Saiful Yazan: Initiating the Winds of Change at Takaful

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ENERGETIC and friendly best describes Saiful Yazan bin Ahmad, who, since June 2007, has been at the helm of PT Syarikat Takaful Indonesia (STI). In the space of just a year as president director of STI,Indonesia’s first syariah insurance company, he has introduced changes and strategic measures that have made the company shine.  

The results of his efforts are easy to see. Last year the gross premium income of the company, which was founded on Feb. 24, 1994, jumped by 47.7 percent to Rp 352.01 billion (about US$38 million), compared with Rp 238.39 billion in gross premium income registered in 2006. This total gross premium comes from the gross premiums of two subsidiaries, namely PT Asuransi Takaful Keluarga (ATK), which contributed 71 percent or Rp 249.93 billion, and PT Asuransi Takaful Umum (ATU), which contributed the remaining 29 percent or Rp 102.87 billion. The net profit of STI has also risen by 22.5 percent, namely from Rp 8.01 billion in 2006 to Rp 9.81 billion in 2007.  

The good news is that the total gross premium income of the company is above the growth of the insurance industry. That in itself is quite an achievement amid increasingly tougher competition in the insurance industry. This achievement marks the growth and development of the company and at the same time shows that the public, particularly the customers, place an increasing trust in STI as a pioneer in syariah insurance in Indonesia.  

In addition, STI, through its two subsidiaries, has also received a number of prestigious citations in the past year. ATK received recognition in the category Excellent Financial Performance from InfoBank Magazine and it was ranked first in the category of Life Insurance Companies with Gross Premiums Below Rp 200 billion. ATK was also named Best Syariah 2007 in the category Best Syariah Life Insurance by Investor Magazine. ATU was also named Best Syariah 2007 in the category Syariah General Insurance Chief Player by Investor Magazine. Of course, all these achievements came about due to the leadership and hard work of Saiful and all STI employees through several strategic measures.  

After Saiful Yazan, who was born in Kedah, Malaysia, on Jan. 28, 1964, took the helm, STI has been implementing the Performance Management System (PMS), which is a comprehensive assessment of the performance of the company and employees. “Today, every employee has their own KPI (key performance indicator) and KRA (key result area),” said Saiful, who earned his Master of Science degree from the University of Iowa, United States.  

The improved professionalism of the human resources led to the formation of an elite group prepared to tap potential customers in the upper and middle income groups. These elite groups, numbering 50 selected employees per batch, have contributed significantly to the performance of the company. At the same time, efforts to introduce operational effectiveness and efficiency have also been boosted through a program called Enterprise Cost Reduction (ERC). The result is quite encouraging as the company has reduced operational costs by more than 10 percent.  

Saiful’s describes how he began with the company’s vision and mission, followed by a SWOT analysis to identify the company’s strong and weak points. “Our strong points must be optimized while our weak points, improved,” said Saiful, formerly a department head at MAA Assurance Berhad Malaysia.  

In addition, Saiful stresses to his employees the importance of thinking strategically with reference to the company’s vision and mission so that the target becomes clear. He even asks them not to be “allergic” to customer’ complaints or dissatisfaction. “This is a valuable input that helps us to see the weaknesses of the company,” said Saiful.  

Saiful is credited with having introduced a modern management system to the company. He is also viewed as capable of combining technical matters in insurance with marketing, which has resulted in the establishment of a lot more marketing networks by teaming up with other companies, such as Bank Syariah Mandiri, BNI and PT Pos Indonesia.  

Saiful is determined to maximize and make efficient use of information technology by means of integrating the IT of the two subsidiaries. At present, ATK has an IT system called Takaful Insurance Management System (SMART), while ATU has the General Takaful System (GTS).

“We will integrate the two on a web base,” said Saiful, who earned an MBA degree from University Teknologi Mara, Malaysia. With the strategic measures taken by Saiful, STI is expected to continue to remain an industry leader in its field. (D. Suryadi)  

The Jakarta Post, July 16, 2008

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