DIFFERENT VOICE (Published in The Margalla Times)
Business Should be Humane to serve the Society – Dr. Murtaza MughaThoughtful insight on corporate cultureProfile – At a Glance
People who are versatile, ambitious and committed to a selfless cause often set deep imprint on our mind and society.
Dr Murtaza Mughal who is known for his frank, impulsive and courageous style and approach. He is well known in literary, religious and social circles of the twin cities for his activism and dynamism for social welfare initiatives and as a great lover of the Quranic philosophy and thought. He has been gifted with beautiful traits of independent thinking and reasoning faculty.
He is highly qualified and seasoned professional, who carries a rich experience and exposure as an underwriter. He served multinational as well as leading national groups. He is endowed with versatile traits from managerial skills to social work. He is also a freelance writer who contributes regularly in different national newspapers and magazines.
As a student of the Quran, he has great insight on concept and practice of Islamic insurance known as Takaful. He participated in numerous national conferences and seminars on theory and methodology of Takaful.
He is a zealous in spreading the message of the Quran with true spirit and context. In seminars, workshops, talks, debates, wherever he finds an opportunity one can see him freely quoting and deriving guidelines from the Quranic verses. People cherish him for his subtle narrations and subsequent application of Quranic teachings on every day situations and daily life. Indeed, few people are endowed with such capability of relating the Quran in a very simple and concise manner.
As a social worker and activist, Dr Mughal is patron of Safia Mustafa Free Clinics, which has treated over 200,000 patients all over the country. SFC provided medicines for 60,000 patients in quake-hit areas of Azad Kashmir. He is founder President of Writers Unity –a forum that promotes and lobby for peace, development and human rights. Writer Unity delegates have visited different countries to promote its cause and message.
It is again big honour and tribute to services of Dr Mughal that Nazria Pakistan Foundation has elected him as deputy Secretary general of its Capital chapter. Legendary Mirza Naseem Anwar Beg, who has graced Islamabad Chapter of Nazaria Pakistan Foundation as its president, has long been appreciative of Dr Mughal’s diverse qualities of head and heart.
Besides masters in management from prestigious Quaid-I-Azam University, he holds degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD) from Open International University. He is also Fellow of Commonwealth Institute of Alternative Medicine. Dr Mughal is Editor of monthly Margalla Times – a magazine focusing on environmental and health issues – and weekly business magazine Margalla News.
Currently, he heads two key companies of United International Group. As Country Manager of United Insurance Co. Ltd & United Track Systems, he strengthened and organized these two member companies of United Group and their branch network on modern lines with launching of many new and progressive products.
Of late, we arranged a sitting with Dr Mughal focusing on his professional life. He is a vocal proponent of responsible corporate culture. He says companies should behave and operate as a responsible corporate citizen and not as a tool of exploitation. Going a step further, he said business should be humane to serve the humanity and not to fleece those who are already down to earth. Capitalistic style knows no boundaries and has no moral values whatsoever; only Islam presents the true concept of business based on justice and fair play.
“We promised and declared to operate in a different way. It is a concept of sharing the benefits; we are not just endeavoring to make money only. We earnestly wish to play our role in nation building. We want to pay back to the society and the nation, which helped us a lot to grow and flourish. We don’t claim to do miracles, what we say we mean it and will do it. These are not going to be mere slogans.”
A conversation with ambitious and versatile Murtaza Mughal
Talking about his professional career, Dr Mughal said that I have joined United International Group (UIG) about two year back as country head of United Insurance Company. Now I have also been entrusted the assignment of steering UIG’s second company United Track System as Country Manager. Previously I was heading Northern operations of a U.S Multinational, AIG – Pakistan.
I feel great honour in mentioning that I was among AIG’s top team leaders. I had been able to take their Northern region’s business from 9 million to 120 million. Of course it was made possible due to teamwork. It is again a matter of great pride that when I decided to quit, the whole of my team opted to go with me and joined UIC – Pakistan.
Though UIC has the infrastructure and capability, it needed a visionary approach and professionalism. We just put in our best efforts to instill this spirit and focused our energies on areas like product development, distribution channels, customer satisfaction and above all employee friendly environment. At the outset, the stepping-stone is building of “image and credibility”.
Commenting on the insurance sector and its potential in Pakistan, Dr Mughal said it is still grossly untapped segment of the economy. There is a need to organize insurance business on modern lines. He said it is imperative to work on professional basis in this field, which has, hitherto, been handled by non-professionals who greatly damaged image and credibility of this profession. With upcoming efforts on interest-free banking, Islamic concept of insurance – takaful – brings unprecedented opportunities in its wake. It will be a big impetuous for financial sector which will help generate tremendous economic activity. However, there is a need to continuously work on conceptual framework and its implementation.
Talking about United Insurance Company (UIC), he said it is now among top rated national insurance companies in Pakistan. Currently UIC has operations in approximately 36 cities and jurisdictions. It is serving commercial, institutional and individual customers through an extensive national network.
