AIA Vietnam cements lead and serves the shift from saving to asset growth

November 08, 2021 | 16:38
The unprecedented growth in digital innovation, coupled with exceptionally diverse customer-centric products will become a crucial pillar for insurers. Ngo Phuong Anh, chief investment officer at AIA Vietnam, shared with VIR’s Luu Huong how AIA is tapping into the burgeoning middle class with fast-growing personal financial assets in Vietnam.
AIA Vietnam cements lead and serves the shift from saving to asset growth
Ngo Phuong Anh, chief investment officer at AIA Vietnam

How has the pandemic pushed digital agility in the insurance industry and AIA Vietnam?

The faster-spreading and more dangerous Delta variant of COVID-19 is negatively affecting the economy of the world and Vietnam, prompting many businesses to change their strategies.

Fortunately, as we enter the fourth quarter of 2021, Vietnam is settling into a new normal where people care more about health and financial solutions. This is an opportunity for AIA Vietnam to come back stronger. During social distancing, we have been working constantly to improve our services and digital platforms to optimise customer experience and simplify the working process for employees, agents, and partners.

For example, the Remote Sales Platform combined with AI applications has greatly supported our entire business process across all distribution channels, from agents to bancassurance, and has significantly reduced data processing time and enabled us to effectively work online without face-to-face meetings.

The MyAIA mobile application is an effective tool for customers to easily perform important functions related to the insurance contract. Just a short time after its launch, MyAIA has been accessed and used by more than 30,000 accounts.

For agents, iPOS 2 is an interactive business support system. With iPOS 2, the entire life insurance consulting process, recording customer information, consulting on insurance benefits can all be done on an iPad quickly, simply, and conveniently. In the coming time, applications will be developed for all mobile devices instead of only being available for iOS.

The massive investment we are making in technology enables our Life Advisors to do things faster and more effectively. Thanks to the application of technology, we confidently provide our Life Advisors with effective assistance to operate, helping them to expand the customer base without geographical limits or having to consider social distancing requirements. Previously, consulting and completing insurance application documents required consultants to hold face-to-face meetings with customers.

AIA Vietnam cements lead and serves the shift from saving to asset growth
Leading life insurer AIA Vietnam focuses on digital innovation and exceptional insurance products

What is AIA’s plan for Q4/2021? What initiatives would AIA Vietnam utilise to cement the insurer’s leading position?

We will keep up the pace of our digital transformation. The innovations on the digitalisation journey of AIA Vietnam are all aimed at bringing more interesting and convenient experiences to customers and users. We are not only focusing on the sales team but are also building an online ecosystem for customers where they can interact, carry out online transactions, and participate in prize-winning games. Most of the steps in our workflow are also done online, including recruitment, sales, training, skills testing, and customer service, among others.

To meet the increasing demand of the market and customers’ expectations, AIA Vietnam will be continuously upgrading. First are our products: AIA Vietnam targets to release many new products that can be tailored to a wide range of the customer needs. In the meantime, AIA Vietnam is actively implementing a new business model with a team ofLife Advisors. This is not only an opportunity for dynamic, technology-loving consultants who are interested in modern tools to develop their career paths, but also a channel for customers to easily approach our outstanding products online.

There is a growing trend of investment-linked insurance products. Can you share more about the opportunities and challenges that come with this type of product?

Investment-linked insurance products are a one-stop-shop flexible financial solution that both protects customers and allows them to invest in the financial market. I believe investment-linked insurance product will soon become one of AIA's flagship products, with huge opportunities that best fit with our advantages.

Satisfying customers’ unmet needs is always part of AIA's mission. To accumulate wealth, you need to make money, save money, and invest. Customers will need to make sure that their assets are protected against adverse health risk, before they can comfortably invest and the insurance part serves this purpose. Vietnamese people are used to making money and saving money. With the rise of the middle-income population in Vietnam in the last decade, customers' demand is shifting from saving to asset growth. There will be nothing to grow the asset better than investing.

