AUTOMATING ROAD SAFETY

Saudi Arabia 2019-2020 | TRANSPORT | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Dr. Mohammad H. Al Suliman, CEO of Najm, on rebranding, road safety policy, and insurance in the Kingdom.

How have you rebranded your organization and how do you continue to offer your services?

Najm is a company that has been around since 2007, doing accident reporting, insurance policy reconciliation, and serving as hub for the insurance industry. In March 2019, we unveiled a new corporate identity. This is changing the community's perceptions as we change the way we provide our services. Today, Najm is interested in moving forward to become more customer-focused and sales-driven, rather than just being an actively operational organization. Part of our liability determination services, which is one of the core lines of business that we provide, is basically to determine the percentages and ratios between the people who get involved in an accident, for example. And this is only the first step and happens when they contact us to resolve the matter in the field. Then we move to the next level, which is handling the policy. So, Najm by itself is going to be able to pull up the policy, identify who the driver is, and what his or her history is. Once Najm knows the other party, too, then at that stage we start processing all of those liability determination reports with the applicants' own insurance company. This is going to make it much easier for us to release the money to resolve the matter of the accident. This contributes to the quality of life for people who live in Saudi Arabia. Najm's approach is aligned with Vision 2030 in regard to full automation, AI, IOT, and machine-to-machine communications. We have successfully accomplished the automation of all our services including all claims handling processes such as accident reporting, customer complaints, objections to the accident reports, and other measures related to the process. We also want to have ready-to-apply innovative solutions like “scenarios creation" for accidents because we sometimes have trouble determining liability among the parties involved in an accident. This problem is going to be better resolved if we have more high-tech equipment and tools. We'll provide cameras for our officers and cars. Also, this will be part of quality assurance. We're working with our strategic partners to provide what they call “electronic assessment" of the damage, instead of going through the mechanic workshops. Besides, we're working together on trying to bring the appropriate damage assessment process. Najm is on track to becoming a Big Data company, and intends to use that to improve quality of life for people in Saudi Arabia.

How do you envision using the data you collect for policy recommendations to improve road safety?

Once you insure your car, you register with Najm, regardless if you have an accident or not. Najm provides what we call “non-organic growth." Our new strategy goes through other agencies as well, making Najm similar to a critic bureau style. We try to estimate the insured's likelihood for risk. This evaluation we do, based on the insured's track, would allow insurance companies to give the insured a no-claim discount. This is a big boost for us, because we have helped a lot of customers get lower rates. It is also noteworthy to point out that the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) is the biggest driver behind Najm, in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior. They are really enabling Najm, as we are the only organization providing such services. On average, there are 4,000 accidents a day, therefore we manage a huge operation. With Big Data, we can help figure out what the best methods are to adjust the freeways or roads. We understand where the majority of accidents happen, therefore, we have applied the thermal map monitoring system for locating and improving the safety of roads with the highest number of accidents. On another level, we are making fraud protection a priority and working to raise the awareness of fraud . We are also engaging in strategic links with the leader companies in IT market, so we can utilize their solutions in improving the road safety and enhancing the efficiency and digitalizing the accident journey. Another area Najm was efficient at is the series of campaigns it has launched to raise awareness among the community. In 2018, we launched 'For Safer Roads' , a full-fledged campaign in three languages to alert drivers about the importance of following traffic rules. 'Drive Now' is another campaign to encourage female drivers to drive providing them with tips on safe driving. A third large-scale campaign was 'Insure it Right' which raised awareness among car owners on the importance of insuring their vehicles. These campaigns serve Najm's strategy to improve the quality of its services in terms of raising awareness on traffic accidents and promote traffic safety on the Kingdom's roads.

What are your expectations for the consolidation in the insurance landscape?

There are over 27 companies that serve the automotive industry, well-consolidated within Najm's infrastructure. We are connecting with each and every one of them. Every transaction that's related to an automobile comes to us. So we are already connected and integrated. We have a data hub for all the insurance companies, so all of them connect to us. We hope to extend our experience in this context to other insurance segments such as housing and healthcare insurance. I am certain that after we grow as much as we can in the automotive industry, we will try to extend our hands to help others.