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Al Madina Takaful

OMAN - Finance

Usama Al Barwani

CEO, Al Madina Takaful

Bio

Usama Al Barwani has been CEO of Al Madina Takaful since 2016. He holds an executive diploma in strategic management and leadership from CMI in the UK, a postgraduate diploma in human resource management from CABA, Canada, a professional diploma certificate in TQM from Kaizen Institute, Japan, a diploma certificate in information and systems management from Aptech Oman, a diploma in education from Oman, certified Islamic specialist in Islamic insurance from CIBAFI, comprehensive technical program in general insurance from National Insurance academy, India, and is a certified compliance officer from AAFM.

"The main advantage is being fully shariah compliant and doing the business in accordance with the principles of shariah."
Established in 2006 in Oman as a conventional insurer, Al Madina Takaful transformed into a fully fledged takaful insurer in 2014 to better serve the community.
Al Madina converted itself to a takaful insurance company in 2014. What are some of the advantages of Islamic insurance?

The main advantage is being fully shariah compliant and doing the business in accordance with the principles of shariah. The economic objective is of mutual interest of participants and shareholders. The underwriting follows shariah framework of rules and regulation, and the prime motive under takaful is to serve the community, with profit making coming second. We have close relations with our customers and business partners and keep track of ongoing demand in the markets. Al Madina Takaful strives to fulfil customers’ needs and introduce new innovative products in line with shariah guidelines.

Al Madina holds a leading position in the market. What are your plans to consolidate this position?

To consolidate this position, Al Madina Takaful plans to maintain discipline in its underwriting philosophy, increase revenue through focusing on higher retention business, increase our online sales through web-tools and increased visibility through social media, further develop and expand Al Madina direct sales team to minimize our reliability on intermediaries and lower acquisition costs, develop retail business through cross selling to our corporate clients, and focus more on sales planning and superior customer service experience. The company also plans to expand and increase our geographical reach across Oman through creation of an effective agency network. It plans to strengthen its distribution channels and supply chain. At the same time, we want to strengthen the bancassurance distribution and expand business through this source. The company also plans to participate in mandatory medical insurance.

What innovative technologies are you currently exploring and deploying across your operations?

Al Madina Takaful continues to invest in technology-driven innovation, IT upgrades, and process automation with the primary focus on increase in digitalization of insurance processes. We are in the process of implementing the below technology solutions, which will be beneficial and result in operating efficiencies and enhance customer service. Some of the initiatives include: upgrading of business intelligence tool, implementing a B2B mobile app, and life and medical software-platform.

How important is promoting human capital development and local talent within the company?

Human capital and local talent development is of paramount importance to us. A company is only as good as the talent behind it. We always believe that we need to hire the right skill set of people to achieve the company’s objectives. We invest heavily in our human capital by ensuring our staff are sent for regular trainings and courses, both inside Oman and overseas. We are also developing local talent as part of our succession plan and providing them on-the-job training. To date, many of our departments are headed by nationals. Al Madina Takaful has exceeded the legally mandated Omanization percentage as of 1H2022.

What potential disruptions do you foresee in the insurance industry in Oman?

Among others, we foresee the following possible hurdles and disruptions: increased RI pricing in view of continued natural catastrophic losses or COVID-19; diminishing reinsurance capacity in the global market, more importantly the re-takaful capacity; increase in expenses due to various regulatory requirements; a fall in motor and medical premium rates due to increased competition; more stringent solvency measures that may increase the need to infuse more capital by insurance companies; and overall market credit conditions impacting cashflow.

What are the main priorities and goals for the year ahead?

Al Madina Takaful has several priorities and goals for the year ahead, and these include continuing to serve our customers with efficient and superior services; achieve stable growth and maintain market position; continue to balance profitability for both participants and shareholders; focus on the mission of customer satisfaction by providing superior service; commitment to its employee for their growth and development; investment in IT upgrades, process automation, and digitization of insurance processes; continue to look at growing opportunities within the Islamic finance space to generate stable yield on its investment book and achieve the targeted investment returns for shareholders and policyholders.

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