FWD leading bancassurance evolution

April 25, 2022 | 15:59
FWD Vietnam Life Insurance Co., Ltd., one of the fastest-growing groups in this segment’s market, is digitalising its business with a solid strategy of developing diversified, simple, and suitable products for customers. VIR’s Binh An talked with Huynh Thanh Phong, FWD’s CEO and executive director, on the insurer’s strategy to become one of the first digital bancassurance businesses in Vietnam.
FWD leading bancassurance evolution
FWD leading bancassurance evolution

As an expert with years of experience in the bancassurance sector, what significant changes have you recognised in the sector in the past few years?

The bancassurance sector has achieved good growth over the past few years at around 30 per cent. We have seen the rise of many large-scale and long-term partnerships in recent years. Major banks in Vietnam consider bancassurance as an indispensable strategy to improve their competitive advantage.

Both banks and insurers have heavily invested in digital technology, resulting in major breakthroughs for customers and the industry. There will be greater competitiveness in the industry but that will also lead to better services provided to customers.

FWD leading bancassurance evolution
Huynh Thanh Phong, FWD’s CEO and executive director

In a bancassurance partnership, is the bank is in a better position than the insurer?

I don’t think so. A successful and long-lasting partnership has to be based on a win-win strategy for both sides. Additionally, the partnership must bring tangible value to customers, which is what we aim for. With our bancassurance model and the omnichannel’s benefits, we can cover the different financial needs of customers, such as savings, credit, investment, and insurance – all are met at once.

Bancassurance is contributing to the insurance business, and many insurers are effectively exploiting this channel to stay ahead of their competitors. Bancassurance also boosts the bank’s performance by providing better services for its customers. It’s an important partnership model in the financial industry around the world, bringing great benefits to insurance companies, banks, customers, and the whole economy.

After more than five years of implementing bancassurance, where does FWD stand on the Vietnamese bancassurance map?

FWD partners with some of the largest banks in Vietnam with diverse customer networks. Since entering Vietnam, achieving such meaningful bancassurance partnerships was a great start for us.

Our partnership with Vietcombank has cemented our position in Vietnam. In the early stages of the partnership, we faced many challenges due to the pandemic, but what we have achieved in the past two years is significant. Given our focus on quality in the early days and our priority on digital bancassurance development, we’ve been able to bring fast and convenient experiences to customers and achieve outstanding growth at the same time.

However, this was only the beginning, and we remain confident and committed to our development strategy to lead the bancassurance industry in the next few years, and at the same time, accomplish our vision to change the way people feel about insurance.

What factors do you think will help FWD lead the Vietnamese bancassurance sector?

FWD has the advantage of a quick digital adoption compared to traditional insurance institutions because we are legacy-light. We challenge the status quo, generate new ideas, and bring them to life quickly and nimbly.

In addition to a leading digital ecosystem, we’re very proud of our FWD Clarity project which transforms complex policy literature into layman’s terms for customers to really understand the products they have purchased. Our growth is underpinned by our culture of continuous innovation, our capacity for decision-making without layers of bureaucracy, as well as modern, streamlined infrastructure and systems that were built with minimal legacy.

This helps us to make the insurance journey simpler, faster, and smoother for customers. We’re present wherever our customers are.

Another important factor is our people. We have a talented and experienced team that is always willing to make changes to create new values for us and our customers.

FWD leading bancassurance evolution
FWD is lucky to have a talented and experienced team

FWD has diverse bank partners. Will this cause any challenges for the relatively young insurer?

FWD has a light legacy, which we consider one of our strengths. We’re flexible and adapt quickly to the changes in the market and the needs of customers, whether in urban or rural areas. We listen to our partners as each of them has their own development strategy, targeted customer group, and needs specific insurance products that are tailored to their customers. That’s why we diversify our insurance product portfolio and create unique products for each of our bank partners.

We listen and talk to our financial service consultants at different branches of our bank partners. These are the people who directly meet, advise, and take care of our customers. Their feedback provides us with valuable insights to constantly improve the quality of our customer care.

When implementing a bancassurance partnership, customer service is always a concern. What has FWD done to assure the quality of its customer service?

FWD is a digitally-enabled insurer and data analytics is at the core of our strategy for each of our processes. We’re using this data in several ways to create tangible value for customers, whether that’s on-boarding or claims. We’re now achieving claims payments with just a handful of clicks for some products.

Ultimately, our customers will believe in what we do, not what we say, and the 2021 KPMG Global Customer Experience Excellence research has shown that FWD Vietnam is the number one company for customer experience across all industries. This proves that our efforts to take care of customers have delivered.

You have been very successful in different bancassurance deals. What are the next plans for FWD and will there be any changes or new partnerships soon?

We have solid experience in developing an effective bancassurance model and are on the right track to expanding our business in the region. I am confident that any expansion of FWD will create positive value for customers. FWD Group is growing rapidly in Asia, so the expansion of our partnerships is an inevitable part, and this will be executed alongside our journey to change the way people feel about insurance.

Asia and Vietnam are experiencing rapid changes in consumer behaviour, and the advances in technology are transforming many industries, including banking and insurance. Our strategy is designed to thrive in such an environment. We challenge the status quo in the insurance industry by putting our customers first and creating new experiences with easy-to-understand products supported by digital technology. We are committed to creating long-term value for our customers, not only today but also in the future.

What will be the trends in the bancassurance sector around the world and in Vietnam in the coming years?

I believe that bancassurance will continue to grow as the dominant distribution channel for both life and non-life insurance in Asia.

Companies implementing the bancassurance model will need to create an ecosystem around customers. Digital technology will play an important role in this and, in fact, digital bancassurance will provide room for faster growth.

FWD is a brand associated with innovation. We’ve been ready for digital bancassurance for many years and are constantly researching the latest trends in the market to introduce truly user-friendly and simple services for our customers.

For example, with Vietcombank’s customers, in addition to launching online insurance products, we will also implement new features that allow customers to design their own insurance plans or book an insurance consultation through the digibank application. These steps create a modern and convenient experience for customers.

We can’t talk about changing the way people feel about insurance without innovation. To make a change, we need to challenge boundaries, think differently, and be determined to push ahead with our ideas. This mindset has led to the development of many innovations for FWD and helps the company adapt to new trends more quickly and conveniently.

By Binh An

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