AXA Oman has recorded tremendous growth in the insurance business recently by introducing innovative products and insurance solutions for its clients. AXA Gulf's chief executive officer, Jérome Droesch, talks about the growth of the insurance industry, AXA's performance in Oman, and AXA's unique products that cater to the specific needs of Omani customers.
Describe AXA's growth in terms of premiums in 2012. What was the premium income of AXA in Oman last year, in absolute terms?
Despite the difficult economic environment, both across the region and around the world, AXA Gulf saw very encouraging growth during 2012. In absolute terms, AXA Oman recorded a tremendous growth in premiums during 2012.
What is AXA Oman's primary focus? How is the motor insurance business performing in Oman?
Health and motor insurance are among our leading products in our portfolio for Oman. Since our inception in the Sultanate, we have consistently grown, notably in motor insurance, at a rate of more than 70 per cent since the beginning of 2012.
Our growth in the health insurance sector has seen triple digits since the start of 2012. This growth is primarily due to our innovative and comprehensive product offering.
AXA Gulf has achieved unprecedented success in motor insurance in the country and has always believed in offering creative ideas, global reach, and highly flexible service capabilities that match best-in-class insurance solutions to make our clients' lives easier.
How many accident claims were made in Oman last year? Is the rate of claims increasing or decreasing?
In our portfolio, the frequency of accidents has increased, as in most countries of the GCC. However, at AXA, we always want to promote safe driving. Therefore, if you are a safe driver, your insurance premium will always be one of the most competitive in the market.
How effective is the company's repair service after an accident is reported?
Our Priority Repair Service was a landmark initiative, which we launched last year in Oman. This service, launched for customers with an accident claim, has been received very well by our customers here. With this new, revolutionary service on offer, AXA customers no longer need to wait for their accident repair work to start. The new service ensures that the repair work will commence at the designated garage as soon as the claim is reported to the AXA-certified workshop.
What are the benefits of AXA's taxi insurance campaign for taxi companies and self-employed taxi drivers in Oman?
As part of our special offer for Omani taxi drivers, we offer an insurance policy, starting at OMR85, that provides taxi drivers all the benefits typically available from an international insurance brand.
Apart from this, we also offer additional benefits, such as two fuel vouchers of OMR2.5 each. As an incentive to taxi drivers, if any registered taxi driver (who has already signed up for AXA insurance) refers a new taxi driver to us for this policy, the registered driver will be given an additional OMR2.5 fuel voucher.
We are committed to growing in this segment and want to reassure all our customers in Oman that they will receive a world-class quality of service, in line with AXA's worldwide standards. Once again, we are always committed to promoting safe drivers, and many taxis fall into this segment.
Therefore, our new offer for taxi drivers has seen great success in 2012 because it gives them attractive value for money, along with great service through an international brand.
What are the precautions taken by AXA in rewarding careful drivers and penalising careless drivers? Can you explain them?
As is the case across the globe, we always reward careful drivers with a no-claim rebate for insurance premiums during renewals. This varies from 20 per cent to 50 per cent across markets.
We do not necessarily penalise careless drivers, but yes, the premium may not be discounted as a deterrent against future claims. Overall, our strategy is to get closer to our customers and to be available whenever they need us!
Are there any plans to expand the branch network? How many AXA branches operate in Oman?
AXA Oman currently operates four shops/kiosks in malls across the Sultanate. We are committed to increasing our footprint in the country and beyond in 2013. We opened nine new shops in the region last year across the five countries in which we operate. We now have 22 shops/branches in the GCC, and AXA Gulf plans to open more branches in the coming years in the rest of the region. I think this is great proof that we are making ourselves more available to our customers, and this strategy has strongly supported our growth ambitions in the Sultanate.
Are there any plans to coordinate with a bank for bancassurance as part of an initiative to reach out to people living in the interior regions?
The insurance sector, both within Oman and across the region, is experiencing ongoing evolution. We use all the knowledge we have here and at the group level to innovate and build new solutions that match the customers' expectations. AXA Gulf has developed a multi-access strategy that has been implemented across the region and across the Sultanate.
We aim to allow clients to choose their preferred channel for buying insurance products. Therefore, our customers can buy their products over the phone, online, through our shops in malls, at our branches, through brokers, or at banks.
Therefore, we have already created great partnerships with leading local banks for life and non-life insurance products. Bancassurance has strongly supported the development of our Oman operations and will continue to be a key pillar of our growth strategy, not only in Oman but also in the region.
Are there any plans for AXA to launch takaful
(Islamic insurance) through a subsidiary in Oman? If so, can you elaborate on the plans?
Today, AXA Gulf distributes insurance products that are fully aligned with local regulations, and I think, before starting with takaful, it is more important to ensure that insurance products sold in different markets are well aligned with the changing needs of our customers.