New CEO of Generali Vietnam: “I am always interested in beating challenges”
“I think that when we do what we are passionate at, we can turn the pressure into motive to gain more energy and less likely to feel tired. I am very excited with the new role seeing big opportunity to build and develop at Generali Vietnam.” – Tina Nguyen
“Late joiners have certain advantages which can be turned into effective competitive edge. And doing that is of course a challenge. Being in the financial insurance industry for years, I am always interested in beating the challenges.” shared with Dau Tu Chung Khoan (Securities Investment) magazine by Ms. Tina Nguyen – New CEO of Generali Vietnam when being asked about her decision to join Generali Vietnam in spite of several other attractive offers.
Why have you chosen Generali Vietnam out of several other attractive offers?
Because I see that from Generali Vietnam the best (laugh). I like to “build” so I am attracted by the growth potential of Generali Vietnam. Generali Vietnam belongs to the World well-known Italian group which is shifting its investment focus to Asia in which Vietnam is one of its priorities.
In Vietnam, Generali is relatively new starting in 2011 but has made initial impressive achievements being the fastest growing company in term of premium income in the past several years.
But what is more attractive to me is the opportunity to build a totally new strategic direction for Generali Vietnam. Late joiners have certain advantages if knowing to turn it into effective competitive edge. Doing that is certainly a challenge. Being in this market for many years, I am always fond of beating those challenges.
I am also much convinced by the passion, dedication of the staff and agency of Generali Vietnam and love to join hands with them to build a success story for Generali Vietnam.
But those challenges will definitely bring about much pressure on you?
I see myself lucky to be working at multinational corporations in different countries and in different fields. I started my career in auditing, market research, financial management industries and later on, moved to development of distribution channels, marketing & communication, product development, customer strategy…
Being interested in doing new things, I am often trusted to implement new strategies or to develop new products, new distribution channels. I believe challenges come together with opportunities. Thus, we need to face challenges so as to grasp new opportunities.
Pressure is present any time, at any position if we really want to contribute significantly to the market, to the company, to our team, agency and customers. Of course, the higher the position, the higher the pressure. However, I think that when we do what we are passionate at, we can turn the pressure into motive to gain more energy and less likely to feel tired. I am very excited with the new role seeing big opportunity to build and develop at Generali Vietnam.
Female leaders tend to be more cautious than male and thus, can manage risks better. However, caution may also result in missing opportunity. What type of leader are you?
In my opinion, to be successful in business, especially sustainable success, means know how to grasp opportunity as well as to manage risks properly at the same time. Risk management doesn’t mean that we only do what is 100% risk free but we need to evaluate and accept proper level of risks. In some case, no risk means big risk of losing business opportunity.
Nonetheless, life insurance is a specific business requiring certain caution from the insurer in proper management of the premium collected from customers. Therefore, to be successful in long term, the insurer needs to balance both skills: sharp in capitalizing business opportunity and sensible in picking reasonable risk level at a specific point of time.
Although having the market share in term of total premium income of 1.8% (MOF report), Generali Vietnam is one of the insurers achieving the biggest average case size of new business. In 2015, its average case size is 21 million VND/policy. What is the customer segment of your priority?
2015 saw specticular growth of Generali Vietnam with its total premium income increasing three-fold compared to 2014. Its market share in term of total premium income is still low because of its short operating period but its new business premium income has increased continuously, achieving almost 5% new APE market share.
It is the result of the strategic focus on professional agency force with high performance. The more professional the agents, the better they approach customers of middle and high incomes. The more professional they are, the better they can help customers buy the products relevant to their financial ability and protection needs. It is naturally true that once buying the right products, their satisfaction and retention with the insurer is much higher.
However, it does not mean that we miss out the customers of lower income segment. Our Group business, one of our key distribution channels, can meet the need of any customer. Our corporate clients can buy it for all of their staff and employees.
Among life insurance business models, bancassurance is mentioned most often. Is acquiring customers via bancassurance channel one of the key strategies of Generali Vietnam at the moment? What is your difference in approaching bank partners as well as customers?
Recently, bancassurance has achieved remarkable progress with premium income rate of approx. 10% of total new business premium income in 2015. The more retail banking develops, the better bancassurance. Although operating bancassurance for almost 2 years, Generali Vietnam has proven to be able to operate bancassurance fast and highly effective.
At Generali Vietnam, bancassurance is not just complementary to agency channel, but it is our strategy to invest and build proper operating foundation to grow at the same time 3 business lines: agency, bancassurance and group business. In 2015, all these business lines made impressive growth, making the total premium income increase three-fold compared to 2014.
The life insurance market was very good last year. Do you think that the momentum maintains in 2016?
Compared to other countries in the region, Vietnam is actually a bright star in terms of stability and growth rate given its continuous rise in the past 10 years. Nevertheless, as for a market with 90 million people, especially 70% under 40, the achieved figures are still humble as opposed to the enormous potential. To those working in the industry, it is certainly an optimistic signal.
I believe most life insurers are investing in developing products, enhacing customer offerings, customer service quality as well as the professionalism of their agency forces. Thus, the life insurance will definitely continue its strong growth trend.
What are your expectations on Generali Vietnam in 2016 and the next years?
I don’t have the ambition to make Generali Vietnam the most popular brand over night. Our aim is that those having policies with us or being consulted about our products, services but not making decision yet are always happy and have good impression on Generali Vietnam. Our business strategy has been made toward this aim.
The professionalism of agency forces, product and service quality are our top priorities, not premium income growth rate or number of agents.
We will capitalize on Generali Group’s technology strength to simplify and modernize our consultancy and after-sale service. ‘Simpler, Smarter and Customer-Centric’ is the operating focus of Generali Vietnam.
Ngoc Lan (Securities Investment, Apr. 13, 2016)