A Professional Journey in Maridive: An Interview With Wafaa Kassem, Maridive Group – Risks & Insurance Director

A Professional Journey in Maridive: An Interview With Wafaa Kassem, Maridive Group – Risks & Insurance Director

Maridive Group is one of the largest providers of offshore marine and oil support in Egypt, and one of the biggest in the region in terms of fleet size. The Maridive Group in Egypt manages fleets in in the Mediterranean and Red Seas, North and West Africa, the Caspian Sea, and Latin America (Venezuela and Brazil). Wafaa Kassem, risk and insurance director for Maridive Group, spoke to Egypt Oil & Gas about her journey through the company, its history, and the risks of its work.

How do you describe your over 25-year journey in Maridive?

I joined the company in 1992, and moved to the insurance team in 1998. After years of proving myself and involving myself more widely on every and each matter, I was promoted in 2005 to the position of Risks and Insurance Director. I was reporting to the chairman of the board, and after he passed away I have been reporting to the executive president and board member. I have learned enormously from their expertise and I owe them for the knowledge I have gained.

My function within the group involves dealing with all the branches and sectors responsible for all types of insurance, including personnel, properties, liabilities, offshore projects, and all the activities that Maridive is doing.

What are the core values of Maridive?

Maridive Group is a pioneer and has extensive experience and very understandable management. Since the establishment of the company, the main shareholders have always been very keen to keep the company at the highest standard of professionalism.

As part of Maridive’s management, how can you make sure that the team is motivated and productive and how do you develop your team?

Communication is key for motivation, hence, delegation is crucial. The only way to achieve our goals is by having an adequate team.

Part of my work is to provide the best benefits to the team members. We know that team members are the most important asset we have for ensuring our business is run properly. We are trying to submit some benefits, so I am dealing with some of the HR colleagues.

We are always trying to develop the team by attending conferences and seminars. We also have a training department specialized in this matter to arrange the suitable programs.

Can you comment on Maridive’s history?

The Maridive Group of Companies provides a very wide range of offshore support services worldwide. It has enjoyed steady growth since its formation more than four decades. The Maridive Group was founded in 1978, although the business actually started in 1977. It was known as Maridive and Oil Services S.A.E. The group’s mother company started operations in Port Said as a free zone joint stock company governed by the Egyptian foreign investment legislation. Since then, it has established an enviable reputation in the provision of complete and integrated services and solutions to offshore oil companies.

We are one of the largest companies of our type in the MENA region, from the Gulf of Mexico, North and South Africa, the Mediterranean, the Caspian Sea, Gulf region, and others.

Maridive has an adequate and incredible experience with oil companies in Egypt and all over the world.

It always enhances its projects (underwater diving works, construction and repair, pipe-laying, fabrication and marine works, etc). It has  high qualifications, specifically for underwater services, offshore and onshore.

I would like to mention the three main shareholders -God bless their souls- who I believe are the reason behind the obvious success of Maridive. Although, I did not meet Mr. Maged Nadim – because he passed away before I joined Maridive – I was lucky to meet and work with Captain Issa Eleish and Mr. Magdy Zeid, and they were one of a kind. They had a vision and knew how to implement it impeccably.

What are the types of insurance you offer to your employees?

Maridive does not only provide the social insurance, which is obligatory by law, but also provides some benefits on the company’s own cost.

I personally get involved when an incident happens to any of the crew (injury, death, or kidnapping) to compensate the employee and follow the appropriate precautions.

What is the most challenging aspect of your role in maridive and how do you overcome it?

My job actually is very interesting and very challenging. I am on call 24/7 as we have vessels in different time zones in the world. Insurance is to cover the risk when incidents happen, my role comes in. In the oil field, incidents are drastic. Several are challenging to be studied, reviewed, and justified to convince the insurers to compensate us.

Can you describe your experience of being a manager in an industry that is dominated by men?

In Egyptian culture, it is not that easy to be a woman with a voice to be heard. In Maridive, however, they assist, cooperate, and accept us, because being a female or a male at work is not an issue as long as you are doing your job. Some may be difficult at times, but the majority are very cooperative and accepting.

As a female, did you find it harder for you to climb the company’s hierarchy compared with your male counterparts?

It was quite difficult, to be frank. However, I can say that 95% of employees were accepting and helped me. The minority that opposed me being a director fortunately did not succeed.

It is a very different environment. You will not find many other companies offering such jobs to women. However, the culture here in Maridive is open-minded. They do not care about gender as long as the person is doing his or her job efficiently. They will make sure to fully support him or her regardless.


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