I once heard that the 19th century belonged to Europe, the 20th century belonged to America, but the 21st century belongs to Asia, where you find the highest growth. When we speak of Asia, we often speak of Vietnam, one of the highest growth economies in the world. The financial market is the best place to capture this growth. Our investment-linked insurance product is just the right product for this, addressing the unmet needs of customers by providing protection while at the same time allowing customers to invest in Vietnam’s financial market to grow their wealth, especially in this low-interest environment.

AIA Vietnam is and continues to be a reliable partner. Our customers can be heard, answered, and advised about appropriate financial solutions that will bring them sustainable prosperity. Investment-linked insurance products complete our range of products and services.

However, nothing comes easy. We have had to work hard to overcome the challenges in the implementation of investment-linked insurance products and turn these challenges into driving forces for continuous improvement.

The first challenge is customers' fear of the unknown. When we spoke with them, they asked us hundreds of questions about risks, returns, and AIA's partner fund management companies, among others. Nothing speaks louder than results; however, through four years since the launch of our investment-linked insurance products, the return of these AIA investment-linked funds as well as the transparency of fund operation, and proven, dedicated, and fast customer service have convinced thousands of customers to trust AIA.

The second challenge comes from ourselves. AIA's sales force had to go through a learning curve when providing consultants for a new product, educating customers on the risk of investing in equity market, requiring the sales force a much deeper financial knowledge and keeping abreast of the economy and market movements. Through monthly and quarterly seminars, online training programmes, and experience sharing, we equip them with the necessary knowledge, reinforce the confidence and enthusiasm of our consulting team to bring useful appropriate solutions to each customer.

Another crucial challenge is approaching customers in effective ways. Diversifying distribution channels is also a solution to help us reach more customer groups.

Although having encountered many challenges, we believe once we earn customers' trust, it would present us with an enormous opportunity to grow together with customers.

AIA Vietnam cements lead and serves the shift from saving to asset growth

As the leading life insurance brand in Vietnam, how does AIA Vietnam plan to benefit from the current opportunities at hand?

Opportunities go with threats, such as the decrease in customer income due to the impact of the pandemic and the increase of inflation.

Nevertheless, according to a report from the insurance supervisory authority, in the first nine months of 2021, the insurance market still grew at a double-digit rate despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital transformation and technology investment helped reduce costs and increase revenue and competitiveness. Meanwhile, the expansion of the insurance distribution network also played an important role. Creating opportunities to support customers in proactively accessing insurance products is an opportunity for the growth of the insurance market.

Furthermore, people's awareness and understanding of insurance are improving and the impressive technological development that is applied in all stages of the industry value chain is an opportunity for this type of multi-channel distribution. It also creates a growth engine for the insurance industry in general.

As the leading life insurance brand, AIA Vietnam is actively deploying multi-channel product distribution in parallel with the development of technology and digital application on customer journeys.

Currently, bancassurance is a well-developed distribution channel, so in addition to expanding partnerships with banking partners, we are working with VP Bank, an exclusive partner for 15 years, to approach customers and provide interesting opportunities that meet their growing demand.

At the same time, as announced, we have signed a 10-year strategic partnership contract with Tiki – one of the leading e-commerce platforms in Vietnam, to jointly build and develop new products to reach millions of potential customers. This will surely create a leap for the vibrant life insurance market.

By taking advantage of multi-channel distribution and its pioneering position in technology, AIA Vietnam, in cooperation with its partners, will build long-term relations with customers and meet their increasing and diversified financial needs. Strategic cooperation with multiple partners effectively combines the experience and expertise in insurance of AIA Vietnam and the understanding of VP Bank and Tiki for customer needs. Therefore, customers’ experience of financial solutions, whether in person or online, will become more enjoyable, efficient, and reliable.

Ngo Phuong Anh, chief investment officer at AIA Vietnam

Ngo Phuong Anh has 18 years of work experience. She used to be portfolio manager at Vietcombank Fund Management and an auditor at KMPG before joining the AIA team.

She has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Investments, Banking & Finance at University of Wisconsin-Madison, US and a Master of Financial Economics at Gothenburg University, Sweden

She is a member of the CFA Australia Society.

By Luu Huong

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