Thailand has suffered a series of setbacks in recent times, with widespread political unrest having brought its economy to a virtual standstill. Over this same period, neighbouring Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar have delivered impressive results, particularly on the insurance front, where gross written premiums and penetration have skyrocketed. Thailand, having finally weathered the worst of its political and economic storm, has started to realise some of these same gains, again supported by its insurance sector.
The country’s accommodating business climate, demographic fundamentals and regulatory environment have each boosted economic growth, and the insurance sector has responded positively to the ever-changing dynamics of the Thai population. Granted, there is some way to go before Thailand’s insurance sector compares favourably with those leading the latest developments in the region, but certainly it can be said the country’s insurance sector is among the most exciting in Asia – if not the world.
The insurance sector has shown itself to be a platform for people, and Thai society generally, to safeguard their wellbeing
Thai Life Insurance is perhaps the most notable contributor to the development of the Thai insurance sector, particularly in the life segment. Established 74 years ago, Thai Life Insurance was the country’s first life insurance company, and while its place in history is important, what’s more so is its part in securing Thailand’s future.
According to the Thai General Insurance Association, life insurance penetration in Thailand is still relatively low, at 4.1 percent, although the segment compares favourably with non-life at 1.7 percent. The low insurance rate is surprising given there are approximately 57 insurers working in the non-life segment, 90 percent of which are local and 10 of which account for more than 60 percent of total market share. As much as there is room for growth, the insurance sector has shown itself to be a driving force for the Thai economy while also providing a platform for people and society generally to safeguard their wellbeing and flourish in ways they would otherwise be unable to.
A Fitch Ratings report last year showed the medium-to-long-term prospects for the insurance sector were strong, supported by rising disposable income levels and an ageing population, for whom coverage is an increasing concern. The country’s greying population has proved decisive in the expansion of life policies, particularly among those seeking health and medical insurance. Success is not as easy as waiting for the numbers to rise, however, and, as illustrated by Thai Life Insurance, the key lies in focusing on people.
Improving all areas of society
In 2014, Thai Life Insurance altered its vision, mission and core values in a bid to become a cutting-edge business, and then outlined its ambition to become a ‘people business’. This term encapsulates the idea that companies should be completely focused on their people, or on those who share mutual benefits for both direct and indirect purposes. In this regard, the vision has set Thai Life Insurance on a path to becoming the organisation in Thailand that inspires people in their lives perhaps more than any other.
Technological innovation been developed continuously within the firm, and this facet could make marketing and sales presentations both more convenient and more rapid. However, Thai Life Insurance believes people are the key factor in driving the life insurance business. As life insurance needs to be trusted for it to succeed, Thai Life Insurance’s vision is squarely focused on the importance of people. In this regard, Thai Life Insurance aims to develop and inspire all personnel to focus on the customers’ needs, and extends this vision to all parts of society by supporting all personnel to do good deeds and give back to the community.
The fact Thai Life Insurance focuses on the importance of people reflects the firm’s corporate culture, which itself is rooted in Thai principles of thoughtfulness and generosity. The company endeavours to pass on this culture to the communities in which it operates, and has set out to abide by the three tenets of ‘care, compassion and trustworthiness’.
A commitment to care means Thai Life Insurance personnel must be intelligent and thoughtful, understand their customers’ needs thoroughly, and be able to offer superior service. Life insurance agents must be clearly knowledgeable in their products and customers’ needs, while they must also be good consultants when it comes to planning professionally. Lastly, they must be trusted and confided in.
As far as compassion goes, this means being sincere to customers, colleagues and the organisation itself, while all personnel must be friendly, generous and helpful, and have good intentions.
Trustworthiness, meanwhile, means personnel must be able to provide more than just life insurance – instead providing so-called ‘signature service’ that reflects care and attention. These values are manifested in Thai Life Insurance’s services, including: the Thai Life Insurance hotline; 24/7 emergency medical services; Thai Life Insurance Hot Claim; rapid indemnity pay consideration within one day for any public hazard; and Thai Life Insurance’s Smart Claim.
Partnering with insurance buyers
In particular, Thai Life Insurance agents resemble something close to a ‘life partner’, given they work to guarantee the financial security of those in Thai society. What’s more, the properties of a life partner share much in common with the brand character of Thai Life Insurance generally, in that they are an optimistic partner, provide insightful expertise, have a passion for wellbeing, and act as a realistic visionary.
Overall, Thai Life Insurance agents must be trusted by their customers, and must be able to take care of consumers and provide a superior service. Moreover, they must have clear product knowledge and understand customers’ needs thoroughly while standing as a partner in professional life planning. This life partner allows customers to feel like a part of the Thai Life Insurance family, which largely means providing them with a satisfactory experience. Thai Life Insurance agents must therefore be conscious in ‘giving’ while performing good deeds for Thai society. Although some have opted to enrol in public and social activities or any other corporate social responsibility programme, personnel at Thai Life Insurance must abide by strong ethics at all times.
Personnel at Thai Life Insurance must abide by strong ethics at all times
Human resource management at the company is focused on adopting the ‘four sublime states of mind’, which are: ‘loving kindness’, the need to make others happy; ‘compassion’, the need to free others from suffering; ‘sympathetic joy’, experiencing happiness from seeing others achieve; and ‘equanimity’, the need to manage all processes fairly.
The company also focuses on the fair treatment of its personnel, as we believe personnel are the most important resource for an organisation. We have therefore taken pains to improve on this point and to pay all our staff fairly. Thai Life Insurance is not an organisation that pays the highest wage, but it is one that provides welfare and compensation so as to satisfy its personnel, which itself is evidenced by the firm’s low rate of staff turnover.
Crucially, Thai Life Insurance is not merely a major player in Thailand’s budding insurance market, but a key actor in society. By focusing on people, the company’s aim is to develop the potential of its personnel and, in doing so, become an iconic brand in Thailand – one that is itself an icon of the life insurance business.
Realising this ambition means that Thai Life Insurance could well become the leading organisation in Thailand in terms of impressing customers, but also, more crucially, in bettering society.
As a trusted organisation – one that is contributing no end to sustainable development – these goals are key if the company is to become an iconic brand. Thai Life Insurance’s new slogan of ‘life, beside you’ reflects its brand identity and underlines the fact that it is committed to improving all parts of Thai society.