The insurance intermediary is undergoing a complete overhaul of its business and is looking to fuel its next stage of growth using AI and new technologies.
Mustafa O. Vazayil, Managing Director, Gargash Insurance.
Post-Covid-19 growth in the insurance industry is expected to continue and is fueled by the expansion of the UAE economy as a whole, Mustafa O. Vazayil, managing director of Gargash Insurance, said in an interview with Khaleej times.
“The insurance sector is a reflection of the economy. If the economy grows, the insurance industry grows. When an economy grows, industries grow and their need for insurance increases. We are very positive for the next two to three years, especially for the United Arab Emirates and Dubai. Rents are rising and real estate prices are rising. We (the UAE) are well positioned in the region with world-class infrastructure, which will allow us to leverage our strengths,” Vazayil said.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for health insurance and raised awareness about improving coverage. “Medical insurance was not taken seriously before Covid. The pandemic introduced a change and people started to see health insurance differently. They have become aware and much more concerned about their improved insurance coverage,” Vazayil added.
Gargash Insurance is one of the leading insurance intermediary brokerage and risk management services in the UAE. Created in 1994, the firm has continued to grow over the years and meets the insurance needs of SMEs and large companies alike. The company is expected to double its premium collection by 2025 to 1.5 billion dirhams. Currently, the premium collection amounts to 750 million Dh.
The insurance intermediary is firmly established in the industry and has stayed ahead by investing in technology and innovative ideas. In 2004, the company launched the Click, Pay and Get Certificate of Insurance service, an industry first. “We started this service in Dubai at a time when physical insurance certificates were mandatory and had to be collected. This gave our customers the comfort of purchasing an insurance policy and having it delivered to their doorstep.
Gargash is now looking to fuel the next level of growth and customer engagement through the use of artificial intelligence. “AI is going to be the future and it will be part of the customer experience journey sooner than we think. Currently, customer engagement is limited to the purchase of a policy or at the time of claims or renewal. AI will help improve the customer experience through greater interactions throughout the year,” he said. “We found that consumers preferred to transact online. This is a growing area for us,” he added.
Intermediaries like Gargash are essential in helping companies understand their risk, exposure and find risk management solutions. “Insurance is only part of the risk management solution. There are various other things that intermediaries can do to help the company understand the risk, assess it, decide how to transfer that risk, so that they can do their job well, and while transferring that risk, what are the types of solutions that can be looked at,” Vazayil said.
On providing excellent customer support, the managing director added, “We don’t sell inferior products. We have established a minimum requirement from the customer’s point of view. Gargash has service level agreements with certain insurance companies. We keep an eye on the deadlines of the insurers and on the network of garages attached to it. These factors are important and form an integral part of our offer.
The general insurance sector earned a net premium of 34.5 billion dirhams in the 2020 financial year according to the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates. The industry is estimated to grow at a CAGR of less than 4% between 2020 and 2025.
With increasing activity, the number of mergers and acquisitions in this space is also increasing. “I see more mergers and acquisitions happening because this market has excess capacity. The number of players involved is more than necessary for the size of the market. We can get rid of 10-15% more business and the market will still be sufficiently served.
At Gargash Insurance, senior management is working on overhauling the entire organization to make it more agile and aggressive in the insurance business. “We are introducing major changes to our approach in the coming months. By January, we will have a totally redesigned organization that will shake up the way we do business.
Speaking on the economy, Vazayil said, “Dubai is more or less isolated (from the impact of the global recession) because the economy is not manufacturing-based. The price of oil may come down a bit, but Dubai’s economy is well-equipped to attract the world’s surpluses. I see no serious impact from the threat of a global recession.