Check out our latest episode!
Dec. 30, 2022

Interview with Walid Dib- CEO of Hala Insurance, UAE

Q: Well, it's really great to have you with us. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you, guys. It's a pleasure. I've been watching your podcast for quite some time. I'm glad that I'm taking part in it. Very good to have you here finally. Awesome. Thank you. Absolutely. So, Walid, this is a question we ask all our guests.

How did you get into insurance? Typically, that's really not the first choice for most of us. And can you tell us why did you go about setting up Hala? Yeah, absolutely. So, so I'll break it down first to how I got into insurance. It's a story that people typically don't believe. I was a civil engineer working in Qatar back in the day, I dunno if it's still the same, and in Qatar, your ID shows the name of your company.

And I found someone's ID on the floor, and it said Charles Taylor, Justin; I had no clue what that was as a civil engineer at the time. I Googled it, called them, and said, did you lose your ID? I found the person, I still have him on LinkedIn. He's like, yes. And he was a civil engineer working there.

He needed someone who was proficient in Arabic. He's a civil engineer and can understand complex risk as a loss adjuster. I had the first two, but I did not understand complex risk as loss adjuster. I instead. Gave him his id, he was quitting and I replaced him in the company. So I was, my first insurance, insurance was in, in Charles Taylor as a lot adjuster.

After that, I went into Cunningham again as a loss adjuster, where I worked on some large scale accidents, like the fire. And I did a brief, a terribly brief in, in, in the Caribbean for Hurricane Irma where I lived on my boat and found out I'm very seasick, so I had to fly back. At that time I realized, I don't think I am a loss adjuster.

So what I wanted to do really was I saw a lot of inconveniences in the backend side of insurance in terms of the workflow management between insurance companies. And how they communicate with each other. The relationship have major conflicts of interest between insurance companies that owe each other money for segregation.

And one of the thoughts I had was, listen, I'm obsessed. This was back in 2018. I'm obsessed with blockchain. Why don't I quit my job, convince my brother to quit. And we found our CTO Harsh. We met them online on Upwork of all places, and we said, listen guys, let's all quit what we're doing, our full-time paying jobs and, and try to make a wedding between blockchain and insurance.

That was the birth of Addenda. The company became a blockchain-based subrogation platform. So those listening, subrogation.  But it's effectively money owed between one insurance company and another for whatever purpose relating to place.

And we had the first blockchain, in the region or large parts of the world. We had a consortium. Built by just three guys transacting claims. We transact about 30 million between nine insurance companies in the UAE, where we're testing it with six companies in Bahrain and a few in Kuwait.

When we decided we had this wake-up call that, listen, this is all nice, I don't think we're the right B2B people for it. We sold that business to a company called XL Group, an Australian company. Who has since then revived and worked a much better job at it? We found that we, as customers, Wanted to change how insurance is perceived.

Now, I'm not going to make it to love insurance, not in my lifetime, but what I can do is, with Hala, outsource people's worry skills. We are a no blah blah insurance company, no jargon. We want to make it so that it's comprehensible to everybody. And I want to ensure 450 million people living in the Middle East, starting with mandatory lines like Motor and health.

But eventually, I want to get into term life. I want to get into it. Obviously we're doing home as well. Apologies for the lengthy monologue, but that's what, we do at HALA.  

Q: So now, focusing a bit more on the Hala story itself, when did you and your co-founders get the idea? What was sort of the first steps that you took to start the business? Would love to know from a sort of startup story point of view. Absolutely. So you have to be mindful of this.

During peak covid, a time when I was trying to raise my Series A and my investors and many others competitors as well as other founders I know, but this was insane. Like, why are you leaving a somewhat not profitable but businesses generating capital? You found product market fit, and you're suddenly going like, no, I wanna do a kinda 180-degree switch to something else.

We were never impressed with how insurance from a customer side works here. I'm not impressed with banking. I'm not impressed with insurance, not impressed with a lot of things, but as a millennial, typically,we're not impressed by much. And customer loyalty, in general, is nonexistent, at least in my age bracket, and maybe the generation above me and the generation younger than me as well.

