Monday, August 6, 2012

Zuraidah breaks into ‘Million Dollar’ club

By Habhajan Singh

Zuraidah Hanim Ibrahim (picture) made history when she emerged as the first lady agent from Takaful Ikhlas Sdn Bhd to break into the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) ranks.

With a personal production of family takaful for the first year contribution of RM461,000, Zuraidah was able to make it for MDRT 2011, along with 7,000 other insurance and takaful agents from around the world.

She was one of the 2,400 first-time agents who set foot at the gala event in Atlanta, US. What made it sweeter for Zuraidah is that her husband is also an MDRT alumni. Samsul Bardari Abdullah represented Takaful Ikhlas at the MDRT 2005. Back then, you needed a minimum premium of RM260,000 to qualify. For 2011, the qualifying mark was RM420,000.

She now join the ranks of some 36,000 life insurers and financial services professionals from more than 430 companies in 78 countries. MDRT members demonstrate exceptional professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service, according to information on its website.

Zuraidah runs her financial consultancy via Subang Jaya-based Darul Asiah Consultant Sdn Bhd. She now has about 1,500 policyholders. “Word of mouth and referrals, that’s how I operate. I rarely make cold calls,” she says. “I hardly call strangers. I started by approaching family members and friends. They then they gave me referrals. Strangers are tough.”

Recalling her early days in the industry, she introduced herself as a financial consultant.? “I usually start by offering basic financial planing and will writing. They’re more receptive towards that,” she says.

So, what did she pick up at the annual MDRT gathering? “It was an opportunity to learn from successful people. It is always great to be in the company of go getters,” she says.

The MDRT annual meeting is also designed to expose participants to innovative sales ideas in the life insurance-based, financial services business. It offers about 100 speakers during its sales ideas breakfast sessions, motivational main platform presentations, educational afternoon sessions, and what it badges as insightful evening sessions.

Zuraidah, a certified financial planner, is ready for new challenges. She has identified one pocket of opportunity. She sees a huge untapped market amongst the high-income people.

“Sometimes, they are so busy that they overlook their own insurance needs,” she says.

(The Malaysian Reserve, 23 July 2012)