Edwin Macharia, General Manager for Healthcare at Minet Kenya Insurance Brokers
I usually wake up at 4.30am and get to the gym about half an hour later. I work out for an hour, freshen up and get to the office just before 7am.
As the general manager in charge of the Healthcare Division, my job is to ensure we implement the company strategy as a division. I have to keep abreast of the market dynamics and trends as our industry is always evolving and clients’ needs and exposures keep changing; we have to always be able to respond appropriately.
I joined Minet straight out of campus on a 3-month contract as I waited to graduate and get a permanent job, preferably in the NGO world. Nine years, later I am still at Minet and have grown to my current position. It has been a long journey and I am proud of that. I am also proud of having been able to inculcate an entrepreneurship culture amongst my team that has enabled us to deliver distinctive service to our clients year after year.
People-management is a critical part of my job. We run the largest healthcare insurance shop and I currently have a team of 88 staff members. Not only do we offer brokerage services, we also provide self-fund administration of health schemes, care management, design and implementation of bespoke wellness programmes, among others. All these services require a highly skilled team. Also, healthcare insurance is the most emotive of insurances. By the time one is interacting with us at the point of claim, they are already in an emotional state, and we must therefore always remain empathetic as we serve our clients. In summary, I am responsible for getting and keeping customers and ensuring they are happy and well-covered while managing all stakeholders’ expectations to achieve shareholder value.
On a typical day when I do not have a breakfast meeting I will get to the office, go through the newspapers, respond to emails, have breakfast then start my meetings. At least once or twice a week I will meet my managers to review progress as well as get updated on the areas that need my attention.
Lunch time is my favourite part of the day. I dedicate this time to meeting clients and finding out how they are doing. You will be surprised that most of the key information about your clients will not be given during formal business meetings but during the informal sit-downs. I purpose to meet our business partners over breakfast or lunch. This helps build our relationships for the benefit of our mutual clients.
No two days are alike, that’s one of the things I love about my job. There are new challenges to tackle every day and quite a steep learning curve. My motivation is in seeing the end results of our daily efforts, mainly in the form of contented clients appreciating us and even giving us referrals. Being able to make new sales and renew existing policies keeps me going as it is a testament that we are touching lives and adding value to our clients.
I normally plan my day the day before. So, for Monday I plan on Friday, for Tuesday I plan on Monday before leaving work and so on. I also keep a notebook for all the tasks I need to get done the next day (which I rarely exhaust) but this keeps me going and always helps me tackle the most important tasks.
I have received lots of good advice, but the best career advice that has helped me get to where I am today is to do the very best in everything I do. That’s the same advice I’d give: always give your best effort. The reward may not come immediately but it will come eventually. The glory comes after the grind. Also, always seek and accept challenges, stay positive, believe in yourself and your ability to succeed.
My evenings are not very structured. I will hang out with my peers, friends or mentors, or have a date with my wife. But I always ensure I have eaten by 8 pm and gone to bed by 9 pm.
My all-time favourite read is 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. I think I have read it four times now. I do not pass up any opportunity to gift it to someone. It opens up your mind on human interactions which are critical for success and also on lessons on how to get where you want to be. I am currently reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson and The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy. I have a collection of many audio books which I find convenient to listen to whenever I’m on the road travelling or stuck in traffic.
I am married with two sons aged three and seven. I always ensure I keep my weekends open for them. I avoid working on weekends unless absolutely necessary. In fact, I would rather work late than come to the office on weekends. We go for long drives together, ride bikes and just hang out. I also play golf but not as frequently as I would want to.