Interview with Mr. Ali Al Ayed
MALATH COOPERATIVE INSURANCE AND REINSURANCE COMPANY
“CONSOLIDATION AND ENFORCEMENT: THE MOTORS OF THE INSURANCE MARKET GROWTH”
While insurance in Saudi Arabia is a succulent and growing focus of investors, the main players in the sector demand more aggressive policies from the government to enforce the insurance laws and predict a consolidation of a market that according to them will reach sales of SR 30 billion by 2015.
“We have over 30 players in the insurance industry in Saudi now with sales of SR 16,3 billion last year (2010). But I anticipate that we will see a consolidation in the market in the coming five years by mergers and acquisitions”, explains Mr. Ali Al Ayed, the CEO of Malath Cooperative Insurance and Reinsurance Company.
“Additionally, the government should start an awareness campaign in the country to teach people about the necessity of insurance in their households, cars, etc. Our regulator, SAMA, is aware of it so we expect more legislation from the government to promote the enforcement of cars, commercial buildings and construction insurance,” advances Al Ayed.
“Over 50 percent of cars in the streets are not insured” – he complains – so the government should start to extend fines or tickets to those violating the mandatory insurance for motor. The insurance companies are now uploading their data to the traffic department in a new project launched by the government to control who is or not insured. “Those that are not insured will have more pressure from the government,” explains the CEO of Malath.
“In the medical side, nobody will be given the icama (residence permit) unless they have an
insurance policy. So there is enforcement in the medical side. But we have to have the same enforcement in other sectors. Although there is a fundamental
change on the property side with a more sophisticated developer buildings should not be licensed to operate unless they are insured and this should be extended to the individual side with the coming
introduction of the mortgage law,” he warns.
THE START OF A LEADER
Since its incorporation to the Saudi market in April 2007 with a paid up capital of SAR 300 million offering 47.48% of its capital for Initial Public Offering (IPO) Malath Cooperative Insurance and Reinsurance Company provides a wide range of general insurance products and services. “Our paid up capital is decent, is not the biggest or the smallest but it allows us to have not any constrain on the capital for an increase”, points out Malath´s flamboyant new CEO appointed in July 2008 by its board of directors as the perfect leader with over 15 years of experience at NCCI and with the managerial skills required to transform Malath in one of the top three of the market.
“As a project in 2004, was formulated as a Greenfield company but we started the process of licensing and IPO in 2007. Malath is the first IPO that was floated in the Saudi market after the giant monopoly of NCCI (Tawuniya).
Malath that in Arabic means "relief in times of hardship” was founded by an elite of prominent Saudi personalities with some of the brightest minds of the kingdom in its board of directors. “Sixty percent of the company is owned by diversified shareholders that come from our founder list. Actually, we have the largest insurance company’s list of founders in the kingdom with some 126,” explains Al Ayed
The immediate result of this is that the rating agency Standard & Poor's has granted Malath a rating of “BBB” stable in 2011 for the third consecutive year, which reflects the strong financials of the
company. “Malath is the second rated insurance company in the Saudi market”, assesses Al Ayed.
BENCHMARKING AGAINST THE MARKET
Malath offers mainly motor and health insurance but also covers energy, engineering, property, marine or aviation to both, groups and individuals but it also provides risk management and insurance consultancy services.
“Almost 80 percent of the insurance market in the kingdom is still medical and motor with medical covering almost 60 percent. The rest 20 percent is divided between property, life, etc…” explains the CEO.
With a market share of 4 percent that Ayed expects to grow to 5 to 6 percent by 2014, the company closed 2010 with sales of SR 600 million and Mr. Ayed anticipates that” we will have a growth this year (2011) of between 20 to 30 percent on sales and of 15 percent for 2012. We are not aggressive on the sales because we want to grow steadily”.
This growth will come from a greater sales force, new alliances with agents, brokers and banks and with the opening of new branches outside the main cities of the kingdom. “We want to expand our network and we are already licensed to open 50 new sales outlets. From 2010 to June 2011 we opened eleven new branches outside in Tabuk, Abha, etc….
Additionally, Malath is bench-marketing their sales against the market. “We are better than the market as we are 56 percent in the medical side and we are still encouraging our sales forces with aggressive targets not to depend only on
sales in the motor and medical side. We want to diversify our portfolio,” assures Al Ayed.
SAUDISATION & WOMEN POWER
The company has a good client base with quite a few large prestigious accounts like the desalination plants for the last three years, which are almost 40 billion assets and also participating in the insurance of Saudi Electric Company that is another 40 billion.
But the real strengths of Malath come from over the 300 employees it has with over 70 percent of them Saudi nationals and one-third ladies, “specially in the medical section”, assesses Al Ayed adding that they are encouraging that number to grow.
“My dream is that fifty percent of the workforce become women. Our product is our people,” he finishes.
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