Jens Reisch

Leads Al­lianz Malaysia into the top spot

Insurance - - FORSIDE - In­ter­viewed by Kashini Kr­ish­na­murthy

QTell us a lit­tle about your ca­reer thus far and why you chose the in­sur­ance in­dus­try. I started out at the ten­der age of 17 years at an ap­pren­tice­ship in in­sur­ance and fi­nance. Hail­ing from Stuttgart, it was un­com­mon for me to ven­ture away from au­to­mo­biles but this is pre­cisely what I did. I also wanted to do some­thing non tech­ni­cal. I did var­i­ous things through­out the ap­pren­tice­ship that in­cluded coach­ing ten­nis in the evenings be­fore I re­al­ized it was time to buckle down and get se­ri­ous. I started in Al­lianz in 1983 and have been on board ever since. I was priv­i­leged enough to be one of the few to be re­cruited into global train­ing pro­gram which brought me to In­done­sia for six months. I then re­turned to In­done­sia as the Di­rec­tor of Sales & Mar­ket­ing. A few years later, I went back to Ger­many as a Branch Man­ager for a sales re­gion and ul­ti­mately I was cho­sen to yet again re­turn to In­done­sia as the CEO of In­done­sia which then made me Coun­try Head. A ma­jor top tier reshuf­fle brought me to the shores of Kuala Lumpur in late 2010 as CEO of Al­lianz Malaysia.

QWhat are your key lead­er­ship prin­ci­ples? Have they worked for you in South East Asia? A win­ning cul­ture where ev­ery­one en­joys com­ing to work each day is some­thing that I have brought with me through­out my cul­ture and it ap­plies to both my­self and my team. I be­lieve in open and trans­par­ent com­mu­ni­ca­tion in an en­vi­ron­ment where ev­ery­one is open and en­thu­si­as­tic to change. I’ve also come to re­al­ize that there is a high will­ing­ness within Asia to learn, com­mit and en­gage. This has added a lot of depth to our teams in al­ways push­ing bound­aries and adopt­ing a ‘can do’ at­ti­tude which is syn­ony­mous with a win­ning cul­ture.

QHow does Al­lianz Malaysia stand apart from its com­peti­tors in the Malaysian mar­ket? We are rel­a­tively new to the Malaysian mar­ket, only hav­ing ar­rived in 2002. We just re­cently cel­e­brated our 10th an­niver­sary of the Al­lianz brand in Malaysia and we are ex­tremely grate­ful to have been very suc­cess­ful this past decade. We started small in the gen­eral in­sur­ance mar­ket and are now the lead­ers with 1.9 bil­lion ring­git while our life in­sur­ance is placed 5th in the coun­try with 1.5 bil­lion ring­git and we have a col­lab­o­ra­tive cus­tomer base of over 2.8 mil­lion. Al­lianz is a strong brand but we haven’t reached the peak of be­ing es­tab­lished in Malaysia and it may be be­cause of our num­ber of years here. How­ever, we have to­day a very wide net­work with over 40 branches na­tion­wide. We also have more than 6000 agents in gen­eral in­sur­ance and 7000 agents in life in­sur­ance as well as mul­ti­ple part­ner­ships with CIMB, HSBC, Pos Malaysia, car deal­er­ships and bro­kers cre­at­ing var­i­ous gate­ways for our cus­tomers to con­nect with us. We are con­stantly striv­ing to­wards an ideal po­si­tion where we can lever­age on in­no­va­tion, ex­pe­ri­ence and rep­u­ta­tion. We are in a very strong po­si­tion in my opin­ion.

