are ready for this new step of the evolution of insurance.

HAYAH Insurance Company recently partnered with Lumera and Kidbrooke to deliver the world’s first AI-powered insurance solution. How will these collaborations help the company spur digital insurance?

They give us the power to tap into the AI potential and make the product more accessible. One of the things we are looking at is financial inclusion because everyone could and should be covered according to their means, and digitalization is a good way to do that. We are reducing the operational expense and acquisition cost of customers. It gives HAYAH the power to access many customers and address their needs on a larger scale. In addition, these partnerships provide for some good returns and experience from other countries. Insurance is traditionally a transactional business, and our goal was to have more frequent communication with our customers, more touch points, and also more data. The B2B2C will be a game changer for insurance companies. We have never been good at dealing with customers directly, though we have new tech, namely other smaller start-ups that know the clients better than us.

One of the main ambitions of the UAE is to be a world leader in AI by 2031. How is HAYAH Insurance Company’s strategies aligned with the government’s vision?

It is a great opportunity for us to be in the UAE because we embrace the country’s vision. As a country, 2023 is the year of sustainability, and various digital approaches and an AI vision is being implemented in the country. The insurance industry has embraced this mission, which is the overlap of sustainability, digital transformation, and AI. For HAYAH, all our philosophies, strategies, and business plans are complementary because we believe the shift in people’s behaviors and the way we transact business will be much more important than what we can anticipate. We will never see such an evolution in terms of business interactions as we will see in the next eight to nine years. Today, the traditional way of selling is expensive and inefficient. The whole idea is to capture that, reduce the cost, and provide more value to customers.

What is your outlook for the local IT sector, given that it often faces pressure due to such aspirations?

The pressure is always healthy. It is important to make sure that we set the best standards in the UAE in terms of business practices and solutions we bring to our clients. There is a great deal of disruption at the moment because not many people know what to do and what direction to take; however, there has been a fair amount of push for development since the pandemic. We have been on a solid path in recent years because of COVID-19, though we are still lacking if we look at broader international markets.

What are the company’s short to medium-term objectives for 2023?

In terms of pure use of technology, we are talking about AI and how it can be implemented both internally and externally. Internally, we want to reduce the operational burden, while externally it is about how it interacts and interfaces with our clients. Our ambition is clear in terms of customer experience: we want to be the provider of instantaneous insurance. For the product part, the UAE has many expats in the country that come with a short-term plan but end up staying for over five or 10 years. We are looking to fill the gap there. It will be a big transformation for 2023. We no longer want to be a transactional insurance company, which is why there is no “insurance” on our logo. We have started to implement steps into becoming a lifestyle brand, and that is one of the reasons why we rebranded the company in 2022.

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