He said UIC has established itself in a pre-eminent position as a reliable leading national insurer with strong financial strength, which is evident from the fact that gross premium of the company has increased by 300% in 2006 over 2002. The state regulator – Security & Exchange Commission of Pakistan – has ranked UIC as fourth largest insurance company in terms of paid up capital.
Paying tributes to able leadership of President & CEO Mian M.A Shahid, Dr Mughal said UIC now become one of the largest and best capitalized insurance organizations in the country. He helped open up markets, so that we today do business in more than 36 cities and jurisdictions across the country. UIC’s business mix diversified to include crop and livestock sector as well as numerous other insurance products. Mian Shahid steered the company to witness unprecedented growth from underwriting profit of 1.17% of gross premium in 1999 to 41% in 2006.
Dr Mughal told that UIC has launched ambitious products to cover wide range of clients especially in agricultural sector with competitive facilities and services in line with international standards.
Responding to a question, he told that UIC has recorded commendable performance in business volume and turnover. He said the company is among very few national companies which have paid up capital to the extent of Rs 252 million. We take pride in performing so well and continuously adding to the company’s financial strength and reputation..
Dr Murtaza Mughal said the company has announced huge dividends for the past years. Strong leadership and teamwork has helped achieve these impressive results. “It is also reflection of customers confidence in a fast growing national company like UIC”. We are committed to serving our clients at par with international standards.
Dr Murtaza said we planned to operate in a different way. We are not just in market to make money; we have taken upon ourselves to ambitiously play our part in welfare activities as well. It is matter of great satisfaction and pride that we are among very few national companies to have highly qualified and seasoned professionals in underwriting and claims management. State Bank of Pakistan approves the company for Crop, Live Stocks and Agriculture Insurance and we are the first to have reinsurance treaties for Agri, Crop and Livestock insurance.
Dr Mughal underscored the need to protect livestock sector saying it is one of the key components of agriculture contributing to the tune of about 35% to Agricultural GDP. This sector has the potential of rapid growth and fast economic returns.
There is a host of risks associated with animals and their productivity. Livestock owners need to have financial protection against these risks. UIC is proud for being among the first in providing this much-needed protection to livestock owners. In fact, having been involved with livestock insurance right from the beginning, we have good experience and expertise in this field. Thus, individual animals as well as herds are insured against mortality due to natural perils, fire, poisoning and disease, as well as against risk of foaling. It has great potential for growth in the coming years.
About crop insurance, Dr Mughal said share of agriculture in national income is about 25%. Farming is the major segment of Agricultural GDP with a share of 60%. Naturally, crop farming is also the most exposed and vulnerable enterprise to a number of factors including floods, drought, untimely rains; hailstorm, windstorm etc. majority of our farming community is comprised of small farmers with scarce financial and functional resources.
Crop insurance is an effective tool for providing financial protection to farmers in these situations. However, a comprehensive crop cover is quite an expensive proposition and beyond reach of majority of farmers. UIC has especially designed an affordable package to provide financial protection to these small farmers. It helps save them financially in a calamity situation.
The widespread losses to standing crops and livestock due to the floods and rain during 2003 underscore the need of such an arrangement. UIC with a wide network of branches is well positioned to provide this much needed service to the farmers.
While briefing about innovative UIC schemes, Dr Mughal said we have designed and launched series of insurance products of international standard. These include: AUTO GUARD, TRAVEL GUARD and HEALTH GUARD, FARMER GUARD, MOBILE GUARD and HIGHWAY schemes.
UIC offers most comprehensive and economical “Auto Guard” private car policy. Travel Guard is a comprehensive and economical medico-accidental and assistance services plan for Pakistanis traveling abroad. Health Guard provides comprehensive and economical solution for all health worries and FARMER GUARD provides covers to Crop, LIVESTOCK Agri products and PA to farmer.
United Group has recently launched a new tracking company with distinct value added facilities and features. About tracking system, he said our system offers unique features; it is not just protection against theft. It offers opportunity and assistance to owners to keep constant vigil on vehicle movement and use. Over speeding and misuse by drivers can effectively be checked and kept under control, he added.
VALUE ADDED FEATURES
About the company’s innovative and value added services, Dr Mughul said we offer free accidental death cover upto Rs.200,000/- to the insured, spouse and paid driver due to an accident of the covered vehicle. The company will pay Death Repatriation of the deceased, funeral expenses & arrangements and tuition fee up to matric for insured, spouse and paid driver.
UIC currently offers broad range of products including automobile, property, marine, workmen, personal accident and homeowners insurance as well as crop and livestock insurance. The company serves commercial, institutional and individual customers through the most extensive nationwide networks. The gross premium of the company has increased to the turn of 341 million as compared to just 41.081 million in 2001. Last but not the least UIC is having re-Insurance treaties for Corporation and Livestock Products and has signed huge business volume agreements with Askari Bank, PICIC and canteen store department.