When Mark Chapman, Chief Partnership Distribution Officer with Prudential Assurance Vietnam, moved to Asia 18 years ago, Vietnam’s life insurance sector was virtually non-existent. Today, through Prudential’s extensive network of bank partners here, the company has access to a much wider audience. Opportunities are rife but getting into the double digits might be a long way off.
Mark, who has been with Prudential for over 30 years, charts his journey from a sales agent in the UK to taking a leap of faith and relocating to Asia to focus on non-agency distribution.
Currently Prudential has a footprint in 13 markets in Asia and 8 in Africa. The geographic distribution will no doubt change again in the next 5-10 years, but the purpose of the company won’t. Prudential is in the business of helping individuals improve their financial wellness through life and health insurance products.
Selling a promise
As people in Vietnam live longer, the questions of wealth accumulation, wealth preservation and legacy planning become more pertinent. In the developed world, people are now enjoying 30-40 active years after retirement, and Vietnam is headed down the same path.
That being said, the product offered here is quite different to what’s available in the west. By applying the 70/20/10 rule where 70% is common sense and 30% is about making it work in the local market, Prudential makes sure its focus remains firmly on the needs of the customer in each given country.
Is the product affordable and sustainable? Is it suitable for Vietnam’s circumstances? Today rich data sets help insurance companies understand their potential clients better and offer customized solutions that meet their specific needs, as opposed to pitch a one-size-fits-all solution to wealth and health management. Mark calls it a more empathetic approach.
In this business of “what-ifs”, the moment of truth arrives when an individual makes a claim. Prudential prides itself on always delivering on the promise.
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Meeting them where they are
Back in the day, insurance sales agents would find customers through their networks. Bank partnerships are another established way to reach potential customers. China’s pioneering in-app insurance products and the rise of supermarket partnerships are an indicator of where the wind is blowing in the industry today. Prudential is already taking an omnichannel approach to customer engagement: whether it’s face-to-face consultations or online purchases, companies must follow their customers, not the other way around.
A foot on the ladder
Many young people see the insurance industry as an attractive career choice offering financial independence and a road to financial stability. They are not wrong. Once you’ve learned the ABC of finance, you are able to not only build your own nest egg but also help your family and friends to secure their future. Prudential has a dedicated unit focused on bancassurance where young people receive guidance to plot their career paths. For those who are prepared to take risks and work hard, opportunities in Asia and Africa with Prudential are endless.