How would you describe yourself in a few words?
Eternal optimist, passionate in whatever I decide to get invovled in and positive.
What drew you to the insurance business?
After finishing my Diploma in Business Management I wanted to continue studying and wanted to go oversea to do so. I tried to enrol at the London School of Economics but the fees were 3 times what I was earning annually and I could not afford it. The opening came when a relatively new insurance broking company was employing trainee managers with a view of affording them training overseas. The perfect opportunity. Insurance was simply a by-product of my desire to further my studies.
How was it starting off an insurance company in 1989?
It was very hard, but we were determined to make it a success. We believed in ourselves and as clients started to be roped in we were further encouraged to grow the business further. We always kept a low profile and business grew through client referrals, apart from our selective targetting.
If you had to go back and choose a different career, in which sector would you see yourself working and why?
The creative industry – marketing and advertising. I love also strategizing and long terms planning – never seeing the immediate impact but the long term effect.
What are the three main challenges that today’s insurance sector is facing in your opinion?
All industries are in a stage of transformation and insurance is no exception. Embracing the digital world technologies is one of them. The local industry is still anchored in a rather conservative and protective environment.
The conventional way of distributing insurance will change over the next ten years. It may take longer in Malta, but it will change sooner rather than later, and the current structure of organizations and the market cannot be sustained in the current format.
The insurance industry needs to become more attractive to the younger generation of talent. We are not glamourous enough when compared to other emerging industries – gaming and IT in particular. We are still seen as being stiff and conservative. We need to loosen up, become more attractive, exciting and part of the current world were technology rules.
Where are you seeing Malta in the next 10 years when it comes to this sector?
The size of the internal market remains a major stumbling block for those who want to restrict themselves to half a million potential Malta based customers as against the half a billion European customer base. The industry has good talent, the educational standards in Malta are good but need to be more focused to the practical realities of the outside world. The industry which has flourished over the last 3 or 4 decades will continue to grow, but the growth will be for those who venture outside the local shores.
Tell us about a personal but very meaningful experience?
I have been blessed to have a caring and supportive wife and four children. We are celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary this week and I have just turned 60 earlier this year and we are celebrating these events by trying to spend more time together. Over the years the family has grown to appreciate the interests which each member of the family embrace. Although each of us has his or her own particular interest we are finding ourselves having so much in common. All of us are fond of the arts in their various ways, paintings, sculptures, cinema, cartoon. We all love good simple food and appreciate the various different cuisines in Malta or when we are travelling. As my children are way past their teen years, I am starting to accept (not easy though) that I can learn more from them and that they teach me more than what I have taught them.
Personal questions :
Favourite Outdoors Place in Malta: Delimara and Marsaxlokk area.
Favourite dish: Chicken liver pate (home made) and Pesce San Pietro, but a ftira biz-zejt taz-zebbug beats everything else for Saturday lunch.
How do you take your Coffee: Espresso lungo (decafinated after 1300 hours)
Your Favourite colour: Viola
Over a Coffee Interview is carried by James Vella Clark (Ci Consulta PR Director)