Digitalisation drives transformation in Vietnam’s insurance sector

January 14, 2019 | 09:00
Vietnam’s life insurance is being re-defined and spurred by digital innovations. In the market, Manulife Vietnam is known as a pioneer in digitalisation, focusing on customer experience and offering better ways to do business. President and CEO of Manulife Financial Corporation Roy Gori talks to VIR’s Thu Ha about how the company is transforming the Vietnamese life insurance sector, the importance of digital transformation and how this will contribute to the country’s economy.
digitalisation drives transformation in vietnams insurance sector
Roy Gori took a business trip to Vietnam on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Canada. He had a meeting with the country’s State Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh in November 2018, discussing Manulife’s commitment to long-term investment and sustainable operations as well as its contribution to the Vietnamese economy.

How did Manulife perform in 2018 and what were the key priorities and achievements?

We’re excited about the progress we’ve made in 2018, both in terms of our performance and our transformation into the most digital, customer-centric global company in our industry. We’re focused on innovation, digitisation and driving operational efficiencies to ensure we remain competitive and to make it easier for customers to do business with us. Our focus has and will continue to be on execution of our five priorities: portfolio optimization, expense efficiency, accelerating growth, becoming a digital customer leader, and creating a high-performance team. We’ve also recently refreshed our brand to show an updated visual expression of the change we are driving.

Where does your passion and ambition for a strong ­customer experience come from?

At Manulife, we are focused on making decisions easier and lives better for our customers every day. We are passionate about customer experience and delivering on our mission to make things simple through innovation.

Manulife has had some impressive results in Vietnam when it comes to digital with the aim of enhancing customer experience. Is this the main reason for your particular visit?

Vietnam is an exciting market for Manulife, compelling enough that we hosted our Global Investor Day here in 2017. We were able to showcase the tremendous opportunities Vietnam has to offer and the work we are doing to transform into a digital, customer-centric market leader.

Our digitisation efforts are focused on delivering great experiences through the entire customer journey. We introduced e-claims last year, which allows customers to make medical claims via their smartphone in one minute. There is no need to submit paper receipts and the money is paid into their account the next day. We also introduced digital point of sales for agents, enabling a completely paperless sales transaction, including automated underwriting. By being a customer-centric organisation in an industry that is traditionally product-orientated, I’m confident we will continue to delight customers and drive strong growth.

digitalisation drives transformation in vietnams insurance sector

What are Manulife’s long-term plans in Vietnam in order to set a deeper footprint into the market?

We have been in Vietnam for 20 years, with a well-respected brand and a reputation for delighting our customers. But we’re just getting started and look forward to the tremendous opportunity that Vietnam has to offer.

We have expanded our footprint to 77 offices in more than 40 cities and provinces and have more than 800 employees and 33,000 agents to serve the growing demand. We are also proud to have been ranked “best place to work” in the Vietnam ­insurance industry in 2017.

With only 8 per cent of the population insured, Vietnam has the lowest insurance penetration rate in the ASEAN bloc. It also has the third-largest population in Southeast Asia, and a relatively young ­population. Our well-balanced ­distribution channels, growing agency force and long-term partnerships with our local bank partners, Saigon ­Commercial Bank and ­Techcombank, provide unique solutions to help our customers achieve their financial goals and will continue to do so.

Manulife recently launched a new set of values. Why these particular values, and will they be applied regionally or globally?

In May 2018, we asked all employees to join us in refreshing our values. This input was invaluable, and in the end all of this helped us to form six, bold values for us to live by – values that build on and celebrate what has made us great in the past, but also reflect the new world of work that will shape our future.

Our first value is to obsess about customers; making things simple for them is what we do. Next, we act with integrity and are proud that we always do the right thing. Third, we are bold and think big, believing that anything is possible. We also collaborate and get it done together, helping us achieve more and do it better. We have an “own it” mentality, empowering people to make decisions and take action. Finally, we share our humanity to build a supportive, diverse and thriving workplace. Together, these values serve to unite our people internally as we drive the transformation of our business into a digital, customer-centric market leader.

Apart from business, contribution into local community and society is also a key task for a global group like Manulife. How do you see Manulife contributing to society here?

As a global service company, we remain committed to the health and livelihoods of the communities we operate in. In Vietnam, the Manulife Danang International Marathon has been a powerful force in building a stronger, healthier society. By investing in the development, diversity and wellness of our employees, and partnering with community organizations to address societal challenges, we will together make the world a better place for the future.

You met with Vietnamese government leaders while you were last here in November 2018. Based on this, what opportunities do you see for Manulife in the Vietnamese market in the years to come?

To mark the 45th ­anniversary of diplomatic ­relations between Vietnam and Canada in 2018, I was fortunate to meet with ­Vietnamese State Vice President, Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh. We had the opportunity to talk about Manulife’s long-term commitment to the country and our plans for continued development in the life ­insurance industry.

We continue to invest in Vietnam and remain one of the biggest contributors to the economy in the financial services sector. We are proud to provide Vietnamese ­families with the best ­financial solutions, and are excited for the continued growth in such a fast growing market.

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