Could you provide a brief journey of how you arrived where you are today?
I joined Perbadanan Tabung Amanah Islam Brunei (TAIB), the first Islamic financial institution established in Brunei, and a statutory body having savings and financing businesses, in 1991.
Then in 2000, I was directed by the management of TAIB to head its subsidiary company, Takaful operator Insurans Islam TAIB.
What does your role involve?
As the managing director, I represent our company in media interviews, together with our team in strategic planning and marketing.
I am also a member of the Insurans Islam TAIB board of directors. I represent the company in every board meeting and Shariah Council Meeting.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
It is to lead Insurans Islam TAIB. It is an honor given by our parent company to lead our company. It is such a privilege to lead and observe our company’s transformation from what we were to what we are here today.
I deserve only a fraction of the credit, the rest should go to all Insurans Islam TAIB staff, who have been very hardworking and are willing to undergo changes.
(To date Insurans Islam TAIB has a workforce of 55 people and operating through 10 branches and counters throughout Brunei – Editor’s note)
Which of your products/services deliver the best results?
Our motor Takaful scheme and mortgage Takaful plan have been the two most successful products so far. Packaging and value-add on these products have attracted the public.
The emergency road assistance and fire Takaful scheme have been packaged to these products respectively and have been giving more value to Takaful participants.
What are the strengths of your business?
We have the experience and a good team in our company who responded to change and have the passion to promote Takaful.
What are the factors contributing to the success of your company?
Our commitment to good causes and values, teamwork and our eagerness to keep looking for solutions and noticing what’s around the corner. It is ingrained in each staff member to be a go-getter and not be complacent.
What are the obstacles faced in running your business today?
Actually, it is the mindset of the public on their perception of insurance and Takaful, as a whole. Brunei is a welfare state. The government takes care of the people’s education and medical needs. Therefore, the penetration of medical insurance and Takaful is very low. So, family Takaful products are very low here compared to other countries in the region. Of course, we are thankful to have such a benevolent state but at the same time, this is our obstacle. So we try to overcome this with our Takaful awareness programs in order to educate the public on the importance of Takaful. I always stress the benefits of Takaful and emphasize the importance of protection and savings for the future which may not be as rosy as today.
The increase in the compensation culture is also one of the obstacles in the business today. We have had quite a few run-ins in court with ‘ambulance chasers’ lately!
Where do you see the Islamic finance industry, maybe in the next five years?
More Takaful and reTakaful companies being rated internationally. And I see the Takaful market continuing to grow with better regulations and standards.
Name one thing you would like to see change in the world of Islamic finance?
TRUST. I mean more trust among the practitioners. Be more open and go back to the principles and fundamentals of why we practice Islamic finance in the first place.
I believe it is not merely the business transactions but to find Allah’s blessings and the sincerity to help the ummah.
Insurans Islam TAIB was incorporated in March 1993 and is the first Takaful company to be established in Brunei Darussalam. The wholly owned subsidiary of Perbadanan Tabung Amanah Islam Brunei offers both general and family Takaful products.