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Friday, 15 May 2009

Malaysia: MAA Takaful gets syariah expert to stay ahead of competition

MAA Takaful Bhd aims to edge ahead of others in the Islamic insurance market through initiatives such as being the first local takaful player to have a syariah expert on its board.

Chief executive officer Salim Majid Zain says having an expert syariah adviser on board will help the company make informed strategic decisions and help it face growing competition in the industry.

“We are serious in ensuring that all aspects of our operations are syariah-compliant and certainly will have an edge over other players with the presence of our syariah adviser to provide us with relevant expert advice on syariah principles.

“Having an expert on the board will also enhance our expertise in Islamic finance, corporate governance as well as give more confidence to our target market customers,’’ Salim says in an interview.

As one of the latest entrants into the takaful market, the company has aggressive plans to grow its market share, he says, adding that the company is recruiting talented agents.

At present the company has about 15,000 agents, of which 30% are active.

The company has also introduced customer-centric financial planning and sales-automation software in an effort to enhance service.

Investment-linked funds is also one of the areas of focus for the group.

To this end, Salim says MAA Takaful will also be hiring a top fund manager to assist in the development and management of these funds.

Investment-linked funds will continue to be the main contributor to family takaful business, he adds.

The company’s market share in investment-linked takaful business last year for regular new business was 13% and about 10% for single contribution (premium).

It is targeting a 35% growth in regular investment-linked new business by the end of the year.

There are eight players in the takaful market currently and the granting of up to two new family takaful licences this year under the Government’s liberalisation of the financial sector is expected to further heat up competition.

Asked on how it would compete with other new players coming on board, Salim says: “The new players will certainly increase competition and this would also pave the way for greater acceptance of takaful as an alternative to insurance and traditional invesment products.

“MAA Takaful inherits the MAA brandname which has been long established in Malaysia. It is known and well represented in the multi-ethnic population which provide the cutting edge in growing our business and retaining our customers.”

MAA Takaful is a 75:25 joint venture between MAA Holdings Bhd and Bahrain’s Solidarity Company BSC.

(The Star MY)

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