The Business Year

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Gautam Datta

CEO, Al Madina Insurance

Insurance is an integral part of economic development, but it all depends on the business model that is deployed and how it is built over a period of time. For local insurance companies, the profit drivers have been investment income and reinsurance commissions. Underwriting profitability has not been high on the priority list, and this restricts the growth of insurance talent; if you are insuring complicated risks and retaining them to your own account then you ensure that your employees understand these risks and you don’t lose your capital. Oman lacks well-trained insurance professionals and the sector has not been able to build its equity over time. Global corporations will put pressure on local companies with their size and expertise as markets open up to international players and insurance regulations.

Sayyid Nasser Bin Salim Al Busaidi

Managing Director, Oman United Insurance

Awareness is a must; people need to be made aware of the benefits of insurance, which will also make them feel more secure, particularly in the workplace. Workers coming from outside the country should know that they will be protected; however, employers must make the system work for their employees, be it in the government or private sector. We have prepared a marketing and advertising campaign to promote the types of cover we offer. People are aware of what is available, and individuals are able to take out their own insurance policies, but I think it is a must for organizations and employers to provide coverage to their employees.

Deepak Kamath

Country Manager, Deepak Kamath

Our core business lines are motor, medical, life, and cargo, but in reality we offer all types of insurance to our customers. In 2012, we grew by 40% and have been growing by an average of 22% a year for the past six years. Motor represents 35% and the rest is spread over medical, property, engineering, and life. However, we have a strategy to select mainly profitable business lines and achieve robust financial results. Motor insurance is a good example as we have implemented a solid segmented tariff to attract good drivers and well price all the risks we are undertaking. Life and medical are also preferred lines, with the latter representing around 15% of our portfolio and becoming an increasingly important line of our total business. It is the fastest growing product.

Dr J. Retnakumar

CEO, Gargash & Trade Links Insurance Services

I advocate mandatory basic medical insurance. You can opt for additional coverage by paying an additional premium. For example, you can add dental, maternity, optical, or critical illness. But there should be basic medical protection for each and every individual; when the customer goes to any hospital in Oman they should be aware of what is covered in that product and can deliver better customer service to the patients. If every company is offering different products, the healthcare providers will not be aware of what the insurance covers. In case different medical insurance products are issued, healthcare providers need to study each and every medical policy offered by various insurers in detail to provide prompt customer service to patients.

Lloyd East

Managing Director, Al-Ahlia Insurance Company

We believe the government continues to chart a judicious and well-considered strategy in building long-term, stable, and sustainable economic growth. Obviously, one of the pillars of that growth is an infrastructure budget that has doubled in the most recent five-year plan. As an insurance company, we see an opportunity to play a role in underwriting the progress of the country, which provides opportunities for growth and creates a trickledown effect as stronger employment and wages stimulate growth in the consumer sector. This will be in both the personal motor and our other lines including travel and household insurance, for example. If you look at Oman and indeed across the Middle East generally, penetration of insurance per capita is relatively low. This, combined with the infrastructure investment, growth in SMEs, employment generation, and economic stability, means that the fundamentals for long-term growth are very encouraging.

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