QIn your opin­ion, how does the lo­cal mar­ket com­pare with mar­kets you have pre­vi­ously worked in, In­done­sia for ex­am­ple? The Malaysian mar­ket is unique and highly reg­u­lated mar­ket by Bank Ne­gara Malaysia that is con­stantly driv­ing cus­tomer con­sumer pro­tec­tion. Strong EPF also pro­vides a good op­por­tu­nity to save for re­tire­ment where Al­lianz Malaysia pro­vides means to com­pli­ment these sit­u­a­tions or cir­cum­stances. Taka­ful prod­ucts that ap­ply to the large Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion also make Malaysia a very unique and di­verse mar­ket not only in the re­gion but in the world. There is also quite a con­stant change and drive for lib­er­al­iza­tion. The reg­u­la­tors keep us busy in catch­ing up with strength­en­ing frame­works for con­sumers and pro­fes­sion­al­iz­ing and cap­i­tal­iz­ing our in­dus­try to make sure that we have the best talent which in­cludes bring­ing talent back into Malaysia. There is still low pen­e­tra­tion for in­sur­ance in this mar­ket and we can see steady growth. There are many parts of Europe where I come from where mar­kets are strug­gling with growth, un­em­ploy­ment and low in­ter­est rates. So for Al­lianz Malaysia, I am happy that we are see­ing growth in Malaysia.

QHow is Al­lianz Malaysia look­ing to in­clude the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of Gen Y-ers into its busi­ness model? We are a very young com­pany and I have to say that 50% of our em­ploy­ees do be­long to the Gen Y pop­u­la­tion. We have an aver­age age of staff that is about 32 years old and also our agents and new cus­tomers tend to be rel­a­tively young. As a leading in­sur­ance group, we have to cater to ev­ery­one but the Gen Y is a par­tic­u­lar chal­lenge and op­por­tu­nity

The Malaysian mar­ket is unique and highly reg­u­lated mar­ket by Bank Ne­gara Malaysia that is con­stantly driv­ing cus­tomer con­sumer pro­tec­tion.

for us. We have to cater dif­fer­ent age groups and dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties with dif­fer­ent forms of con­nec­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Al­lianz Malaysia has a strong so­cial me­dia fol­low­ing and an­other area is the job mar­ket. We see the op­por­tu­nity of bring­ing more Gen Yers into the busi­ness. It’s un­der­stand­able that this gen­er­a­tion and the older must adapt with one an­other but there are vast op­por­tu­ni­ties in terms of em­ploy­ment and widen­ing our cus­tomer base.

QAl­lianz is known to en­gage in CSR ac­tiv­i­ties, why is this es­sen­tial to the busi­ness and what can the pub­lic look for­ward to in the com­ing months? Al­lianz is an in­ter­na­tional and leading player in the in­sur­ance and fi­nan­cial ser­vices mar­ket so it is a cor­po­rate prin­ci­ple of ours to be a good cor­po­rate cit­i­zen. We find that busi­ness is more than just your top line and bot­tom line. CSR is a method of sus­tain­abil­ity and it’s im­por­tant in

We find that busi­ness is more than just your top line and bot­tom line. CSR is a method of sus­tain­abil­ity and it’s im­por­tant in to­day’s age of how we achieve our profit and suc­cesses.

to­day’s age of how we achieve our profit and suc­cesses. As a pub­lic listed com­pany, I am proud that we are not only a good per­form­ing com­pany in re­gards to fi­nan­cial per­for­mance but we are also a good cred­i­ble com­pany in terms of sus­tain­abil­ity. We strive on good cor­po­rate gov­er­nance and trans­parency to be a good cor­po­rate cit­i­zen. In 2011, we set up a depart­ment ded­i­cated to CSR and sus­tain­abil­ity where I have a team that re­ports di­rectly to me. We have a very com­pre­hen­sive Sus­tain­abil­ity Re­port which is fea­tured in our an­nual re­port and this also fol­lows closely the pro­grams and cam­paigns that we run through­out the year and their ef­fec­tive­ness at giv­ing back to com­mu­ni­ties and the en­vi­ron­ment in gen­eral. Un­der the CSR um­brella, we are try­ing to com­bine our busi­ness strengths to see how we

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