How can I change that? How can I make insurance a business? From a customer perspective? A retail perspective is where customers are as loyal as they are to telcos or banks. Like, I don't know if you guys have switched your internet connection other than because you have to leave the, you know, from to how can I make that relationship as symbiotic with insurances?

We have a hypothesis. I could be wrong, and I'd love to be proven wrong, but my hypothesis is that insurance works on your side and gives you perks. What it actually explains to you, instead of hiding it in T&C, is that you should get a replacement vehicle if you have an accident. What if I provide roadside assistance that's available 24x7?

What if I and not just say it, but actually do it? So what we're doing right now is, this is perhaps, I dunno if I should be saying this right now, but like we intend to launch as full integration with roadside assistance. That the click of a button, the car just comes to you, right? And, and how do I also make your policy purchase experience?

How do I prevent 20 different aggregators from calling you, spamming, and sharing your information and database, and all of that stuff? I found all the inconveniences and insurance that don't necessarily relate purely to price. There's always a Mickey Mouse insurance broker or company somewhere in the middle of nowhere that's gonna sell a policy for 10 AED cheaper, but for those 10 AED difference, I'm gonna provide you the world. And if you pick that cheaper policy, then probably that's not the customer persona that we're tracking anyway. We care about people who care about their own well-being and who want to have good service, and who can be loyal to our company that is loyal to that.

Q: Now, the co-founder relationship is quite critical for startups. As you very well know. You've got two co-founders. We know from data that many. Feel if it's if this is not done well. Now, did you guys, as a team, take a conscious look to avoid issues or conflicts?

How do you go about agreeing on the roles of the co-founders? You have to remember that two of the co-founders are siblings and siblings that have one year apart, and the sibling rivalry is immense, right? So, so what happens is the following, it's very funny.

So anything I decide typically would, my brother and co-founder, is against. Harsh, we call him Switzerland. So Harsh. Always the calm person in the middle. Karim is a very numerically oriented person. It's very bottom-line-oriented. And I tend to be, and I don't wanna use the term visionary, cause I don't think I am, but like I tend to have an idealistic approach towards almost everything.

And it's that balance between the three of us. I think if you have two people who are very similar, it's not gonna work at the same time. If you have no compromise, it's also not gonna. Moving from Addenda, you have to be mindful that it took a conscious decision from all three co-founders to agree that this is the best step forward.

And upon raising money from the likes of  VCs and the growth in customers that we've seen, the team members are so proud to be a part of the company. I'm at a position now where I can finally say, you know, I, two years later, after pushing. Thank God this is good, like a good idea. You know, this was, I can now stand by this idea where I think it was good.

So, from a co-founder's perspective, disagreements are frequent. You have to have the confidence and knowledge that you can disagree with someone. Speak your voice and not be misunderstood. But at the same time, it's critical not to patronize each other, not to insult each other. No matter how passionate you get about why I'm right, and you are wrong, and vice versa, and the dynamics that we have.

I wouldn't trade it for the world, I think, without the dynamic of the three co-founders. We would not have been where we are today. And in fact, the investors who invested in us at the seed stage invested in Addenda in a blockchain is not, but they are still with us today because I think they didn't really invest in Addenda as much as they invested in three people who are right.

Perhaps saying they'd be passionate about insurance to an unhealthy degree.

Q: Now, this is your second startup. Right. In that sense, what would you say are sort of the key learnings from the first one that you have brought into Hala and have benefited, or have you been almost afraid to repeat some of those things that you did in Addenda?

What is your thinking on that? You have to, you have to be agile in terms of, and some of what I'm gonna say is, you're gonna sound cheesy or. Common sense, but trust me, I've gone through it, and I know that this is an issue I have to be agile in, in pivoting. It doesn't matter what your vision is. If their product market fit is not there then it won’t work.

So without using any examples from Addenda, I'll, I'll just at a high level extrapolate what I mean if I had a vision that pet insurance is the future in Dubai. And that everybody needs to ensure their pets and that everything needs to go through a certain digital platform with averse VR headset, blah, blah.

