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Tasker’s assurance

New VP to expand ICBL customer base and services

He has made a mark in the telecommunications industry and now his aim is to do the same in insurance.

It was roughly two years after telecommunications company Digicel established a presence in Barbados that Alex Tasker, 54, joined the company as head of sales in September, 2006, and later took up the position of commercial director in August, 2010. Immediately he knew he would have his hands full, given that the island was used to having only one major telecommunications provider.

Tasker told Barbados TODAY that during his eight-year tenure his focus was on increasing market share and helping with the expansion of the sector. And he said he was satisfied he had achieved most of what he set out to.

ICBL senior vice-president Alex Tasker.

ICBL senior vice-president Alex Tasker.

“The numbers are pretty staggering when you hear of where we came from in relation to what we did. There was this enormous numbers of persons who was trying to get on board with cellphones. There was a major switch of moving from a monopoly to a duopoly,” recalled Tasker.

“I was in retail management for about 20 years; so I had a pretty good framework for how to operate in any other frame of business. So I went into Digicel with a very open mind and a view of how I could help to build the telecommunication sector with Digicel. As you know there was only one major competitor at the time; and that was Cable & Wireless. Then it switched to LIME,” he said.

“The formative years were about focusing on driving customer awareness about Digicel and the telecoms industry, and also to gain market share. So, for us the focus was how we would get to the point of being No. 1 in the market. Several years subsequently we actually became No. 1; but in the beginning stages it was all about trying to win the hearts of the customers. And that was really my job: to really set the sales strategy and try and win as many customers,” added Tasker.

However, in August of this year, Tasker left Digicel and took up a position with the Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited (ICBL). He is the senior vice-president of business development and marketing. He said although the years spent at Digicel were very fulfilling and rewarding, his decision to leave was a personal one.

“For one thing, I am not getting any younger. After spending eight years in the business and understanding a little more about it generally, I decided to, for one, take a rest
and a slow pace, not knowing I was coming to just as equivalent a pace,” he quipped.

But why did Tasker choose the insurance industry? He said it was “about changing the direction” of his life, adding that he wanted to make a mark in another industry.

“This option presented itself, and I decided that it is a good option for my development for the next five to ten years. So I have opted for that,” he explained.

Tasker said his dream for the insurance industry was to expand it and help Barbadians become more aware of the need for it, and its benefits.

“I don’t want people to be scared of the word insurance . . . . There are a number of things that go on behind the scenes that we would like to let people understand. For instance, we can help you plan for retirement, your household, your property –– down to your pets. That is the level of insurance we need the industry to develop; and to bring products and services that are ready-made for the consumers, so they can have the protection and peace of mind for the balance of their lives.

“I think it will happen. More and more, the insurance industry is becoming very competitive,” he added.

Tasker said he would be ensuring that ICBL was able to further expand its customer base. He also pointed out that technology would play a greater role in that industry and he intended to capitalize on that.

“The marriage of technology and insurance in the next couple of years or so will help us to develop better products and services for clients. Everything from opening your door at home now can be done through technology, and everything that is in your home now can be insured. So there is a direct marriage between the value of the insurance and the value of the technology. Technology for us is gong to marry with what we are going to do within the next three to four years,” Tasker declared.

He said: “I am generally satisfied that we are on the right path for future growth in the insurance industry, and I am sure that by the time we look around next year –– this same time –– we will be singing different praises as to how people are generally satisfied.”

Tasker, who has also worked as a commercial director in the retail store Courts, said that although significant strides had been made in both the telecommunications and insurance industries, much more needed to be done.

“We have strong representation in the telecoms market. What we need now to happen is how we regulate to ensure that all Barbadians will be able to use the services provided by these companies. And I think we are making significant headway in providing that level of comfort for all persons to use broadband and other telecoms services,” he suggested.

In relation to the insurance industry, Tasker said he was not satisfied that Barbadians were taking insurance seriously and he would be doing his part to change that.

The ICBL vice-president is generally satisfied with where he is in his life’s journey.

“I am the kind of person who doesn’t like to jump up and down. I just take things in stride. Generally, I am very happy where I am now; and in the next four years or so I hope I will make a significant mark in the insurance industry. If that is achieved I think I will be moving to satisfy the shareholders and directors of the organization and possibly looking to take on something else bigger,” he said.

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