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The memoir: EFU.

EFU in its Sixty-year of chequered history, known for its bed-rock foundations and reputation as a most trustworthy business concern has played a pioneering role in the field of Insurance in Pakistan. The Eastern Federal Union Insurance Co. Ltd. presently known as EFU General Insurance Ltd. emerged in 1932, as a Unique Phenomenon - as the first Muslim Insurance Company with the purpose of opening up avenues of employment for the Muslims in the undivided India. It came into being through the missionary efforts of a group of patriotic and enlightened Muslim who had the well-being and welfare of Muslims of the South East Asia at heart. The dedicated group included eminent personalities like Dr. M.A. Ansari, Mr. Ghulam Mohammad and Mr. K.F. Haider, which was headed by a stalwart Mr. Abdur Rehman Siddiqui.

Mr. Abdur Rehman Siddiqui and Mr. K.F. Haider executed an Agreement in 1931 with the leading British insurance company, Atlas Insurance Co. Ltd, and M.B. Collins & Co. Ltd. a firm of Insurance Brokers in London. The services of Mr. E.N. Menhinick of Atlas Insurance Company were placed at the disposal of the Company as its General Manager. H.H. The Aga Khan, Sir Sultan Mohammad Shah and H.H. Nawab of Bhopal, Sir Hamidullah Khan became its Patrons. William Penman, FIA was appointed its first Consulting Actuary. Llyods Banks Ltd. Messrs. Orr Dignam & Co. and Messrs. S. B. Billimoria & Co were its Bankers, Solicitors and Auditors respectively.

The Company was incorporated on 2nd September 1932 at Calcutta with Authorised Capital of Rs. 6 Million and Issued Capital of Rs. 2.5 Million. It is said that to belong to an industrial/commercial group is an asset to an Insurance Company, but in the case of EFU the story is different. EFU has distinction to have respectable and eminent personalities on the Board of Directors since day one.

Mr. A.R. Siddiqui went from door to door for the sale of shares. Substantial subscriptions were obtain from the states of Hyderabad and Bhopal. Sir Victor Sasoon made the biggest subscription amongst the Foreign subscription, Mirza Ahmed Ispahani purchased rest of the shares. The highlights of achievement of EFU may be broadly summarised in the following stages:-

1. Pre-Partition period (1932-1947) 2. Post partition period (1948-1960) 3. 1961 & onwards.

Pre-Partition Period:

Initially, the Company was confronted with some difficulties but it made headways in a very short span of time due to untiring efforts of Mr. Siddiqui and his cautions and prudent policies. After successful operations and pioneer venture in the field of General Insurance, the Company commenced underwriting life business in 1936. In the first year of operation, the Company had earned a paid for business of about Rs. 500,000. Like any other business the progress initially was slow. By 1946, the Company had made appreciable improvements in its operation. Branches were also opened in London, Colombo and Tel Aviv (Palestine).

The First General Manager Mr. E.N. Menhinick retired in 1938 and in his place Mr. T.N. Baxter was appointed who held this post upto 1951. Due to bombing by Japan on Calcutta, during the World War II, the Head Office of the Company was shifted to Lucknow.

Post Partition Period:

At the time of independence, the Insurance business in Pakistan was not worth mentioning. With the birth of Pakistan, EFU migrated to Pakistan and established its Registered office in Chittagong (former East Pakistan) and Head office in Karachi. After long association with EFU, Mr. A.R. Siddiqui retired in 1950 and thereafter became Governor of East Pakistan Mr. Siddiqui is remembered in the history of Muslim in India as a pan-Islamist, patriot, politician, business, journalist, humorist and orator whose contributions and ideals of service have laid sound foundations of EFU. The Company also had its difficult periods, but with tact and foresight of this great leader, EFU became the company of sound stature and repute. After retirement of Mr. A.R. Siddiqui in 1950, Mirza Ahmed Ispahani was Chairman till 1960. On his assuming important Government post Mr. G.H. Shirazee was appointed as Acting Chairman. Mr. T.X. Baxter, General Manager was replaced by Mr. K.F. Haider in 1952 who was on the Board from 1942 to 1951. He remained on this post till 1960 when Mr. Roshen Ali Bhimjee assumed the charge.

1961 & Onwards

This period may be termed as the |Era of Mr. Bhimjee, the present Chairman, spread over more than half of the time of EFU's life. In the words of Mr. Roshen Ali Bhimjee spelt out in September 1963: "Association with Eastern Federal is for me a God-sent opportunity to serve the country in my humble way through a profession I have lived with for two and a half decades. I have also learnt the secret of doing successfully through and with the members of the field force and Staff". Mr. Bhimjee - one of the guiding spirits behind EFU for last 30 years, is profoundly committed to progress of EFU.

