HARNESSING THE POWER OF DIVERSITY

Qatar 2019 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

Seib leverages its team's diversity and focuses on superior customer service to maintain its position as one of the largest insurance providers in Qatar.

Elias R. Chedid
BIOGRAPHY
Elias R. Chedid is the COO and Deputy CEO of Seib Insurance & Reinsurance Company LLC and is one of the contributors to Seib’s establishment and success. With over 25 years of experience, Chedid has a proven track record in leading successful changes in various markets. His career started in the UK before he worked in Lebanon, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf. Chedid holds a BSc in mathematics from the American University of Beirut and an MA in leading innovation and change from York St John University Business School. He is also a Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) by ACAMS and an Associate Reinsurance Administration (ARA) by LOMA.

How has Seib Insurance adapted to the increasingly multicultural population of Qatar?

Between 2009 and 2018, Qatar saw a major shift in its cultural environment, in line with the Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030. When there is a corporate vision that helps the company align with the general direction of the economic, social, and political environments, it is significantly easier to adapt to the changing landscape. This is exactly what we have at Seib; we have seen the country grow from around 700,000 residents to more than 2.7 million. This transformation was major, and it required business leaders to make major changes within their organizations to ensure they were successful. At Seib, we have managed to create a common path for our employees so that the social dynamism of the corporate landscape works well within our business model, which is focused on superior customer service. We want to leverage the diversity of our team while making their association with Seib the common component of their work-life identity. Additionally, we want our employees to utilize their mother cultures when approaching the work environment, because this emphasis creates a more dynamic and creative workspace.

How do you work to constantly improve customer service, and how is technology used in this regard?

Technology is one element that assists customer service. However, in a culture that requires face-to-face communication and human interaction, we need to ensure we emphasize and support personal connections. There needs to be a balance between focusing on personal communication and utilizing technology. Wherever technology assists us, we utilize it, though people are and will remain a key element in our success story. We are a diverse business with diverse expertise and services. In health insurance, where we are one of the largest providers in Qatar, we take pride in the fact that we focus on superior customer service to create loyalty. This has helped us maintain our wide customer base, and this loyalty only comes with the full dedication of our team.

Which insurance products are gaining more popularity in the country?

Products must be assessed through two angles: corporate and retail. There is also a difference in what the market needs in terms of risk reduction. There is an immediate demand in terms of what people know, and in the retail space this means demand for motor insurance. When it comes to products that people are not aware of, like comprehensive motor insurance versus basic liability insurance, there is a need for spreading awareness. Seib is a supporter of unifying the regulatory platform in country and unifying the messages to be delivered by insurance companies; hence, we can improve the overall dialog between providers and clients.

How has your new insurance product for low-income foreign workers developed since you introduced it in 2017?

The product itself and the government's drive to protect the workforce in Qatar has translated into excellent growth. Domestic helpers, workers, drivers, gardeners, and others represent great potential for insurance companies because they make up a large portion of the population. At the same time, improving overall working conditions is an important component of the human pillar of the QNV 2030. We had strong demand for this, and we are proud of how well we were able to improve people's lives.

How would assess the overall health of the insurance sector in Qatar?

There are prospects for growth considering the potential of the general economy. The financial capability and liquidity of companies in Qatar's insurance sector is illustrated in their generally high ratings from international ratings agencies. There could be a certain level of volatility in certain companies, but the sector as a whole is extremely strong. 1Q2018 saw around 4% growth in the insurance sector, which is in line with GDP growth. Now that oil prices have risen above 2015 levels, we are even more bullish about the future. 2022 will also drive economic forces in the sector. Additionally, insurance companies have massive potential to grow externally.