Oh, super visionary. But the market doesn't care about that. All the market cares about is that their pets are healthy.

There's a serious discrepancy between what the founder thinks they have in mind. Not everybody's Elon Musk. Not everybody has to be Musk, right? I don't even like Musk, but that's another story. But the idea here is to identify as fast as you can whether your vision has a product market fit or even if it's relevant to the market, the market will always win against your vision.

So that was something I've realized early on. Case in point would be lines of business that we would be interested in launching, lines of business that we soft launched and then pulled out. So what you see is not the only lines of business that we considered. There's similar lines of business that what we do is we, we pull up a full floor test, we advertise this line of business to, to a certain number of people.

We test the waters as to what they would want. We have focus groups on them when we realize that the certain demographics we're targeting, our hypothesis is incorrect, then we switch it off. Typically, I think a founder, at least in my position, has to be one of two. Either they have to be a serial entrepreneur if they're going to insurance, who doesn't understand insurance that has successfully built businesses or needs to have an insurance background.

A first time founder in insurance has no experience in insurance is gonna have issues about that. Because you have to depend on one of two things. Either your business acumen as a serial entrepreneur, which I didn't have with Addenda.  

Q: Now tell us, tell us more about Hala's business model itself.

The obsession with customer centricity was how can I build tech that is not impressive. To the CEO of an insurance company, but is rather important for our customer and, and I think getting a good tech team is important, but having a good product team is critical to building that technology needed that is relevant to the customer case point is we consistently change an AB test.

Our customer comes onboarding. I'm not even gonna use buzzwords like AI and let's just talk about the basics of, of a customer standing in line and RTA and realize I haven't done my insurance. If they tap, tap, tap, they get a policy.

And how can I speed up that process? How can I make it that they don't need human intervention? Cause today, myself include in a large number of, of insurance aggregators or companies. There's still that friction with the, with the call center. Why does the customer even need to speak to a guy if everything is straightforward?

Our post-purchase experience right now as to, I think it was McKinsey report. I don't remember when I'll, and send it to end up. The vast majority of people don't have claims and when they don't have claims, but they wanna talk to their insurance companies, their biggest requests are change my name, and change my address.

These are the processes you need to automate. It's not automating just the onboarding experience for the claims experience; while importan, focus as well on the most frequent touch points you have with a customer. If they wanna call you, why are they calling you?

They're calling you because you didn't send them something. There's something that you promised to give them. There's a paper, and there's something missing. What are your garages?

I don't think you want to download an app if you if you just crashed your car, you want a resolution done immediately. What if I do it by automating it via WhatsApp? What if there's a WhatsApp? Hello, chat with the agent using WhatsApp; you know, where are you?

That’s kind of the intention we have. Here's convenience first. Technology serves stuff, not the other way around.

Q: HALA is set up as an agency in the UAE, right?

So, so we have an insurance agency license from the Central Bank. We are an agent of the insurance company. We have a tech license in  ADGM as a tech company, which I built out the tech, so we're regulated onshore, and we innovate offshore, I suppose. 

 Q: One of the biggest challenges some inures could potentially face is convincing an incumbent underwriter to come on board as a partner. Right. You know, because as an agent, you depend on the capacity of the incumbents. Right. So tell us about Hala's journey in finding the right partner.

Salama Insurance- they were one of the first to transact with us and have the highest volumes. So we've consistently picked insurance companies that have a good reputation in the market. And insurance companies are the size of a book that considers it a symbiotic relationship. I need them to underwrite with a good garage network and a good support system, and a good reputation and they need me to test the waters or to be the free R&D tool to test digital customer acquisition, right? So this symbiotic relationship or co-dependent relationship means that there's not much for the insurance company to risk by going with an insurtech like us. We have built it. They have seen that it was done successfully before. We have a good team, and they have a good team, they have a good tech system.

