‘Just the thought for cus­tomers and this is part of our magic’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - HK BUSINESS - By LIN WENJIE in Hong Kong cher­rylin@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

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.

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