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Irshad Kassim on the back of his extensive exposure to domestic and international business world has acquired the major shares of PICIC Insurances Limited and has taken over the Management of PICIC Insurance with a view to increase the market share of PICIC Insurance through most innovative products especially to give a relief to people perturbed seriously on the back of law and order situation persisting for quite a long time in Pakistan. Settled comfortably as the Chairman of PICIC Insurance Irshad has an array of innovative ideas which he desires to introduce in the insurance industry through PICIC Insurance with a view to take the company to the peak with the support of the domestic and international expertise.

Talking to PAGE in an interview Irshad Kassim said that insurance industry has a bright future in Pakistan and we have the examples elsewhere in the world that insurance is closely linked with the economy of any country since we are committed to Pakistan economy we strongly believe that insurance has a bright future in Pakistan as still a large number of areas have to yet to be tapped or explored which naturally offer enormous investment and business potential in this industry. When we took over the management of this company its rating was minus B and in a sort span of time we have reverse the situation by uplifting the rating to B and hopefully on the back of indication from PACRA and SECP we are hopefully to be elevated to A minus by forthcoming March 2015.

When his attention was drawn towards the fact that since the improvement in rating strictly linked with performance of the company on what ground you are assuming for improvement in ratings He came out with a smile to comment that it is the performance which provides the reasons for improvement in rating yet besides the performance the induction and strengthening of the company in terms of financial health also matters equally. It is important to note that our paid up capital which was around Rs300 million was depleted to Rs210 million but the company has now decided to inject at least Rs400 million to the existing capital that will surprise the total capital from Rs210 million to over Rs600 million to give a respectable look to the company's financial health to make it from low to a medium level insurance company.

Besides that we have signed exclusive reinsurance deals with Lloyds and Lockton which are world's number one Reinsurance companies to add a prestigious look to the company and to add to the confidence of the clients in Pakistan. This deal is for a period of five years which is irrevocable business contract and we would work together during next five years. It naturally uplifts the image of the company and with the approval of the Board of Directors we are renaming the name of PICIC as PICIC by Lloyds which we strongly believe will help building up the image of PICIC brand in the country. These are the efforts and to have a strong backup to the company and give reasons to improve rating of the company.

Actually having management powers it is not mandatory to have a consent from share holders besides that it adds value to the company which certainly would be appreciated by everyone including share holders as well.

Keeping in view your strong and extensive experience in economic activity within and outside the country we have no reason to disbelieve that PICIC is destined to be a success story in the insurance industry of Pakistan however we wish to know under what circumstance you had acquired this company

Irshad Kassim was quite confident to reply that it is very simple we come to know that this company is for sale and available in the market we managed to have a contract with the former owners in Singapore. We approached and in a meeting we told them that we are interested in buying your company because we foresee an ample scope for growth of insurance business in Pakistan. And after negotiations this deal was signed. In fact the idea of buying this insurance company came to my mind during a insurance conference held in Singapore where in terms of insurance business Pakistan was declared as number one while India was on number two in terms of investment opportunities in insurance business because a huge market is still untapped in Pakistan and that was the reason for prompting to go into insurance business. Actually more and more insurance companies are coming in Pakistan only because of available business charms which have yet to be explored in this country.

When asked to share what he called the innovative ideas which he believed to help boosting business for PICIC he talked about one of his business ideas which desired to introduce in near future he said that we have introduced a number of innovative policies which we intend to float in the market. For example if you organize a meeting in Islamabad hotel for which you have booked the hotel besides traveling arrangements from other cities of the country and abroad and in case of an eventuality you have to cancel that program you would be totally secured if you have got the insurance cover for that event you know nature of volatile conditions prevailing in Pakistan which in a way have also opened various opportunities for insurance companies as a blessing in disguise.

In case of any eventuality this policy covers all the expenses including health travel back lost of expensive items or even in case of death every thing is covered So kind of products have great attractions and since we have reinsurance back up the company would go for such products undauntedly in the market. In case of death the travel policy offers one million dollar only against a premium of Rs8000. In this travel insurance we even offers insurance cover to the people traveling by road for example from Karachi to Quetta Islamabad or Lahore against a premium of only Rs17/ we offer up to Rs one lakh in case of an eventuality.

Don't you think that mandatory insurance for air road of rail travelers will generate huge amount of revenue even if Rs10 for rail or road travelers is made mandatory Yes but the government seems to be reluctant in making it mandatory because it avoid to be tied up with a single company travel insurance so we have set up our counters at airports etc offering insurance facility to the intended travelers only. It can be a major source of revenue if the government made the travel insurance mandatory and allow every insurance company to set up their counters at railway stations or airports like you may have witnessed boards of different hotels at that places. If it is made mandatory would do a major change in revenues and let it to the companies to tap the business.

In fact it is not the government's cup of team to indulge in business let the private sector play its due role in business as there are certain examples that involvement of government in business did not produce results the examples of Pakistan Steel or PIA are very glaring citation of the idea that doing business is not the government's baby. Look at the registration fee of vehicles which is not being paid at the desired level the best way is to add this registration tax with fuel of a small amount who so ever uses the vehicles will automatically pay the tax like TV license attached to electricity bills.

We have recently introduced travel insurance under the title of Insurance Guard we offer travel insurance as well with very nominal or reasonable premium this covers baggage losses delayed flight and even when you are away and traveling your home is also offered protection under this policy. ATM cover this offers a cover of any untoward incident if you become a victim when carry cash from ATMs.

Under Education insurance we have launched a product for your newly born child. You have to pay a very minimum premium and when your child comes to the age of 18 we will give all the university expenses for four years till he/she completes masters. It is a wonderful product and attracting more to the middle class parents to secure educational future of their children.

Would you like to explain that why some of your clients have approached to Sindh High Court to express their dissatisfaction over the change of management would you like to explain the story behind that There seems involved some vested interest of some parties and these two cases were installed by those interested parties interested in buying the company. There were two clients having a car insurance of Rs5 lakh who went to court with the plea that we have acquired the policy because PICIC had a back of Tumachi with a capital back up of $2 billion and now the PICIC is dissociated from that company. Look at this plea you have an insurance of Rs5 lakh you have nothing to do with $2 billion of any company you have to pay Rs22000 premium per year for an insurance cover of Rs5 lakh and if any thing happens your claim is settled accordingly the complain was beyond imagination and just to exploit the company on the back of some vested interests.
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Publication:Pakistan & Gulf Economist
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jan 4, 2015

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