So what's important for me is that I can integrate with the insurance company with them for Insurance. We've integrated both at the front end relating to policy purchase and at the post-purchase experience relating to the claims. We have automatic claims submissions, but this is the most against all aggregators because they have to integrate with, what is it, 60-something insurance companies now.

A lot of people go like, why don't you have a broker license? You can sell so many different policies and compare prices. Prices. Because I'm not about price competition, I'm about the experience.

My obsession with user experience means that if I have a  partner, I can trust someone who trusts me, and we build together a full-stack digital insurance company. Right. That means that I can do roadside assistance at 3:00 AM, and you can be damn sure it'll work. I can build a claim system that's so robust that it takes into account all kinds of exceptions, and I don't have to worry about 12 different core systems and 12 different ERP solutions and Oracle and SAP.

They benefit from the extremely fast digitization we bring to the table. We benefit from their strong reputation and their capability to underwrite big volumes for retail and to hand them those things.

Q:  Just, just to dive a little deeper, how's that conversation on the table in real life?

Right. You know, when you go and meet an insurer and say, Hey, I'm a new company. I'll give you some business. Do a tie-up with me. How do you convince even, you know, how do you make that conversation happen? That's a great question. I think I think it's a great point that's relevant to a lot of insurtechs that are now budding, right?

One thing you're gonna see in common with all of them, like I said to you, is either they are serial entrepreneurs or they come from families of entrepreneurial individuals which is gate keeping.

By coming to an insurance company, or a carrier, and telling them, here, I have a solution to your problem. I'm not a vendor in GITEX. I'm not a guy in a suit that just flew into the bay and wants to sell you some product. That's one size fits all. It's more like a management consultant that's deep expertise in both the region and insurance and is young enough to have a passion for technology.

That is a, is a combo that if a carrier leaves behind, they will end up being not good in comparison to, the rest of the Industry.  I mean, look at the banking sector now. ENBD just updated its corporate banking platform. They need to catch up, right? Cause you have WIO, if you have, I don't know if the app does corporate banking, but you have all of these NEO corporate banks where I don't have to go sign a goddamn paper sign again, screenshot my id, give a blood sample and then come back. No, with two clicks, you have a bank account, with another couple of clicks, you get insured. Why do you need my information when my Emirates ID already has all the information?

Q: Now when you have that large number of incumbents in the UAE market, how do you go about differentiating your brand, and how do you let your customers know about your product?

And also, just an extension to that, how did you get your first set of customers? Because we imagine direct marketing always being a challenge. You have high, you know, CAC, etc.

If you could talk, look, I wish I go back in time that I invested more into branding than, than in organic marketing with Google because I think now that funding is drying up for most startups, it's different.

But if you go back to just last year, the year before, I can imagine the Google exec offices in the UAE whenever a startup, a B2C startup fundraiser, these guys are popping champagne bottles because the VCs aren't really investing in startups as much as investing in Google's revenue. Increasing cause of fact, right?

So, so, so to answer your question, being very blunt, we had, when we first picked it off (Hala Brand), we as family and friends purchasing it, it was through, you know, word of mouth and testing up. Because we were b2b. I did not have a call center. I did not have a proper CRM. I pivoted from Addenda to Hala in three weeks. The brand was built overnight, and you know, looking back and time, I love the word Hala.

Hala means, you know, hello. It means welcome. It means a lot of things in Arabic, but you've got Hala. I'm now focused heavily on being human, on being a brand that you can trust, and I'm not competing with low prices. 

I'm not a a best quote unquote best price person. I'm the best price for this person. Nice. Okay. And is that sort of working out from acquisition costs as well?

We just launched recently a brand campaign called No, blah blah, this insurance. Across all channels with very little marketing. We've got about 2 million views in two days. And TikTok is killing it. Look, I don't get TikTok, I don't care, but the marketing team is like, we gotta be on, I'm like, yeah, but it's just people dancing. I don't get it, but look, it's working.

I've seen insurance market. Ae do it. I think they've got a very interesting approach to branding themselves in terms of, TikTok-style videos. I like it. I haven't tested it out. I, I don't know if I, as, the CEO of the company would consistently want to have my face as the brand of TikTok.

