Banking on innovation: Emirates NBD enters insurance sector
Recently named 'Bank of the Year - Middle East 2020' for the third consecutive year by The Banker, Emiates NBD's entry into the insurance sector comes off the back of what has been a profitable and innovative year for the Bank despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic.
Not only did the Bank deliver a net profit of AED7 billion in 2020, but it further innovated with new digital products and services. Carrying on its success and innovation into 2021, Emiates NBD is now set to offer its extensive wealth, retail and SME customer base across the UAE a comprehensive range of protection and saving solutions courtesy of this new long-term partnership with MetLife, among the largest global providers of insurance.
Solutions on offer will cover life, accident and health insurance, including high protection covers and whole-of-life protection plans, and plans are further available for SME customers to cover business-related liabilities and to provide key person insurance coverage.
Giving UAE customers what they want and need
The partnership and subsequent product launch follows MetLife customer research which revealed that 60% of UAE residents are under-insured and have inadequate coverage against emergencies such as accidents and critical illnesses, and that a growing number are looking to buy a new insurance plan in the near future.
“As people become increasingly aware of the importance of financial preparedness, we are pleased to provide our customers, in collaboration with MetLife, easy access to best-in-class insurance products and solutions that are integral to their long-term financial planning," comments Suvo Sarkar, Senior Executive VP and Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Managemnet, Emirates NBD.
Dimitris Mazarakis, General Manager – MetLife Gulf, adds: “These are demanding times for our customers as they confront unprecedented challenges brought by the current situation. We are proud to partner with an organisation that shares our vision, values, and priorities.”
The plans on offer, including high protection covers with options to insure against critical illness and disability and whole-of-life protection plans, will offer customers enhanced flexibility in payment options and coverage terms, transparent charging schedules and a 30-day free look period during which customers can return the plan with no commitments.
Banking on innovation
Named 'Bank of the Year – UAE 2020’ for the sixth year and ‘Bank of the Year – Middle East 2020’ for the third time by The Banker, which recognised the Bank’s efforts in responding to the global pandemic and its innovate approach to digital banking, Emiates NBD provides support to more than 103,000 customers in the UAE, and provides assistance to many customers in the other geographies in which the Bank operates.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, Emirates NBD unveiled businessONLINE, offering corporate clients a seamless, secure and agile single-window to support all their banking needs, and further launched E20. Digital Business Bank which simplifies banking for start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.