Day in the life: Oversight on inheritance
Leena Parwani set up Icare Consulting last year, providing insurance packages for high-net-worth individuals and families. Ms Parwani, 36, has two children; a son, aged seven, and a 14-year-old daughter with Down’s syndrome. One area her company specialises in is providing insurance for families with special needs children.
I like to start the day happy. I see my kids off to school, then four days a week I go to the gym. But I’m no fitness freak.
I leave my home off Al Wasl Road in Dubai. While driving, I listen to positive speakers and stories about successful people. I follow a magazine called Success that comes with a CD I listen to every day. I’m from a small town in India, but always had big dreams. When I moved to Dubai in 2004, I started as an HR assistant at Al Futtaim Group. I always believed in investing in learning so I’ve moved up fast wherever I’ve worked.
I arrive in my Jumeirah Lakes Towers office and start client meetings. My team of three and I divide our days into focus days, buffer days and free days, based on learning I’ve gained from industry experts. On focus days [like today], we focus on upcoming sales meetings and any-thing that affects my revenue. On once-a-week buffer days, I ensure I don’t have many meetings and read or develop a new skill instead. I have free days at weekends when I keep away from the phone and laptop, and dedicate myself to the kids. I am strict with my time management system.
We have a weekly staff meeting where I get updated on new projects. We offer customised protection in areas such as family estate planning, wealth creation, income protection, life insurance, pensions and education. Everybody has different reasons for requiring insurance and I learn something from everyone. Lunch is a home-made salad, eaten in 10 minutes.
I have three client meetings a day, mostly out of the office. My main project is providing insurance for families with special needs, something close to my heart because of my daughter. When volunteering at a hospital, I met a single mum with a special needs child who was also taking care of her sick father. She’d never planned for who would take care of her daughter if she was not around. It’s a different process for those with special needs kids. Raising a special needs child is more expensive. You need a proper will, a guardian appointed, and life insurance in place. Not many families can afford savings, but a tiny amount towards life insurance can help.
Another meeting. Seventy per cent of those I meet are self-made millionaires who need to protect their assets for the next generation. We do estate planning so they can secure their assets and create more liquidity, making them even richer.
The final meeting finishes. A wealthy client with two sons and a daughter recently told me: “everything of mine is in my business, which will be continued by my sons”. He had US$50 million of assets that would go to his sons and was leaving $1m cash to his daughter. I persuaded him to put together a life insurance policy so equal amounts would go to each child.
I return to the office to sift through emails. When I’m meeting clients for the first time, they worry because they think I’m coming to sell them something. That’s not the case – I write down their situations and only then can I decide whether they really need my services.
My daughter is very excited when I come home. She shows me what she’s done that day. I look after the children’s studies and eat dinner with them.
Four evenings a week I attend networking events to meet new people and get references for my business. I only go for 90 minutes because I don’t want it to affect the next day’s schedule.
I read for half an hour and do the next day’s to-do list. I have eight to 10 items on the list every day, and prioritise three things I have to finish. If there are less activities, I’ll add more. As long as I’m busy, I love my day. I’m asleep by 11.30pm.
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Updated: May 30, 2015 04:00 AM