TBY talks to Ahmad Idris, CEO of ADNIC, on resilience in the face of the pandemic, government responses, and overcrowding in the insurance sector.

Where were your strengths and weaknesses when the pandemic first hit, and how resilient were you in managing the situation?

The first hurdle was to quickly adjust to working fully remotely. Doing that successfully was one of the key aspects of ADNIC's resilience. Another strength was our strong financial and resources position. Human capital is a strength and we have a robust brand that customers look to more than ever in difficult periods. Despite challenging market conditions, ADNIC delivered a resilient performance which is driven by our strong reliability and financial strength. For ADNIC, the events of 2020 were an opportunity and that shows in the way we grew over the first half of 2020, expanding 9.1% at the top line and posting much higher growth at the bottom line. ADNIC has proved the ability to adapt to new situations, and the expertise to put the customer first and provide them platforms that function 24/7 in order to meet their requirements.

How did you collaborate with the government and how would you rate its response?

One of the first steps we took was to form a business continuity committee. The committee is tasked to monitor the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on our business and ensure adherence to following government guidelines. The guidance of the government for us is a road map and we will stay on top of it. The response in the fight against Covid-19 in the UAE has been phenomenal. Abu Dhabi Government, UAE Federal Government and other entities across the emirate have implemented several initiatives and relief measures over the pandemic period to help minimize the impact.

Did the state's COVID-19-related financial incentives impact ADNIC's operations?

We were not directly involved in the financial incentives implemented by the Government, as they are more meant to support individuals and SMEs, offering them special re-payment restructuring of working capital facilities, lower interest rates and grace periods. However, these initiatives indirectly benefit all businesses including companies like ADNIC, because when our customers receive financial incentive it provides stability to the market and everyone benefits.

Did the pandemic affect ADNIC on the health insurance policy side?

The impact of the pandemic is reflected in the number, frequency, and intensity of the inflow of claims to ADNIC and other insurance companies. The effect was positive because the normal trend of people visiting doctors has changed. No one visited a doctor without having a strong reason. Additionally, the outbreak has not caused any significant delays in policies issuance and claims settlement.

Do you believe the pandemic could have an impact on the overly crowded nature of the insurance market?

The unhealthy competition is still ongoing except for large complex risks where pricing and underwriting is in the hands of a global reinsurer, whereby the local insurers are not in a position to set the prices and terms for such large risks. By design, the competition will be in the international market where they compete. When they compete in the international market on large risks the competition remains at acceptable levels.