To The Next Level
Our cover story and interview in this issue is with Manmohan Abdullah, Chairman of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) in Malaysia. Awareness of the organisation and its membership has been growing in Malaysia as Manmohan points out in the interview. In many ways, MDRT is seen as the standard setter because only the high achievers are eligible for membership. It is a catalyst for improving agent training and improving agent professionalism. The better trained and experienced the agents are, the greater their sales delivery and ethical outlook, which results in their eligibility to join the MDRT. Manmohan’s view on the level of education of agents is also enlightening, he says that if he could have his way, he would like to increase the minimum education requirements in the insurance industry. It is good to see bodies such as the MDRT joining the rest of the industry to push the bar higher. Ultimately, sustained success only comes through constantly improving standards to the next level. Raising standards usually means change and this is true both in soft areas such as educational standards as well as the hard profitability areas. To enable a higher standard of profitability, Raja Ahmad Khiruddin bin Raja Hizadin, suggests in his article on portfolio balance, “Dependence on 80% of motor insurance business premiums as our main product revenue should be the practice of the past. The insurers now should make attempts to readdress the high motor insurance ratio.” Reading between the lines, he is asking why spend resources trying to do more of a lessprofitable business when there are profitable areas to concentrate on. A basic question, which to answer often requires a sea of change in corporate direction and policy. This is an article with a very important message. I had written in the last issue that we would analyse the Finance Sector Blueprint that was issued late last year by Bank Negara Malaysia. There are significant implications for the insurance industry and we have decided to wait and see how some of the general objectives of the Blueprint start to take practical shape as they roll out. We will report on these progressively during the year. The Focus section in this issue focuses on medical insurance. As the government carries out its comprehensive review of the healthcare system in the country, the financing of improved services is becoming a central issue. Without a doubt health insurance will play a significant role in the 1Care framework that is being developed.