Radical changes have occurred in our country in terms of education, culture, business, agriculture, trade, and so on. However, we are still living in a male dominated society.
Mohammodi Khanam, ABIA, is a very well known insurance professional and has been involved in this sector for the last 25 years. She is currently the CEO of Prime Insurance Company Ltd. She completed her MSS along with her BSS (Honors) in Economics from the University of Dhaka. Prior to joining Prime Insurance Company as Additional Managing Director in the year 2011, Mohammodi was Executive Director of Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd. She has received a lot of training in the insurance arena from home and abroad and also attended a number of International Training, Seminar/Workshops and Re-insurance Conference. Mohammodi is also internationally recognized as Trade Finance Specialist by the E-business School of Ireland.
She has been awarded the esteemed International Who’s Who of Professionals (USA) and also has been featured in the 2009-2010 editions of the Madison Who’s Who Registry of Executives and Professionals. She is a regular trainer of Bangladesh Insurance Association and various training institutes of private banks.
Given that you are working in an area in which women were rarely employed, how do you feel about your profession? Are you enjoying your experience?
If we look back when women started getting involved in the corporate world to generate income as well as to give themselves their own identity, very few women joined insurance companies compared to banks & other financial institutions. During that period, around 1988; I stepped into the insurance industry with a different outlook.
I started my career with BIDS as a Research Executive under renowned economist, Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad. Being a former researcher helped fuel my keenness to study market needs, think holistically and progressively with a goal to introduce innovative products & services. This has also helped me address the changing demands of an emerging Bangladesh economy seeking better-crafted insurance covers and superior customer service.
Today, I am the Chief Executive Officer of Prime Insurance Company Ltd.
Yes, of course, I enjoy my profession to the fullest. Every year is challenging for me but these challenges yield new stories, new knowledge, and new experiences. Learning from my previous experiences, I always maintain my schedule and plan accordingly for the near future. I never leave a task unfinished which is why irregularities are rare in my work.
With the power vested in me, by the board, I as the CEO have rearranged the structure of Prime Insurance in a corporate governance style. After proper analysis, I have delegated responsibilities to the proper areas and brought in a structure which will encourage teamwork and enhance the services provided by our company.
What are the major challenges you have faced as you have progressed in this profession?
Radical changes have occurred in our country in terms of education, culture, business, agriculture, trade, and so on. However, we are still living in a male dominated society. In this society, females are not always cordially accepted as a corporate leader by the males. I also had to pass through this situation. Sometimes it was difficult to receive the acceptance of my male colleagues. They often tried to create obstacles in my way even attempted several times to stop my personal development in the industry. However, through my determination, enthusiasm and hard work, I was able to overcome whatever problem I encountered.
Parallel to my professional life, I also have to maintain a family life with my husband and two kids. Being a mother, besides giving them love and affection, I also had to make sure they were receiving the proper education and teaching. I have had to cope with those situations methodically. Here, I must say, fortunately, I have received outstanding support from my husband, Mr. Md. Mehmood Husain, President & Managing Director of Bank Asia Ltd. which helped me to overcome most of my challenges.
What are your professional challenges?
Unhealthy competition of commission is one of the main professional challenges. Besides, high tariff rates, malpractice of underwriting in the market, violating the rules approved by IDRA, doing business with the help of local agents. Then there is the lack of professional & educated marketing persons in the industry, dual roles played by the Sadharan Bima Corporation (SBC), again stay order in the high court against special rate in underwriting by the clients and so on. These are the main challenges in the insurance sector.
It is also mentionable that as a member of the Central Rating Committee (CRC) we aim to provide our clients with the lower premium rates as well as to approve a special rates including all the possible facilities through revising the tariff rate when we would be able to withdraw the stay order of the high court. Thus by this process, the unhealthy competition of commission will hopefully be removed from the industry.
What is your advice for future professionals?
If anyone intends to grow his/her career in this sector, he/she should have extreme will power, skill in underwriting, basic knowledge in claims, reinsurance, marketing & other departments associated with the insurance sector. Moreover, he/she should be educated and well versed in English all the while maintaining an extroverted approach.