Ours is a bond beyond insurance

IBRAHIM USMAN SHEHU  MD/CEO, a thorough bred professional in Insurance practice is a graduate of Statistics,  member of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN),  Associate member of the Chartered institute of Marketers of Nigeria as well as a fellow Chartered Institute of Loans and Risk Management of Nigeria.

He has held various Management positions in the course of his career and attended numerous off-shore and on-shore professional Islamic Finance workshops, conferences on Takaful, courses on Islamic Banking, trainings on Islamic Capital Market and Islamic Financial Services.

In this interview he explains why Jaiz Takaful remains the flagship of Islamic Insurance.

Sir, can you explain to a lay man what Jaiz Takaful is?

Jaiz Takaful Insurance was incorporated and was approved by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), the regulatory body of Insurance companies in Nigeria to operate as a Takaful company- Islamic insurance. 

It is a concept that guarantees succor to any member in a pool of fund by members or participants, who had agreed to pool together funds to support the person in a moment of distress and shows empathy, mutual relationship and brotherhood in case any untold incident happens.

  We are one of the pioneers of Takaful insurance in Nigeria and a company that runs on ethical insurance.  Our intention is to serve not only the Muslim population but all Nigerians who are willing and are eager to get insurance services that would be fair to them. Prior to our debut, many do ask, ‘if I insure and nothing happens to my vehicle for instance and the year ends what happens to my money’? JaizTakaful came up with a solution to that. The solution it brought was that if you insure any asset (vehicle) and the year runs out successfully without you having any claim, we record a surplus in the pool one would be entitled to share from that surplus.  However, if one records claims and because most often the claims are higher than the contribution, it is then one cannot enjoy the benefit of profit sharing. In Jaiz Takaful, we do not run any business that is prohibited in Islam and we equally do not invest in non-Halal investments nor insure businesses that are not shariah compliant.  These summarises what Jaiz Takaful is.

What stands Jaiz Takaful out from others in the field?

Jaiz Takaful stands out for many reasons. Ours is a full fledge Takaful company unlike others who run minute Islamic Takaful window based on the approval given to them by NAICON.  Thus, we have the financial capacities to undertake any kind of Islamic insurance policy. Furthermore, we have an efficient Information Technology unit and professionally manpower to process promptly claims, manage the contributions of policy holders and equally ready to give the best of service to the Nigerian public. Moreover,  in spite of our newness in the market, we already have four offices aside from the headquarters here in Abuja, operating as branches and SBU (Situation Business Unit)   in Kano, Lagos, Kaduna and Port-Harcourt.  Again we are leveraging on the branches of Jaiz bank as partners to be able to do a lot because naturally our business thrives best on non-interest banking (NIB) operations. In addition, we have comparative advantage especially in the north where we have more Muslim population that appreciates the need for our services as well as trained agents who sell our products to many. More importantly, if a policy holder survives the term of the policy at the end of the year, he shares in the profit that is realized from the investment we have done with his contribution. All these stand us out from the pack.  We only welcome anybody that is interested in getting a fair deal and wanting to benefit from the services that we render that makes us the number one.

Jaiz vision statement is beyond caring, and sharing can you shed light on that?

Naturally it is expected that in moments of distress, insurance companies should help to alleviate the loss and lift one out of the pains in tune to what is insured. But for us, it goes beyond merely caring for your desperate situations only at the moment you need the help.  We further make you happy by sharing with you from profits we made from the investments we go into with your contributions, (premium paid). In the conventional Insurance modules, perhaps they only care, but they do not share. Here in Jaiz Takaful, we care and share, hence our slogan is “A bond beyond insurance” which means we go the extra mile unlike other insurance companies where only the share holders reap from the profits. Our customers share the profits made on their premium after we make good of their losses, because for those with no loss invested in other profits yielding modes; we share with them from the profits on the investments made in other profit yielding modes

What are the challenges faced so far?

There are many challenges. But the major challenge is how to create awareness for our brand of business. Nigerians need to know more about Takaful as a benefitting venture. Currently, we are yet to reach out to various nook and crannies of Nigeria because it is expensive doing that. The consequence of that is we are far away from many of our clients. Secondly, the economy, of the country is also a challenge. Many people are still struggling on daily basis to make ends meet, which makes it difficult to think Takaful, but in a situation where, many have enough, it then becomes a lot easier. This is challenging, because even though Takaful actually benefits the low income people at the grassroots, we cannot do that, because of the challenge of the economy.

What has been the experience for you on your seat?

It has been excellent. I am enjoying a robust relationship with   our Board Members and the Management staff, thus helping me to be focused on what we need to do to ensure good corporate governance. In addition, the staff has been tremendous in driving the vision and mission of the company. Jaiz Takaful is doing well since I came on board, and soon we shall take our operations to the next level in our developmental plans. What also makes me happy on this seat is our performance and acceptability. Nigerians both Muslims and non-Muslims are really embracing Takaful and it is really thriving in Nigeria.

Looking into the future where do you hope to see Jaiz Takaful in the next five years?

To be the leader in the industry and take Jaiz Takaful beyond Nigeria markets especially in our neighbouring countries. We also hope to control 70 percent of the industry within the Nigerian Takaful industry. As well as becoming the trainers of the professionals in the industry.