‘Just the thought for customers and this is part of our magic’
It’s been almost a year since Winnie Wong C hishun became chief executive officer of Asia Insurance Ltd, bringing to it a wealth of experience from other insurance enterprises she had headed in the past.
Before joining the company last year, she was CEO at insurance giant Aon Risk Solutions Hong Kong, having been associated with insurance and risk management consultancy for more than two decades.
Wong began her career in the 1990s as a group management trainee at Swire Pacific Group, where she worked in the insurance division before switching to the Risk Management Department of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.
In her view, an insurance company ’s success lies in four key aspects — a stable, professional and committed team, loyal and satisfied cus- tomers, efficient and effective workflow and a sound distribution network.
She believes that to get a faithful team in place, the leader has to set the pace. A positive mindset, a can-do attitude, and being humble and keen on life-long learning are the characteristics she expects of a good leader.
“We meet challenges and obstacles every day, so keeping a positive mindset is very important when facing challenges. A can-do attitude is the solution to the problems we encounter. Just like the proposal I put to the Financial Services Development Council, if we don’t try, we’ll lose our competitiveness. So, I encourage my colleagues to come up with recommendations or suggestions to improve workflow.”
Managing a team of more than 200 staff in Hong Kong and Macao, Wong is firmly committed to team work. “No one is perfect and everyone has limited capacity, so I and my colleagues always work closely to make sure we can complement each other,” she stresses.
To foster customer loyalty, Asia Insurance attaches great importance to claims management services and client education. For corporate clients who know the insurance products very well, they need an efficient and effective claims procedure, but for customers who are not so familiar with what the insurance covers, the company educates them first.
“Insurance is people business, so part of our job is to educate clients about why they need insurance, and how to arrange proper insurance. We have tailor-made products for our clients, so we need to get them wellinformed of what the insurance covers beforehand. Only after they are well-versed with the essence of insurance, will there be no misunderstanding between us. If customers are satisfied, they will refer new clients to us.”
Asia Insurance’s thought- ful ser vices and comprehensive product range have helped the company keep many long-term loyal customers. But, distribution channels are as important as services and products in developing a business, says Wong.
“We have a wide distribution network, including local agents, local and international brokers and banks. We also have branches in Macao, Taiwan and Shenzhen. In Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia and Laos, we also have presence via our long-term local partners,” she notes, stressing that the company will continue to explore new distribution channels and upgrade products.
Established in 1959, Asia Insurance has been in Hong Kong for close to 60 years. It focuses on selling corporate life insurance, as well as general insurance instead of individual life insurance. As the city’s largest general insurer in terms of underwriting profit, the company’s performance has been stable and healthy in recent years.
As of December 31 last year, Asia Insurance’s total assets stood at HK$6 billion, with a solvency ratio of above 1,300 percent. Underwriting profit grew 31 percent to HK$211 million compared with that of 2015, while gross premiums soared 10 percent to HK$1.3 billion.
D i ff e r e n t f r o m o t h e r industry players which stress top-line growth, Asia Insurance emphasizes underwriting profit, which is the premium earned after losses and administrative expenses are covered or deducted. It does not include any investment income earned on held premiums.
“We measure performance based on underwriting profit instead of top-line growth. It’s easy to achieve top-line growth if you cut prices significantly. Many companies eschew underwriting profit in order to gain a greater market share, but that’s not the way we work,” says Wong.
Winnie Wong Chi-shun, CEO of Asia Insurance Ltd Winnie Wong Chi-shun, CEO of Asia Insurance Ltd, aims to turn Hong Kong into a regional insurance hub, while striving to correct the industry’s image among young people.