CEO, Takaful Emarat
Acting CEO, NOOR TAKAFUL
WAEF AL SHARIF We are providers of sharia-compliant products to customers fulfilling their protection and health insurance requirements. We have been able to set up a fully-fledged takaful operation with offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah. We look forward to further expanding our operations in the northern emirates and in other GCC countries to establish a regional presence.
ANDREW GREENWOOD The first thing to address here is the current condition of the market. Competitive pressures have been driving down prices for quite some time. In individual lines of business, and motor insurance in particular, we have seen a drop in pricing to unsustainable levels. While some players may ultimately be forced to exit the market as a result of competitive pressures, in our case we have maintained our product offerings even as we gradually move the focus away from individual business and toward corporates. Here, we have found a better attitude to the economics of risk management and a more discerning audience in terms of what insurance represents, allowing us to develop a more stable platform.
WAS Takaful is a unique Islamic concept of sharia-compliant insurance. The concept of takaful insurance is based on the concept of interest free, social solidarity, cooperation, and mutual indemnification of the losses of members. It is a pact among a group of members who agree to jointly indemnify the loss or damage that may inflict upon any of them out of the funds they donate collectively. The two main differences are sharia-compliant fund returns and the surplus distributed to participants. The concept is not only ethically balanced, but also makes financial sense.
AG Ours is an emerging market scenario, and insurance is for the most part a reluctant purchase. Generally speaking, as a service it is viewed rather negatively and people only buy insurance when they have to. Savings are a necessary element of one’s life, one aspect of which is to insure oneself, which is yet to take its roots here, but will evolve over time. There are much higher penetration rates in the developed countries, but there the spark that drives savings growth is most often provided by governments. Once you have that mandatory element in place and people realize they have to set aside a portion of their earnings for savings, they will then start to seek out products that offer added value. This is where the takaful proposition can really develop scale. Within the current climate of financial uncertainty across the world, takaful is a segment that can offer greater surety through clear separation of funds.
WAS Due to stringent regulation and strong by-laws governing e-commerce, UAE-based customers are very comfortable with digital transactions. However, life and health products need a human interface because of their technicalities and longer duration of contracts. Therefore, we believe that the digital world will eventually play a key role for the insurance market in terms of creating awareness and access to information, as well as ease of transactions.
AG Right from its launch, Noor Takaful was keen to demonstrate its innovative flair. So, we set to work on an e-platform and in barely three months we had become the first end-to-end purchasing system for takaful insurance in the GCC. Originally this was purely a motor insurance offering, but we have progressively added new products and services to cater to our customers who wish for the convenience of online trading. In 2013, we also launched an easy payment plan that had a no fee installment offer for motor customers, which offered insurance premium payments in up to 12 installments by credit card with no additional fees charged.
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