Money Moves

Customer focus ensures long-term insurance success

by Jacky Wong

Preferred employer offers finance elites branded careers

Agnes Choi, general manager and head of corporate insurance
HSBC Insurance (Asia-Pacific) Holdings Limited
Photo: Johnny Kwok

As business models and tools continue to transform in the insurance world, clients become increasingly astute and expect more tailor-made and value-added products and services from insurers.

HSBC Insurance entered the Hong Kong insurance business in 1974. Over the past three decades, the company has built on its solid experience and well-trusted brand offering clients from all walks of life a comprehensive portfolio of products ranging from general and life insurance to retirement benefit products.

Adhering to a customer focused philosophy, HSBC Insurance always places customer needs first, particularly when it comes to product and service development, says Agnes Choi, general manager and head of corporate insurance.

In particular, a survey was conducted to assess the insurance needs of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME). The results showed that SMEs understand the importance of protection, but that only a few of survey respondents have third-party liability coverage in the face of significant financial risk, and still fewer have insurance plans for contingency purposes.

Market sensitivity

To accommodate SME clients' need for flexibility and convenience, HSBC launched its new FlexiCommercial Insurance package, which aims to provide customers with comprehensive business coverage in a single policy. It offers a wide range of coverage such as physical assets, public liability and employee benefits, including 190 combinations of protection in eight insurance lines — from property to public liability insurance, group medical, group life and group personal accident insurance.

Clients may choose from three different levels of coverage. Simplified underwriting procedures enable instant coverage upon purchase. An enhanced coverage option operating on first loss basis provides clients with reimbursement for up to 100 per cent of insured value upon claiming.

"There has been an overwhelming response to FlexiCommercial," Ms Choi says, adding that educational efforts to increase public awareness and marketing initiatives to promote this innovative product will continue.

With more than 100 service providers in the general insurance market, Ms Choi agrees that competition is fierce. For this reason, HSBC Insurance has a dedicated sales support team to serve clients around the clock. The team also provides risk assessment and loss control advice; and is committed to settling claims promptly and fairly.

"In the long run, HSBC will continue to adapt products to accommodate clients' specific industry needs, as well as launch more new and dedicated customer services such as information seminars to increase client understanding of various corporate insurance products," Ms Choi adds. She is optimistic that, as a strong brand, HSBC Insurance has a solid base to further grow its business in the corporate insurance field.

"Corporate customers are cautious when buying insurance products and HSBC's reputation as a reliable brand gives them confidence," she notes.

Stronger team

With the current growth in the corporate insurance field, HSBC Insurance is constantly increasing its workforce on different levels.

To recruit the best professionals in town, HSBC Insurance is utilising a diverse range of mechanisms including internal transfers, referrals by current employees, personnel agencies as well as print advertisement. Fresh graduates are also being reached through various management trainee programmes and recruitment talks at universities. Summer internship programmes are also in place to groom future leaders.

A reputable preferred employer, HSBC Insurance runs an array of employee-friendly initiatives including staff fun days, systematic training programmes and the tailoring of progressive career paths to help build staff loyalty.

Ms Choi notes that insurance is a people business and a passion for serving people is crucial. When recruiting, she looks for candidates who can demonstrate a client service mindset, a belief in helping people and a strong caring attitude.

Over the years, she has witnessed many ups and downs within the industry, but she believes that by constantly increasing service quality and professional skills, the industry can only move forward.

"The insurance field is competitive and so professionals must continuously develop their skills and product knowledge. It is vital to keep track of market developments and to communicate with clients regarding their individual needs in order to build trust and understanding," she says.

Drive for success

  • Business growing and competition stiff
  • Good customer service and people development crucial
  • Brand image helps attract and retain clients and staff
  • Employee-friendly initiatives build morale and escalate service levels

Taken from Career Times 16 May 2008, p. A2
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