But I think, you know, insurance market that they have a pretty strong brand with Alfred, and I like how they're positioning the big Alfred man walking around in the office. I think it's very interesting.  

Q: Yeah. I second that thought on TikTok. I mean, I'm also kind of experimenting and I find that even though I make pretty boring content, the algorithm pushes me out everywhere, and I get, I benefit from the algorithm.

So I, I, I just tell all the founders that I meet that please use TikTok. But in any case,  switching gear to the important question, and you alluded to it earlier, the funding climate, right?

So what was the funding process that you went through in order to set up Hala and? And just fast forward to today, what is the environment now in terms of funding and you know, maybe as a follow up, I should just stop asking these follow-up questions, but I'm gonna complicate it and say that what if there's a new insurer coming to the market, what would be your advice in terms of approaching funding?

So we've got, we've got three questions, right? I'll kick off with the first one, which was my fundraising experience. Back when I co-founded Addenda, our first round was about 600,000. I spent all my money and Karim spent all his money, and Harsh spent some of his money. We spent everything we had getting to were in FinTech Hive.

By the time the demo day was happening, we were almost broke, and Addenda could have closed down then and there until on demo day. An investor showed up and invested as an, and then another investor, and then a client, and then another client. And a of luck, I'm not gonna lie to you, there's an element of luck only in the sense that you are lucky to have ended up with investors that see the fire in the belly of these cofounders.

Without Karim and Harsh, I wouldn't be where I am today. So, have a very strong core co-founding team, and I think you can kill it. But fast forwarding to the second question you have, which I think, correct me if I'm wrong, it's about the current funding Funding environment.

We also see companies like Wefox destroying it, right? We see companies like Acko companies like Digit in India that have s strayed away from the model of pure breed customer acquisition. I think of  insurance as a low-frequency product that requires a lot of trust, and there is still that element of interaction.

You can use AI, you can use all the buzzwords, and you can plant all the plants in the world that you want, but at the same. The customer trusts you with the safety of their vehicle, the safety of their life, and the safety of their family. Right? So it's always satisfying, I believe, to hear a human on the other side, which brings me to Digit and Acko, and I could be mistaken here.

So if I am, please correct me, but I understand that they have kind of a POSP or something point of sales service. Yeah. Something where there's an individual agent in India That's right. That kind. You offset to set the cost of lead generation to them, and they profit share with you. Yeah. I love it because it brings about low-cost distribution.

By bypassing Facebook bypassing, Instagram and going direct as someone, the customer trusts where you build the app. Not for the customer but for the agent. Yeah. I think it's genius. I think they have 60,000 plus agents there.  

My understanding is it has a course that individuals can take to become freed agents. Today an agent in the UAE must have a paid-up capital of 500,000 AED and must be a UAE citizen. That is a barrier of entry for individuals looking to have that.  

There's a lot of illegal freelancing that happens with brokers. I'm sure you guys are aware of that as well. Where there are people freelancing for below minimum premium, third-party liability policies, and freelancing for just in general without an insurance contract, and I think that might bite some people in the book later on when they realize that they should not have indulged themselves in these practices, brokers, and agents that are leading the prices of the market to crash.

Something needs to be done about that. Because it is affecting the fundraising environment for InsureTech to be viable, you're saying what, what should I, what kinda advice would I give InsureTech that's coming in is if you're coming in from abroad, understand that the market dynamics here are so complex and that it's so competitive.

That you might need a miracle if you're coming from abroad with whatever principles you have abroad. Because they do not apply here, it is a very specific market. The other element that budding Insurtech might struggle with is getting a license.

Aggregators have a license in their own capacity. I don't know if Policybazaar has one that's not my business, but basically, the MO here is that these companies have licenses in the UAE. But then again, you need to get another license in Saudi, you need to get another, so there's, there's a regulatory fragmentation, there's a challenge for you to pitch to a VC.

