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Group chief executive officer of Etiqa InsurInsurance & Takaful, Kamaludin Ahmad. Pix by NSTP/Aziah Azmee

ETIQA Insurance & Takaful has a focus on practical products aided with the use of technology to make it easier for customers to enjoy comprehensive insurance coverage and assistance when the need arises.

Its group chief executive officer Kamaludin Ahmad said: “Most people buy insurance because you need to settle your road tax, but in reality, you don’t really know why you need insurance until something bad happens to you.

“When something bad happens to you or to the car, we want to make sure that your insurance provider will be there for you and make sure that everything is taken care of. While we always hope that nothing bad will happen to our customers, we want to ensure that the distress is minimised as much as possible, in case it does.”

Having been in the insurance industry for over two decades, he said the insurance industry has been found guilty in the past of providing features that not all customers need in view of profit. With the aim to protect and serve its customers, Etiqa has always championed customers’ needs.

Over the years, the company has successfully built a good reputation as motor insurance provider. To date, it has garnered 14 per cent of the local market share.

For road users, Etiqa’s current offerings are motor takaful and motor insurance products. The basis of the products is insurance coverage for one’s vehicle, ranging from loss, theft and damage.

Other options are also available for those who want greater protection via additional features include cash relief, damage caused by weather and riots, as well as windscreen coverage, which Kamaludin said is a type of claim most frequently made by Malaysians apart from accidents.

“We know that many people do not take up the coverage for flood, for example. The problem is that the premium for this is expensive. We make sure that this feature becomes part of the coverage by making it affordable for customers.”

He said the company researches data on accidents, claims and customer profile, all the while making use of technology to further understand and predict customers’ needs.

Kamaludin said tech tools are in place to hasten claims and payments, not only for customers, but also for their panel workshop operators, and the use will boost the way Etiqa delivers insurance coverage.

Anticipating customers’ needs by going beyond towing and repairs, Etiqa also takes care of its customers while their cars are stuck in workshops via an arrangement with Hertz with 66 cars across Malaysia ready for customers to use whenever a workshop is unable to provide a substitute car.

“In line with mobile trends, Etiqa offers an app, enhanced auto assist, for customers to complement its in-house systems. among the app’s features are emergency message transmission, 24-hour breakdown assistance, 24-hour towing assistance and alternative travel assistance. the app facilitates vehicle repatriation to Malaysia in case the customer’s car broke down or met with an accident in neighbouring countries, such as Singapore, Thailand and Brunei.

“In cases of minor claims, for example, getting minor knocks on your car, a customer can call our call centre and our staff will send a link that will activate the customer’s mobile phone camera. All the customer needs to do next is point it at the damaged part of the car. An assessment will be done immediately and a quotation of how much the repairs will cost will be given.

“If the customer finds the sum agreeable, he can straightaway sign on the screen and the money will be deposited into the customer’s bank account on the same day,” said Kamaludin.

Keeping up with technology development, Kamaludin looks positively at the rise of self-driving cars.

“I believe self-driving cars will contribute towards road safety. Automated cars are programmed to stick to road regulations. I foresee that insurance will cost less as the likelyhood of such cars getting into accidents is smaller.”

He also welcomes government push for systems such as the Road transport department’s demerit Points System (Kejara), which uses telematics technology to improve road safety.

Vehicle telematics is the technology of sending, receiving and storing information on vehicles and drivers using devices connected to the internet.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke recently said the government is looking at an initiative where drivers who adhere to traffic laws would be benefited with discounts when they renew their motor insurance.

“It’s great for society. The way I see it, drivers will benefit from a lower insurance premium. If people can save for car insurance, they will have freed up money to invest in other types of insurance that they need, for example medical insurance or insurance on the content of their house.”

Looking ahead, Kamaludin’s near-future aspiration is for Etiqa to make good its roadside assistance service.

“Many insurance companies tend to outsource roadside assistance service to a third party provider. With outsourced roadside assistance, there will likely be ups and downs in terms of turnaround time.

“With Etiqa, we want to make good our roadside assistance service. If we pledge that help will arrive in 45 minutes or claims can be settled in one day, then we want to live up to this, not 90 per cent or 99 per cent of the time, but 100 per cent of the time. That’s how we would like Etiqa to come across to consumers.”

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