Sun Life now wholly foreign-owned

January 20, 2017 | 07:40
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PVI-Sun Life has recently made the switch to Sun Life Vietnam, a 100 per cent foreign-owned subsidiary of Canadian life insurance company Sun Life Financial, aligning with the parent firm’s global strategy to better serve Vietnamese customers.


This week, Sun Life Vietnam is launching a series of grand opening ceremonies, combined with its distribution kick-off events in major cities throughout Vietnam.

The series of events will officially mark the debut of the Sun Life Vietnam brand to the general public after Sun Life Financial Inc. acquired the remaining 25 per cent charter capital of PVI Sun Life Insurance Company Limited from PVI Holdings on November 7, 2016. The company’s new name, Sun Life Vietnam Insurance Company Limited, reflects its current status as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sun Life.

Launched in 2013, Sun Life Vietnam has established itself as a market leader and industry pioneer in pensions. According to Larry Madge, CEO of Sun Life Vietnam, the leadership of the company is working hard to align not only the look and feel but also the core competence of Sun Life Vietnam with Sun Life Financial Group.

“This transaction will add to Sun Life’s momentum in Vietnam,” Madge said. “Being a full member of Sun Life Financial Group, Sun Life Vietnam is well positioned to leverage financial strength as well as the over-150-year financial services expertise of the group.”

Strategy-wise, Sun Life Vietnam will continue with a distribution strategy covering individual and group employee benefits through agency and corporate sales channels.

On the one hand, the company will maintain its strength in retirement products with PVI as its distribution partner, and develop partnerships with other distribution partners who have access to unique markets. On the other hand, Sun Life will develop the agency channel for individual sales as one of its strategic priorities.

For individual insurance in Vietnam, the agency channel has long been the dominant outlet for most life insurers. However, high agency turnover and rampant poaching adversely affect the sustainable development of the industry. Sun Life Vietnam will apply Sun Life Financial’s MRA model, which is a time-tested and highly effective agency strategy applied across the firm’s operations in Asia to build a high-quality, highly productive agency force.

MRA stands for “Most Respected Agency”. Sun Life Vietnam aims to build an agency force which is the most respected within the industry - and most importantly, in the eyes of clients. For a Sun Life advisor, MRA means putting clients’ interests first and living by four MRA core values: being caring, professional, inspiring, and winning.

The “caring” aspect can be seen in the way the MRA takes care of and understands its clients, to offer them financial solutions meeting their changing needs at different life stages.

The “professional” facet provides credibility and trust. Sun Life Vietnam ensures its MRA representatives are professional, by applying a well-defined recruitment process and career path together with product knowledge and professional accreditation.

The “inspiring” side is related to engagement and excitement. The company provides a supportive and motivating workplace to help its advisors achieve leading roles in industry groups. Finally, the “winning” factor is related to performance excellence and ultimately market leadership.

“We have defined 12 cross-country metrics to track progress building the MRA. These core values are embedded into our agency operations,” said Madge. “In sum, MRA is one of Sun Life’s top strategic priorities. We are convinced that our MRA strategy will yield huge benefits to all our advisors, and most importantly, to our clients and the market as a whole.”

Brighter life for local patrons

Though the market is still small and people’s awareness about insurance is still far lower than that in mature markets, Vietnam holds a lot of potential.

The total premium income of life insurance companies in Vietnam was VND49.67 trillion ($2.23 billion) in 2016, up 29.8 per cent on-year, according to data by the Insurance Supervisory Agency under the Ministry of Finance. In the past three years, growth has averaged 30 per cent.

“I believe that the strong growth of Vietnam’s life market doesn’t come all of a sudden, but as the collective result of all the key macro- and micro-economic factors,” Madge said. “Learning more about Vietnam, I am personally quite optimistic about the life market and excited that Sun Life Vietnam will be accelerating its investment in the market to help bring improved finance security to more Vietnamese people.”

According to Madge, these impressive figures mean that Vietnamese people have an increasing awareness of the importance of having financial solutions for them and their families.

“The future development of Vietnam’s life insurance market lies in growing the needs of customers. People will only be interested in life insurance if we can help them understand that our solutions can fulfil their needs, not only once but also at different life stages of their life time,” Madge said. He added that this dynamic highlights the importance of Sun Life’s “Brighter Life” approach, which involves keeping clients for life, rather than just going for a product sale.

With its “Brighter Life” model, Sun Life delivers outcomes that matters to a client’s life. These include the right type of insurance, impressive investment results, sound financial planning advice, support in returning to work after an illness, and most importantly, peace of mind.

“We will make it easier for clients to do business with us, we will increase our proactive contact, and we will resolve problems better. By doing so, clients will stay longer, buy more, and refer more business to us,” Madge explained.

In Vietnam, likewise, the company’s aim is to help Vietnamese clients achieve lifetime financial security by offering a strong suite of life insurance, health, and savings products.

As a full member of Sun Life Financial, Sun Life Vietnam is now well positioned to adopt and leverage the “Brighter Life” strategy for sustainable growth according to Madge.

“With over 70 years of experience in pensions, savings, and retirement funds, our expertise in retirement insurance is unique and time-tested. This is a solid base for Sun Life Vietnam to move ahead on, as an industry pioneer and a market leader of this type of insurance,” he said. “We will continue to leverage our hereditary strength, utilise local market insights, and build on our track record in Vietnam’s market to enhance our footing in this market .”

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organisation providing a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporate clients. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Bermuda. As of September 30, 2016, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of CDN$908 billion ($685.98 billion).

By By Hong Anh

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