An interview with Mr. Nameer Sartaj Khan – Head of Marketing and Strategic Initiatives at Pak-Qatar FamilyTakaful Ltd. (PQFTL)
Q. What is the basic difference between Takaful and Insurance – this needs to be Ans. Takaful is a simple Islamic mode of Insurance, that ensures transparency and Shariah-compliance in a wide range of insurance and protection products. The basic difference between Takaful and Insurance is in the terms of contract. The Takaful contract is based on the Tawarruq concept, while the insurance contract is based on the sales & purchase concept. According to Shariah rules the item being sold or purchased should be physically present and the buyer should be able to see the merchandise. Therefore, the elements of; uncertainty, gambling and interest, involved in the insurance contract, make it non-compliant with the Shariah principles.
Q. What modern marketing techniques, processes and technologies can accelerate growth in the Takaful and insurance industry?
The Takaful / Insurance industry in Pakistan hasn’t achieved any major disruptions in terms of modern marketing as the penetration has remained dismal. We need to accept the fact that traditional and primitive methods of marketing are not really effective anymore vs. the new emerging models Even the rural segments today have access to 3G and smartphones, which are the proxy of the customers. Recently we have seen a shift of marketing trends of life insurance but, the general masses still remain unaware of the tremendous benefits and peace of mind promised by the Takaful and insurance products. Modern digital technologies and perpetual connectivity have already brought a revolution in every socio-economic activity around the world. With the extensive penetration of cellular and smart devices, the common man now has access to a whole new world of infotainment, which is opening new vistas for consumer-outreach.
Pak-Qatar Takaful Group’s is well on its way to adopt innovative technologies and marketing strategies to add-value to our consumer’s life, while also strengthening our brand-image and creating awareness through development of digital tools, utilization of data, new initiatives and effective usage of social platforms . We believe in the beauty of the Takaful model which is extremely customer centric and that we can create great convenience through complimenting it with personalization every-customer. Simultaneously, technology will definitely help us in simplifying the buying and payment processes, while saving significantly on operational costs. So, we will be able to offer more attractive pricing for our consumers. Engaging the customer elegantly, reducing operational complexity and optimizing the utility of our available resources is the holistic approach, we have adopted.
Marketing is a very vast arena and effective communication is the essence of great marketing campaigns. Personalized and powerful messaging can now be delivered strategically to each consumer, keeping in mind his individual needs, preferences and life-style. Takaful and Insurance industries must remain synchronized with the evolution of the marketing process, to adopt global best practices.
Globally successful brands and companies are already using such personalized approach. They are shifting from risk mitigation to risk avoidance plus deriving key trends from the vast amount of data that reflects the personal needs, preferences, habits and lifestyles of the consumers. This way, they are winning great appreciation from all segments of the consumers. Ourconsumers and audience are becoming increasingly informed and tech-savvy, so the level of services and benefits they expect from a brand have reached new ranks. We must customize our offerings to cater to each segment. The Takaful or insurance companies that remain on the fore-front of this revolution, will be the ultimate winners.
Q. How should a brand reach out to each customer segment, with customized marketing communications for every individual?
Ans. Thanks to technology – this is a reality with no other option but to adapt to it.
Today we have various acquisition tools, Engagement tools, Application Analytics, Dynamic Policy holder management in insurance which bring together a gold mine of data with it.
Thorough analysis and utilization of the vast data available in the Pakistan’s digital landscape will for sure eenable us to implement fascinating new techniques of personalized marketing as close as meeting your customers where they are. Hence, one of the benefits would be reducing the friction in buying the insurance policy, which is a must. Therefore, new channels of distribution are critical for any carrier that wants the attention of the masses. A high customer engagement bar via liquid expectations has been set by the new digital business models operating in Pakistan, from ride hailing to e-commerce. It is the existing insurance ‘mold’ that has driven us toward infrequent engagement — a new mold needs to be created to allow more regular, added value ‘conversational engagement.
Fact : Insurance companies have roughly 1.44 customer interactions per year. Customer engagement of the past was a premium/contribution notice and an unpredictable phone call from an agent who hasn’t called in 3 years. That doesn’t work anymore! If your ride hailing application knows about your whereabouts and has the ability to cross-sell they have mined their data well enough to add value to the user base. So the industry today has access to 1) Capital 2) Various forms of Data 3) Developed Channels and 4) Brand. Now the industry has possible gateway to a wealth of life event data which is crucial information for insurers who want to push relevant products to their existing policyholders.
What we need is fundamentally the right brains sitting at the right roles that bring in agility and willingness to experiment with available aforementioned resources. Most importantly. Letting go of the legacy mindset.
Everything is being personalized and tailored today, keeping in mind the needs and preferences of the customers. All companies need to adopt these evolving trends, to grow in this competitive business world and to succeed in future. “The data volumes are exploding and we can use it in a million ways, more data has been created in the past three years, than in the entire previous history of the human race”.
Q. How competitive are the Takaful products? Please highlight the performance of Pak Qatar Talaful GroupL? Ans. Takaful is a unique and comprehensive model of protection. Its competitiveness is reflected by the fact that almost all insurance companies in Pakistan have now created their Takaful divisions and windows to offer Shariah-compliant services to their consumers. Pak-Qatar Takaful Group has always been a leader in the Takaful industry of Pakistan and has posted a net profit after tax of Pakistan Rupees 123 million in 2016. The Group’s Takaful funds also recorded the aggregate net surplus of Pakistan Rupees 196 million during the period that ended on December 2016. This sets a cogent precedent in the industry as we have further expansion plans to grow at a rapid pace to gain more market-share. We believe that adapting to digitalization is the need of the hour, to create stronger ties and remain engaged with the customers, and be aware of theirchanging needs, and to cater our products according to the consumers’preferences.
We all are aware of the fact that Pakistan’s market is primarily comprised of the youth. They must be made aware of the affordability and benefits of Takaful. This will help them lead a peaceful and secured lifestyle while enjoying a progressive career, as their Takaful company delivers happiness and takes care of all their worries.
Q. Do you feel Pakistan needs regulatory changes to make Takaful or Insurance mandatory for every citizen? It is done by the developed countries to ensure; quality education, health-care and security? Ans. Yes, with the weak standards of education and healthcare in Pakistan, these regulatory interventions are quite necessary and can bring great benefits for the deprived population. We are surely working on this with the regulatory authorities who are proactive with their approach. We feel that it must be done for a brighter future. It may not happen overnight, but it will surely happen. It is very important for a robust economy and a secured future for the people. Moreover, a well protected consumer means, great financial savings for the insurance company too. So, the Takaful/Insurance sector must inspire and promote such regulations.