EFU made tremendous progress ever since the association of the dynamic personality of Mr. Roshen Ali Bhimjee, to whom, the Company would always remain indebted. Mr. Bhimjee began his insurance career in 1938 from Burma with the Bombay Life Insurance Co. Ltd. He held various positions and lastly was its Manager for Pakistan. In 1948, he joined Bombay Fire & General Insurance Co. Ltd. He was incharge of Western Assurance Co. of Canada in the capacity of its Manager. He joined EFU as General Manager in 1961. He was elected on the Board of Directors as Director in 1962 and in 1965 he was appointed as Managing Director. When Mr. Bhimjee joined EFU the financial position of the Company was impaired due to Marine Hull Losses. Mr. Bhimjee along with Mr. Abbas Khaleeli who joined as Chairman of EFU simultaneously in 1961 managed to salvage the Company from the financial predicament through timely and substantial aids of the Munich Re.. The services of Mr. W. Karnowski of Munich Re. were lent to EFU for six years who was responsible for technical side of operations.

EFU had reorganised its entire set up on massive scale and scientific lines and within very short time, it acquired considerable momentum and registered a very strong growth under the leadership of Mr. Bhimjee. Due to successful publicity campaign EFU reached every nook and corner of the Country which resulted in making the people insurance minded. EFU adopted a policy of recruiting some of the best brains in the Country on the basis of pure merit. A comprehensive programme was launched for training the young men in Pakistan and abroad, which contributed significantly to the development of trained manpowers. The recruitment was done through competitive examinations conducted by a Board set-up for this purpose. Amongst the notable members of the Board included were Mr. U. Keramet, (Ex-Vice Chancellor of Punjab University) Kazi Anwarul Haque (former Minister for Education & Chairman Public Service Commission of Pakistan), Mr. Justice (Retd.) A. Sattar (former President of Bangladesh), Mr. Said Ahmed (former Chairman PICIC), Mr. Roshen Ali Bhimjee, (then Managing Director) and Mr. Abbas Khaleeli being Chairman of the Board.

Initially till 1965, the newly recruited persons were sent to Bombay for training at New India Assurance Company. Later EFU established its own Training Institute at Karachi with boarding and lodging facilities. The young men for the Company and from other business concerns, locally or from RCD countries were trained in this Institute. Besides this elementary course, Senior Officers were sent to U.S. at Harward, U.K. and West Germany for advanced training.

This process of recruitment and training has not only provided trained manpowers to EFU but the Insurance industry as a whole. There is hardly an insurance Company in the Country which has not been benefited by |EFU ians'. the task of organisation of Field force on a big scale and training these personnel was also carried rigorously and systematically. The result was soon visible in the shape of rise of substantial EFU's shares in country's Life Business.

The other achievement of EFU worth mentioning was the introduction of Group Term Insurance which provided protection at a very low cost. Civil as well as Armed personnel of the Country were brought under the umbrella of Group Term Insurance of EFU. The area of providing of Life Insurance Cover was so enlarged that in early Seventies, EFU had a famous slogan "Every second insured person in Pakistan is insured with EFU".

When EFU was at its peak of progress, the country broke into two pieces in December 1971, resulted in huge loss. In three months' gap, EFU got another big jolt in the shape of taking over of management of its Life Business by the Government in March 1972. The entire assets including grandiose investment portfolios of Life vested in the state owned State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan.

EFU like other Insurance Companies left with only General Insurance business had to struggle hard to rebuild its stature. EFU sustained the shock and recovered quickly feeling no qualms. During Post-Nationalisation period, EFU has also made substantial progress. It has established contacts with new clients and insured major Industrial Risks. Although the major business of the Company was taken over by the Government, EFU has not failed to fulfill its obligations towards Shareholders. The Company's Share Capital increased from Rs. 2.50 million in 1971 to Rs. 20 million in 1990. The Company has paid handsome Cash Dividends as well. During the last decade, EFU has been adjudged amongst the |Top 25 Companies' seven times by the Karachi Stock Exchange.

The "Nineties" appear to be altogether a different decade. EFU has in its fold a new young Managing Director, Mr. Saifuddin N. Zoomkawala who rejoined the Company after 15 years of his exposures in the International Insurance market in UAE. He is a person with energy, enthusiasm, and elegance. He took over EFU as its Chief Executive in July 1990.

Mr. Zoomkawala has put his fingers on the right place. He has electrified EFU. A network of new branches, face lifting of the present one, development and farming of Human Resources, use of Computers on large scale, providing peerless service to Clients and uplifting spirit of employees through motivation are his main subject matters.

With a view to improve the quality of service to Clients and to raise the standard of administration the Company has also re-introduced training courses for its Staff and Officers where they get an opportunity of acquiring modern techniques and contribution suggestions towards the progress of their organisation.

It was with this motive a full time Training Division has been established under a Senior Executive. A separate well-equipped Training Institute fixed with all sort of training gadgets has been opened recently. So far a number of groups have undergone training at the Institute and have been benefited.

As the EFU is on its |Diamond Jubilee' year, it is uniquely poised to enhance its position as the country's oldest and best Company, and again be able to go ahead with its traditional well-known slogan, "Your Insurance Company".
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:EFU General Insurance Ltd.
Author:Imam, Syed Mehdi
Publication:Economic Review
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Words:1856
Previous Article:Burshane (Pak) Ltd.
Next Article:General Tyre - a profile.
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