Could you provide a brief journey of how you arrived where you are today?
I started in the motor claims industry 15 years ago, mainly providing insurance claims services for vehicle owners, and have gained extensive knowledge of the insurance industry, especially as Malaysia was transforming and regulating the way motor claims are processed. It was not an easy task to change the mentality of the related parties in switching from the manual process to electronic, but the success has led to Malaysia often being regarded as having a good motor claims infrastructure.
In 2005, I was roped into PAC Total Solutions (which deals in both conventional insurance and Takaful) and was primarily responsible for marketing the current iGTS electronic motor claims system. We managed to convert our existing clients from client-based software to web-based because of the availability of advanced technology, as we wanted to deliver the best features to our customers. Two years later, we had a corporate restructuring and I was promoted as CEO.
What does your role involve?
Giving direction. I believe one of the most crucial aspects that is required from me as a CEO is to provide the best direction for the company. Through vision and foresight, a direction is decided upon and this has to be well-supported by all employees and the board of directors as execution of a well-planned strategy is equally important.
What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
Taking our business global. We are a well known local company catering to the insurance industry but now, two years since we embarked on developing the Takaful system for the global mass market, we are going to places beyond our shoreline. PAC is now known globally to provide insurance solutions for the Takaful and conventional core insurance.
Which of your products/services do you feel deliver the best results?
A few years ago, we realized that the growth of the Takaful industry worldwide is going to be tremendous and we were proved right. Riding on a world-proven insurance core solution that is serving 55 companies in over 22 countries, we are in collaboration with TIA Technology to design and develop the TIA Takaful solution. Armed with a completed Takaful solution, we are now ready to penetrate Takaful companies. For PAC, this shall be our benchmark product.
What are the strengths of your company?
For me, nothing will work if we do not have the understanding and full support of our employees. They are team players because every single member knows the importance of delivery.
I strongly believe that our strength lies in the quality of our team members. Like a puzzle, we cannot be short of a missing piece. Together we can make the impossible possible.
What factors have contributed to the success of your company?
There are a few factors. One would be the successful partnership with our principal, TIA Technology. With our proven commitment, they have placed their trust in us to spearhead the TIA activities in this part of the world.
PAC is the first sales and implementation partner of TIA Technology. We are proud to be associated with a world class company with a world class solution.
An equally important factor is that we are well located in Malaysia, as it is the forerunner in the Islamic finance world. Our country was the first to commence a full fledged Takaful company 30 years ago and has led the way ever since. What better place to provide a Takaful solution from than Malaysia?
What are the challenges/obstacles the company faces today?
For growth, it should be the global financial crisis because many insurers are applying the brakes even though they are financially strong. They do not understand that through the proper introduction of IT solutions, they can streamline, and increase the efficiency of, their operations.
One of the most common actions being taken is cost cutting while maintaining productivity levels, and our solutions are designed with that in mind. We have proof from actual users of how our core insurance system reduces the cost of maintenance while increasing the speed to market.
But I also believe that the bad times will not be here for long. With promising financial figures currently being released, there is expectation that the situation will improve soon. During this upturn, we are ready to serve the market.
Where do you see the Islamic finance industry in, say, the next five years?
There will be a lot more players with many coming in from conventional, whether it is banking or Takaful. You can already see many climbing on the bandwagon to be part of Takaful’s phenomenal growth, especially as much has been said about how resilient Islamic finance is during this global financial crisis. The market will experience this for the next five to 10 years until consolidation starts to set in.