SECURING THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE

Oman 2018 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Navin Kumar, CEO of Oman Qatar Insurance Company (OQIC), on the growth of medical insurance, the impending introduction of mandatory health insurance, and diversifying its shareholder base.

 Navin Kumar
BIOGRAPHY
Holding a bachelor’s in commerce from Osmania University (India) and ACA certified by the Institute of Chartered Accounts of India, prior to becoming CEO of OQIC, Navin Kumar worked as VP of Finance & Administration and CFO. Representing OQIC as a board member and audit committee member in the Omani Unified Bureau for the Orange Card S.A.O.C., he was also VP of Finance & Administration and CFO of the Kuwait Qatar Insurance Company (KSCC), a group company of Qatar Insurance Company at Kuwait. Prior to that, he was a senior accounts manager with Reliance General Insurance Company Ltd and an operations manager at ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Ltd. in Mumbai.

What impact will your IPO have on OQIC and the economy in general?

As a result of the IPO, OQIC increased its capital from USD13 million to USD26 million and significantly diversified its shareholder base. The IPO helped the company solidify its status as a “national" company in the Sultanate of Oman. OQIC is now well positioned to leverage its new status and brand awareness to achieve profitable growth and generate shareholder value.

What has been your shareholders' reaction to the IPO?

Our parent group, Qatar Insurance Company, and our key local investor, Al Hosn Investment Company, have been delighted by the positive investor response to OQIC's IPO, which resulted in the issue being oversubscribed by 140%.

What has been the reaction of the private sector?

Our IPO was extremely well received by the private sector, among both retail and institutional investors. Given the economic challenges in Oman, achieving a successful IPO was an important milestone for the company.

How have relations with Qatar affected the company in Oman?

Qatar has a strong political relationship with Oman and business relations between the two have expanded rapidly in the past months with trade growth of over 2,000%. This will enhance confidence in the Omani economy and facilitate growth in the insurance sector. The increased investments and trade flows between Oman and Qatar will further stimulate growth for OQIC.

What is the best balance between more branches and technology when it comes to market penetration?

Older generations are more comfortable with face-to-face interactions, in contrast to younger ones that are more tech-savvy. While retail insurance is among OQIC's fastest growing business segments, the company is also one of the pioneers in the digital transformation of the retail business model. With just a few clicks, customers can renew motor insurance policies or buy travel insurance, and ultimately save time and money. We are constantly enhancing our digital platform to increase customer convenience. Yet, despite our focus on online insurance, we are also committed to our non-digital channels.

What are OQIC's main objectives for 2018?

OQIC has the strategic vision of becoming a top-three insurance company in Oman within the next five years. OQIC is well positioned to benefit from anticipated growth in the life and medical insurance sectors. The company is also primed for similarly high rates in construction and energy, given the upcoming megaprojects in Oman. We have won some major accounts in the public and private sectors and strive to renew this business in the coming years.