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Bank & Finance - Corporate - March 8, 2022

Insurance cos in CEO crisis

Many insurers haven’t CEO for more than 2-yrs

Mahmuz Emran: There is still an image crisis in the country’s insurance sector. The sector did not develop as expected due to various reasons. Even after that, the government has approved one new insurance company after another. Most of these politically sanctioned insurance companies are not doing well. Many companies can’t even find a regular chief executive officer (CEO). As a result, these insurance companies have been leaving the top positions vacant for years together.
Nineteen insurance companies have been approved in the country for three consecutive terms of the ruling Awami League government. The companies have also started business with registration from the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA), the regulatory body in the sector. Of these 18 life insurance companies, 10 have no regular CEO. The CEO position has been vacant for two years or more.
By law, the position of CEO of an insurance company cannot be left vacant for more than three months. However, if the regulatory body Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority approves, another three months will be available for the appointment of CEO. All in all, there is no chance of leaving the CEO post vacant for more than six months. If the post of CEO of a company is vacant for six months, provision has been made in the Insurance Act for the appointment of an administrator.
Despite having such obligations, the CEO posts in the companies have been vacant year after year, the concerned people say, the country’s insurance sector image is in crisis. That is why at one time educated people were not very interested in coming to this profession. As a result, there is a shortage of skilled manpower in this sector. Many have become DMDs without passing SSC. Despite having work experience, they are not able to become CEOs due to lack of necessary educational qualifications.
According to the Chief Executive Officer Recruitment and Removal Regulations-2012, the educational qualifications of the CEO of an insurance company will be three years undergraduate and one-year postgraduate degree or four-year term bachelor’s or equivalent degree. In addition, 15 years of working experience in the same category of insurance company and three years of working experience in the immediate post of MD.
However, for those with a higher degree in insurance, experience can be conditionally relaxed for three to five years. The age limit has been fixed at 40 to 60 years.
Insurance professionals say that just as there is a shortage of skilled manpower in the insurance sector, employers are also looking for a CEO who will benefit them if they are hired. Due to this many times CEO is not available. It also happens that even after giving various opportunities to the owner, some CEOs cannot stay in the company. Due to these reasons, there is a kind of artificial CEO crisis in the insurance sector now.
The CEO life vacancies include Mercantile Islamic Life Insurance, Best Life, Sonali Life, Guardian Life, Chartered Life, Protective Islamic Life, Jamuna Life, Alpha Life, Trust Islami Life and Akij Takaful Life Insurance.
Noor Alam Siddiqui Avi has been the CEO of Alpha Life since 2020. “The board is working to make me a permanent CEO,” he told about the company’s regular CEO vacancy over the years. Not only our company, many companies now do not have a regular CEO.
Asked about the reasons for not having a regular CEO, he said, “I think there is a shortage of qualified CEOs in the insurance sector. Now every company’s board or chairman wants their organization to be updated. I think there is a lack of the kind of CEO needed in this case. ‘
Shahidul Islam is currently the CEO of Best Life. “I am not alone, many companies have not had a regular CEO for a long time,” he told about the company not having a regular CEO. We can’t become CEO if we want to. This is a matter for the board. I have been the CEO since April 2021. The board has not yet applied to IDRA for CEO.
Is it a violation of the law to perform current duties for a long time? When asked, he said, “We have been in our company for a short period of time. Many companies have CEOs in charge for a long time. What do we have to do if the board does not take action? We are helpless, we need jobs. We have families.
Mohammad Gias Uddin is currently the CEO of Trust Islami Life Insurance. “We had a regular CEO until 2016,” he told. Attempts were then made to find a CEO, but no results were found. I did not apply as I was not 40 years old then. Now that I am 40 years old, the board applied to IDRA to make me CEO in January this year. As far as I know, my case is being checked and sorted by IDRA.
Kamrul Hasan Khandaker has been the CEO of Jamuna Life for two years now. “I have been the CEO since April 2020,” he told. However, I am not currently in charge. Because the board has already applied to IDRA to make me a regular CEO. It is in the process of approval.
The reason for the lack of regular CEOs in new insurance companies, he said, is the lack of professional people in insurance. No one wants to enter the insurance profession because of the image crisis. We who are, have come to this profession for various reasons. Now I have become a senior. But we are not amateurs. I have been in insurance for 25 years. I joined this profession as a junior officer.
Shahidul Amin has been the CEO of Mercantile Insurance for two years now. He told that in order to be the CEO of insurance, one has to fulfill about 16 criteria. Not everyone has everything here. There is something less in some cases. I spoke directly with the Chairman of IDRA. I told the chairman to bring some relaxation in the law to give approval to those who are doing well. Maybe there will be some changes in the law.
Sheikh Rakibul Karim is currently the CEO of Guardian Life. He told that skilled manpower is needed in the insurance sector. This is what we say again and again. Now you will see many CEOs who have started as agents. Gradually grown (promoted) from agent. Their education may not have been right.
The regular CEO position at Guardian Life has been vacant for over a year. In many companies, the CEO position is vacant for a longer period of time. Isn’t that a good sign for the insurance sector? When asked, he said, “I have been the CEO since January 2021. It may take a year or two to see whether I am doing well or not. ‘
When contacted, former caretaker government adviser and prominent economist AB Mirza Azizul Islam told that in reality our country did not need so many insurance companies. Many insurance companies have been approved for political reasons. Now vacancies like CEOs in these companies are not a good sign for the insurance sector. IDRA should take action in this regard.
IDRA spokesperson SM Shakil Akhtar told that there is a shortage of skilled people in the sector. Moreover, the board of directors does not want to appoint people without following their word. Even if they get skilled people, they don’t want to take him. Because he will not follow their word. They will carry the man on his knees. Steps will be taken by IDRA to get rid of it.

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