TAHAN Insurance Malaysia Bhd is confident of turning in profits this year following its merger with People's Insurance Company Malaysia Bhd and Tenaga Insurance Bhd in February, newly appointed chief executive officer Razidan Ghazalli said.
Last year, the composite insurance company was in the red to the tune of RM26mil, which Razidan attributed mainly to the merger exercise that lasted for more than a year, and ongoing reorganisation programmes.
We have put in place an aggressive growth plan and aimed to be among the top five insurance companies by next year with a premium income of RM300mil, he told a press conference at the company's new head office in Shah Alam yesterday.
Of the anticipated RM300mil income, about RM230mil would be derived from the general insurance business, he said.
Razidan said although Tahan's strength was in the general business with a relatively small life exposure, plans are afoot to expand our market share of 4% in both sectors.
Upon its merger with People's Insurance in April last year, Tahan recorded a premium income of RM152mil in 2002, making it the 7th biggest among the 44 general insurers and 15th among the 16 life companies.
Tenaga Insurance, which underwrote RM50mil in premium income last year, was absorbed into Tahan in February.
With the countrys economy showing strong recovery, we are looking at having a stronger presence in the corporate sector to underwrite the insurance needs of companies such as Tenaga Nasional, Petronas and AirAsia.
Tahan is now underwriting 10% of Telekom's insurance needs, valued at RM1.5mil this year, he said.
He said the corporate business was expected to contribute some 25% to 30% of the company's business, compared with 10% now.
On the possibility of tying up with a foreign player, Razidan said: The possibility is there and we are looking to form a strategic alliance with a suitable partner.
I also expect to see further consolidation and mergers in the industry as what is happening in the banking sector.
At last week's AGM and EGM of Tahan's parent company, Idris Hydraulic (M) Bhd, Idris managing director Datuk Dr Abdul Razak Abdul had said that the transfer of the group's listed status to Idaman Unggul Bhd by September did not preclude the possibility of selling a 30% stake in Tahan to a strategic foreign party in view of market liberalisation.
Razidan said Tahan's portfolio mix would be revamped to increase its exposure in the fire, marine, and hospital and surgery business, as well as complement its strength in the motor business.
To raise the company's visibility in the market, we are spending RM2.5mil on a media blitz to build up our personality and brand identity, especially among the urbanites, he added.
He said Tahan was also beefing up its customer service to become more customer focused.
He added that a strategy paper on this initiative would be ready this week for the board's approval.
We expect to further improve our existing customer retention rate of 80% among our 1.2 million policyholders.
The number of life agents will increase to 2,000 from 800 now, and the 4,000 general agents will see their productivity improved through training programmes and cross-selling opportunities, he said.
Razidan said with RM725mil worth of funds under its management, Tahan was looking to beef up its investment team, including fund managers and analysts.
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