Toi See Jong on Pri­ori­tis­ing CSR

Insurance - - FORSIDE - In­ter­viewed by Kashini Kr­ish­na­murthy

MR. TOI SEE JONG, CEO OF TOKIO MARINE LIFE IN­SURANCE MALAYSIA BER­HAD SITS DOWN WITH US ON THE IM­POR­TANCE OF GIV­ING BACK TO ITS COM­MU­NITY AND THE COMPANY’S

PLANS TO HELP EVEN MORE IN THE COM­ING MONTHS.

QHow is business per­for­mance in 2014? For YTD Sept 2014, business grew by 20% com­pared to same pe­riod last year. For FY 2013, growth is 9% over 2012. As at 2Q 2014, Our company is ranked 7th in the in­dus­try. We will con­tinue to fo­cus on in­vest­ment-linked busi­nesses, which have grown two fold in 2013. A majority of our in­vest­ment-linked funds not only posted pos­i­tive re­turns but de­liv­ered re­turns that ex­ceeded their bench­mark. a) The company is mov­ing to­wards “E” ini­tia­tive i.e. be more cus­tomer-cen­tric fo­cus, thus im­prov­ing cus­tomer’s sat­is­fac­tion. The fo­cus is on ef­fec­tive use of tech­nol­ogy to im­prove our ef­fi­ciency and serve cus­tomers bet­ter – i.e is­suance of first e-pol­icy, im­ple­men­ta­tion of ePay­ment and au­to­ma­tion of MiCares ap­pli­ca­tion; im­ple­men­ta­tion of the call cen­tre by year end; and to invest in tech­nol­ogy to at­tract Gen-Y to join Tokio Marine Life as a ca­reer agent. We will also be pro­vid­ing An­droid-based tablets for esub­mis­sion of poli­cies for their cus­tomers. This helps to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment as the process is pa­per­less. b) Sub­se­quently we have launched in­no­va­tive prod­ucts for both chan­nels dur­ing the year. Our cur­rent top sell­ing prod­ucts are Tokio Marine More (wealth ac­cu­mu­la­tion) and I Pro­tect Plus (pro­tec­tion) and ESV Plus (IL prod­uct for bank part­ner). In­vest­ment-linked prod­ucts are pro­moted as Tokio Marine funds and it pro­vide good in­vest­ment re­turns. The tar­get is to achieve 50% sales con­tri­bu­tion from In­vest­ment-Linked prod­ucts in the long run. Cur­rent life in­surance prod­ucts in the pipe­line in­clude An­nu­ity and early stage Crit­i­caI Ill­ness to meet our dis­cern­ing cus­tomers. Tokio Marine Life con­tin­ues to en­hance med­i­cal prod­ucts to en­sure ad­e­quate wel­fare to the pol­i­cy­hold­ers. c) We also have big plans to launch in­ter­net in­surance in the near fu­ture. In line with the spirit of this Frame­work, Tokio Marine Life will be in­tro­duc­ing in­ter­net in­surance to Malaysians, giv­ing those who do not have an in­surance cov­er­age, a life in­surance pro­tec­tion.

Bank Ne­gara Malaysia has is­sued the con­cept pa­per on the Life In­surance and Fam­ily Taka­ful Frame­work, which com­prised ini­tia­tives to support a higher level of in­surance and taka­ful pen­e­tra­tion.

Th­ese ini­tia­tives will pro­vide life in­sur­ers and taka­ful op­er­a­tors flex­i­bil­ity to in­no­vate and reach higher pro­duc­tiv­ity.

In meet­ing the ob­jec­tive of this frame­work, Tokio Marine Life will be in­tro­duc­ing in­ter­net in­surance to Malaysians, giv­ing those who do not have an in­surance cov­er­age, a life in­surance pro­tec­tion.

The main sell­ing point of in­ter­net in­surance is af­ford­abil­ity. From as low as RM10 per month, one could get an in­surance cov­er­age at a click of a but­ton. It is sim­ple, fast and pa­per­less as an e-pol­icy will be is­sued. Tokio Marine Life is the un­der­writer for this new chan­nel of dis­tri­bu­tion. Tokio Marine will be look­ing to con­tinue to grow our agency force with the aim to achieve net man­power growth to 3,200 by year end. In four years’ time we want to pro­duce a strong and pro­duc­tive agency force of 5,000 fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors. This is an op­por­tu­nity to suc­ceed as a fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor with Tokio Marine Life - we have over 65 years ex­pe­ri­ence in Malaysia in pro­vid­ing in­no­va­tive fi­nan­cial so­lu­tions based on best global prac­tices and in-depth knowl­edge of lo­cal mar­ket re­quire­ments.

QWhat im­pact has the new Bud­get on their 2015 strate­gies? The in­dus­try has is­sued a mem­o­ran­dum to the Na­tional Bud­get Con­sul­ta­tion 2015 on the re­quest for split in cur­rent tax de­duc­tions for life in­surance (in­stead of com­bi­na­tion of EPF and life in­surance); and also in­crease the tax re­lief from RM 3,000 to RM 6,000 for med­i­cal and ed­u­ca­tion pre­mi­ums. If this sug­ges­tion is ap­proved, we can ex­pect to see higher business growth next year. Gen­er­ally life in­surance falls un­der the ex­empt sup­ply cat­e­gory for GST, ie no GST will be levied on life in­surance pre­mi­ums. How­ever, cer­tain prod­ucts sold by life in­sur­ers that would not have any life as­sur­ance el­e­ments, falls within the scope of GST tax­able sup­ply and will be sub­ject to stan­dard rated GST of 6%. Ex­am­ple of those non-life prod­ucts would be prod­ucts that pro­vide cover for med­i­cal, ac­ci­dent and crit­i­cal ill­ness. Con­sumers pur­chas­ing th­ese will be pay­ing 6% GST. Most of our life in­surance claims do not fall un­der the scope of tax­able sup­ply and it should not be af­fected by the GST, save for those med­i­cal re­lated. We are still as­sess­ing the fi­nal po­si­tion of GST on our hos­pi­tal bills and as­sess­ing the quantum of GST im­pact.