Our VCs invested in us knowing that we're about to get a license, right? And we got the license a bit late. We got VCs, I think, in the region looking into short, like when someone goes like, yeah, I have 200 customers in Dubai. Now I'm going to Saudi. No, you're not. It's a completely different market. Then, the dynamics are different.

The regulation is d. This is where I champion. If I go back in time, I would've started in India because what's the population? I think you guys know more than I do about India right now. Ballpark one, 1 billion-plus, I think,in India. Yeah. And how many insurance-regulated authorities? One. Right. One. Yeah. And if I get regulated in India, I'm regulated across all of India.

So if I wanna do a micro microinsurance service that gives, you know, lots of income insurance or whatever, I'm gonna do it in India. I'm telling you that that's exactly what I was set up for. It's got its challenges for sure, but yeah, no, true. It's huge potential, though. And like you said, the whole agent thing, I think it works because the maturity is so different.

Q: You know, staying within the Middle East, and you spoke about how from a regulatory perspective, there are differences. But if you see from a trend perspective, there's a lot of, you know, a lot of interesting trends that we are seeing within the Middle East.

And obviously, that's having an influence on the insurance industry. You know, some of them, for instance, with health insurance, we are seeing wearable spaced health insurance plans coming in. With more insurance, we are seeing pay by kilometer or pay as you go, which may be potentially coming in as well.

And then there is cyber insurance, and there's a whole new. You know, the metaverse and, you know, potentially ensuring assets within that, digital assets within that. But what are the trends Hala is catching on to, and what are you guys working on or doing around these trends?

Look, one thing I'm extremely interested in is insurance or lifestyle insurance. And, before I talk about lifestyle insurance and explain what I view it to be, I'll talk about the other ones, which is, you know, insurance and things like that. I don't think I'll be touching it anytime soon. The reason is we've already burned our hands. By being extremely early adopters in blockchain for insurance and not having a market fit back then, I'm more than happy to consider one.

There is certain traction in the metaverse to consider. I don't think I'll be the first mover into that. Right now, I'm focusing more on the planet Earth insurance people here. Cause that is the size of the market as well, right?So lifestyle insurance for me, my vision to wake up, and I'm gonna give an example.

Vidya lands in Dubai with her husband and three kids to live here. You bump into friends, family, friends, and you were like, okay guys, where can I take care of myself and protect myself?

And this is where Hala comes in. My intention is to protect your child's education. To protect you against personal accidents, to protect you against liabilities, others, your car (accidents), and everything. And my ultimate goal, and I'm not there, it's not even close, but is to find a way where I can do a monthly based subscription for peace of mind.

It's like Netflix, peace of mind, if that makes sense. So I wanna make you answer as few questions as possible to get as much protection as possible for as little money as possible. Now, this is where the impulsiveness of a leader needs to be reined in by the other two co-founders, right? They like, whoa, slow.

Here's the goal. My ultimate is a bit idealistic, but how can I balance profitability for insurance companies, our carriers, our partners, and our insurers with what the customer actually needs in terms of protection?

But definitely the vision, you know, is, is something of a subscription kind of a model that's more experience-driven for, the customers.

Q: Stepping out of the Middle East, we would like to know a few of your thoughts on the models that InsureTechs have followed globally. You mentioned WeFox. Obviously, you know Covergenius, and you know, in India, there is Digit insurance. Which of these business models do you closely follow or get inspired by, or do you see, you know, as a target state for Hala?

As I said, seeing how different the regulatory landscape here is in India or Singapore, and Europe. In the European Union, you can, I think, have an MGA that could cover across the union.

The challenge that you have here is none of these models can scale with MENA because of the fragmented regulated landscape until you have a GCC-wide insurance agreement that allows a UAE-based company to insure across the region.

None of these other models are viable. I can look at them; I can experiment with them. I don't wanna put an Uber-type experiment and try them out without being regulated and then face the consequences. Getting the insurance agency license on its own has been an adventure, so I'm very protective of it and very careful.

With great power comes great responsibility. I'm frequently looking at what they are doing, and I'm kind of watching from a distance and seeing how that plays out.

