Insurance now customer-centric, says Great Eastern CEO

Insurance now customer-centric, says Great Eastern CEO

KUALA LUMPUR - Insurance has evolved from being product-centric to customer-centric, according to Great Eastern Life Assurance (M) Bhd director and chief executive officer Datuk Koh Yaw Hui.

In conjunction with its 105th anniversary, he said the company had also evolved from being a "life insurance company" to a "life company."

"We do market surveys in Malaysia and developed countries to anticipate market needs," he told StarBiz in an interview.

As at Dec 31, 2012, Great Eastern's assets size was RM59.6bil with 2.9 million policyholders, being the largest life insurance company in Malaysia,

Citing the example of occupational disability income which provides income in the event that a disability forbids people from doing their current jobs, Koh said they were working on a product that could provide income to them until they retire.

"If you are a lecturer and you can't talk due to the disability of the vocal chord, it becomes a concern. You may do other jobs, but not your current job," he said.

Moving forward, the oldest and largest life insurer in Malaysia sees the local market as a blue ocean as the insured ratio is relatively low.

"The insured ratio, including takaful is about 50 per cent, where only 50 per cent of Malaysians have an insurance policy," he said.

Citing awareness as one area, he said most of the policies were sold by the 17,000 strong agents, serving as the most important distribution channel.

Under its agency transformation plan, the company had invested RM20mil beginning this year for training modules and facilities renovation.

"We emphasise to the agents that the products sold must meet the needs of the consumers. This strategic plan aims to recruit, retain talents as well as enhance the agents professionalism and increase their productivity by 50 per cent by 2017," he said.

The company, which provides financial planning, protection and savings products also plan to launch a holistic all-in-one policy that will address a person's need throughout the life stages of the person later this year.

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