QWhat are the strate­gies for 2015? In 2015, we would con­tinue to fo­cus on IL business. We have in­vested a lot of ef­fort on the in­fra­struc­ture for the dis­trib­u­tors to sell IL prod­ucts and we wish to see pos­i­tive growth from this business. The company will fo­cus to im­prove agency’s pro­duc­tiv­ity and ac­tiv­ity with em­pha­sis on qual­ity re­cruit­ment. We will also re­cruit Gen-Y agents who will ex­plore the mar­ket of young peo­ple. We aim to in­no­vate our prod­uct suite, in­clud­ing con­tin­u­ing our ex­pan­sion of Ac­ci­den­tal and Health prod­uct range and im­ple­ment re­gional brand­ing ex­er­cise be­gin­ning 2015. To res­onate with cus­tomers, our new brand cam­paign is about “Mak­ing Progress Per­sonal”. Our ad­ver­tise­ments will be skewed to­wards our cus­tomers when they look for a brand that cham­pi­ons their as­pi­ra­tions.

QCan you share what is Tokio Marine Life CSR ac­tiv­ity? Con­tribut­ing to Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity (CSR) is in line with the vi­sion of Tokio Marine Group CSR Char­ter i.e. to achieve sus­tain­able growth, to­gether with the so­ci­ety. We re­spect the di­ver­sity of the cul­tures and cus­toms in the coun­tries we op­er­ate in and we aim to con­trib­ute ac­tively to so­ci­ety in re­sponse to needs of the com­mu­ni­ties that we choose to work with. Re­cently we started our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Make-A-Wish® Malaysia, a non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion to bring hope, strength and joy to the chil­dren with life-threat­en­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions. Some of the past CSR ac­tiv­i­ties com­pleted are vis­it­ing old folks home in con­junc­tion with Hari Raya; beach clean­ing and na­ture con­ser­va­tion i.e. throw­ing mud balls into Pu­lau Pangkor and Port Dick­son; vis­it­ing homes of schizophre­nia pa­tients at Sk­i­zor­fre­nia Malaysia and rais­ing funds for un­der­priv­i­leged homes.

QHow does Tokio Marine Life drive its CSR ac­tiv­i­ties? Glob­ally, we share a sin­gle vi­sion – to be a “Good Company”. As a life in­surance company, we al­ways seek what lies beyond profit, that is to say we al­ways give the ben­e­fit to our cus­tomers, business part­ners and so­ci­ety.

We are build­ing a cor­po­rate cul­ture that is based around the pur­suit of Good Company, both through in­ter­nal re­flec­tion and our ac­tions. Via the plat­form ‘Em­power Our Peo­ple’, we in­spire en­gage­ment and pas­sion in all our em­ploy­ees to get in­volved in a mul­ti­tude of CSR pro­grammes. Hav­ing our em­ploy­ees and agents in CSR ac­tiv­i­ties will make us think what “Good Company” means to us. What is the pur­pose and sig­nif­i­cance of our work? What type of re­la­tion­ships should we have with our so­ci­ety? It is not just a con­cept that we want to iden­tify our­selves with but to make it a re­al­ity.

QWhat other CSR ac­tiv­i­ties that are be­ing driven? Pro­tec­tion of the Global En­vi­ron­ment is also a key CSR pro­gram driven at Group level. Tokio Marine Group is ac­tive in the con­ser­va­tion of man­grove trees in Malaysia. Man­grove trees are not only es­sen­tial in help­ing to pre­vent global warm­ing by ab­sorb­ing large vol­umes of CO2 but also serve as pro­tec­tion against tsunamis. Through a Man­grove Plant­ing Project with the Sabah For­est Depart­ment which is funded by the Tokio Marine Group, a to­tal of 152 hectares of man­groves have been re­ha­bil­i­tated since 2011. Vol­un­teers from high school stu­dents and Tokio Marine Group staff also par­tic­i­pated in the plant­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. We aim to con­tinue this project for 100 years. Other coun­tries where this Man­grove Plant­ing Project is im­ple­mented is In­done­sia, Thai­land, The Philip­pines, Myan­mar, Viet­nam, In­dia, Bangladesh and Fiji. To date, a to­tal 7,993 hectares of new for­est has been planted and 84,000 tons of CO2 has been ab­sorbed. The Tokio Marine Group ac­tively pro­motes the de­vel­op­ment of young peo­ple in the lo­cal com­mu­nity. In Malaysia, Tokio Marine Life has been sup­port­ive of Olympic Coun­cil of Malaysia, spon­sor­ing Malaysian Con­tin­gents to the 2014 Com­mon­wealth and Asian Games in­clud­ing the up­com­ing 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. We are proud to be as­so­ci­ated with OCM as the Of­fi­cial Life In­surance Part­ner for 3 years un­til De­cem­ber 2016. This year we are also the ma­jor spon­sor for the Na­tional Can­cer Coun­cil of Malaysia (MAKNA) in their char­ity run, rais­ing funds for the NGO.

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