Q: The difficult part is I could see a collapse like the one in 2008, where if it's not and you have the insurance protecting the entire crypto ecosystem, then that doesn't cover it when everything goes. I think, you know, another interesting thing is that you mentioned parametric insurance, right?

Q: You know, we were looking at, when I was working with a cyber insurtech player, I was looking at it, you know, if, let's say, a platform like Shopify goes down for a bit for a small or medium enterprise. Mm. That is taken as the business interruption production. Yeah. And you have monitoring tools that see when a system goes down, you immediately, on a parametric basis, just do a payout.

A: So, you know, those things which are more real life and less crypto-oriented also exist in the parametric world. My eyes opened when I worked with them. And so very interesting that you mentioned that even basic things you can't dispute. If a flight didn't take off, it didn't take off, you know?

And there are open APIs that track flight schedules. True travel insurance in this can be as basic as that. But do you have the market for it? That's a question, right? If I build it, will they come? Are people so obsessed in the UAE with travel insurance already a commonplace item? Then they want me to make p. Is that a problem that the UAE consumer has?

Really I don't know. I think travel insurance is much more common in other parts of the world or much more common to sell to them. Where in the customer go like, ah, they'll never pay me. But now cause they have no choice but to pay you. Because there's an API I was on, then it becomes interesting.

Q:  Jumping back to your favorite subject, I think, is regulation. Now, if you really had a wish list of, you know, positive and really enabling sort of regulation within the region or specific, to the contributor, and you wanna ask regulators, what would that be?

I wish that regulation is standardized across. Nice from an insurance perspective. Yeah. That would allow an existing successful insurance company or an InsureTech in the UAE to operate elsewhere because what does the regulator really care about? They care about the state of individuals living in their country.

Right? They care about if you're pushing, you know, term life insurance or medical. It's the bedrock or the backbone of an ecosystem or a financial ecosystem in a country. So I understand why they wouldn't trust someone blindly, but let's say I'm pushing my product to if I've successfully sold to thousands of customers and reviews are raving, and I've got big partners like  Salama Insurance company in the UAE, and I go to Egypt if you take the heat of the, our progress in the UAE and if the regulatory landscape is similar or the same, then it should be easy for us to transition to the, and provide a better service for the customers, right?

What's happening is that in certain parts of MENA, the market sizes are too small. To justify any kind of innovation there. So then you have that aggressive conflict of interest relationship between the insured and the insurer. And it doesn't have to be the case. If regulators have a similar, if they follow whatever is best in class regulation, either from here or abroad across the entire region, you'll realize that even financially, it'll make sense for everybody, including the regulator of that country.

Q: So, can we ask what your future diversification plans are regarding business lines to geographies? Right now, we're in the UAE. I'm impressed with the pace at which some aggregators and brokers are going to both Egypt and the mindful companies. They are seven or eight years old now.

We have to always be mindful that we're barely two years old. We haven't; next month, we'll be two years old,right? And I, I wanna make sure I successfully build the foundation that I have here.

For a product or lifestyle insurance that I wanna do, I can scale into other markets. Now, am I getting licenses abroad? Maybe. Okay. Maybe I'm getting them to have a maybe. But will I activate them? I think in the current circumstances with the current is in my focus is the UAE for now.

Q: Before we end, is there a message you would like to send to anybody in the insurance industry, in the UAE or the broader region?

It could be a person or a business. Yeah. So first, I just wanna say, guys, this was probably one of the most enjoyable podcasts I have to cause the questions are very well crafted.  

The other one is I think I look forward to a more consolidated insurance market with fewer insurance in the region.  

And I think it may be the case that the behavior is what is leading insurance companies to consolidate. And while it's a painful transition for most, and I dunno if it's the best approach to do so, I think it's doing its job in terms of either having companies that should have shut down a long time ago do so or companies that are better together to consolidate.

And similar to how you had a merger between Salama and Emirates Takaful, I hope for many more to come,and I hope that they take place in a quick fashion where everybody can win.

Host: I think that's a great note to end. It is definitely a market that requires consolidation.


----This is a partly automated transcript and has been edited