Ahmir ud Deen
A highly experienced executive in the APAC insurance market, Deen earned a degree in Actuarial Science from the London School of Economics (1988 to 1991) prior to starting his insurance career in Dubai.
Joining Allianz in 1997, he eventually secured a MD/CEO role at the company’s Pakistani branch in 2000. After spending four years in the role, he continued as a C-suite executive at PT Asuransi Allianz Life Indonesia for over five years. Joining Prudential Indonesia as Chief Financial Officer in 2010, he came to recognise the value of the Islamic insurance market, and eventually took on his current role at PruBSN in 2014. Deen says that he finds both challenge and significant potential in the Malaysian market particularly. “Malaysia is a fairly heavily regulated market, but I don’t mean that in a negative way. While we always have to stay within the Islamic guidelines; the regulations are also there to look out for the interests of customers and manage the sustainability and the long term viability of Insurers and Takaful operators.”
Regarding his philosophy on how culture and leadership should combine to achieve optimal outcomes, he stated the following: “Culture is so important because it comes from the top and it has to permeate the entire organisation. Whether it's driving change, innovation or modernisation, I think everyone has to be able to see the purpose and the benefit of working together. Only then can we get that ‘buy-in’ from the whole team. When the teams see that everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves, I think it can work wonders in creating the change that we need to see.”
Reflecting on the changes that the sector has undergone, Deen believes that insurance and Takaful has become a tool for enriching and improving the lives of customers rather than simply providing policies (or ‘certificates’ in Takaful). As such, the conditions of the coronavirus crisis provided the opportunity for PruBSN to demonstrate its strong ethical standards. “Most traditional insurance coverage and Takaful certificates used to have an exclusion for pandemic situations and illnesses. We immediately stated that we would be removing or not applying that exclusion,” says Deen. Furthermore, with its increased flexibility, the company was able to offer a further range of benefits to clients, including new benefit payouts for ‘confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19’ and ‘death from COVID-19’ as a free add-on to their existing coverage. “The whole industry also came together and set up some funds to even cover those people that may not have been protected at all,” he continues. “I think the pandemic has changed the whole paradigm for all of us: it's a new awakening and it's going to have a permanent impact on the industry.”
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