Life Insurance has always been somewhat of a mystery to most Cambodians. The fact that the industry was only introduced to the wider parts of the Cambodian population as recently as four years back doesn’t help its cause.
Yet, thanks to life insurers such as Manulife, an increasing number of Cambodians are enjoying the benefits of being insured.
For the Canadian life insurance giant that set up in Cambodia in 2012, the year 2016 has been another successful one, Robert Elliott, CEO of Manulife Cambodia said during a meeting last week.
When reflecting on theyear that was and opening up about his plans for 2017, Elliott, a stalwart Manulife(r) who has been with the company, in various roles and parts of Asia, for over three decades, gave many insights into the industry.
As a result of insurance being in its infancy in Cambodia, Manulife, a pioneer player, has gone onto to become a force to be reckoned with over the past four years.Since its inception in June, 2012, the global insurer has achieved over and beyond expectations in the Cambodian market.
However, it was literally a market that had to be created at first.
Given the lack of knowledge on the insurance industry and its products, Manulife has conducted a number of education seminars to educate the market about the importance of life insurance.These well attended events are carried out with a keen aim to build trust among Cambodian families. Manulife has derived great results from these programs. “We are achieving over 90 percent of brand awareness in the target population in Cambodia, meaning nine out of ten Cambodians know about the benefits of insurance and Manulife”, concluded Elliott.
Looking into the brand exposure in the media, Manulife has worked intensively with the local media, ranging from newspapers to magazines, radio and TV stations and various online media.
“This is carried out with the objective to keep the public updated on our business activities, products, and the advantages of life insurance to their life and the life of their families,” Elliott said.
Manulife has also expanded its digital footprint and moved into social media with the launch of its official Cambodian page on Facebook. Recognising the growing need to stay connected and engaged with customers, Manulife hopes to keep the lines of communication open with the Facebook community. In a short time, the company has had more than 250,000 people following its Facebook page, which is the highest Facebook fan base compared to the other insurers in the country.
Taking thesesuccesses in its stride, Manulife’s vision in Cambodia is to help build a better financial future for Cambodian families. Building on its history as one of the world’s most trusted brands, the company hopes to make major strides in Cambodia.
There has been a keen focus on hiring the best talent in the market, and this has led to improved business performance.
Meanwhile, the number of lives protected by insurance has seen tremendous growth.Elliott was optimistic about the market’s future in light of figures last monthwhich reflect that 33,000 individuals are insured.He further added “these figures expand oversixproducts in total: Manulife Education Protector, Manulife Family Protector, Manulife Savings Protector, Manulife Group Protector, Manulife Home Loan Protector and Manulife ChivitKnhom (Whole life).”
According to Elliott, each product is tailored to fit the different needs of Cambodians.
Manulife Savings Protector and Manulife Education Protector are the most popular products. This is a positive sign for the future of the Cambodian children. Manulife’s rapid growth in Cambodia is likely to continue. The company has alreadyexpanded from its head office in Phnom Penh tothe flagship branch offices in the strategic provinces. In 2014, the company set up in Siem Reap while in 2015 Manulife established a footprint in Battambang. Earlier this year, a branch was opened in Kampong Cham province.
Moving past the commercial feats, Elliott also spoke at length about the corporate social responsibility projects his staff has undertaken this year, most notably the sponsoring of a major sports event in Siem Reap on December 4.”For the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon, the employees made a donation of $110,000 to Angkor Hospital for Children,” he said and added: “We also gave more than 1,000 bicycle helmets to children in a known high-risk area for traffic accidents in Siem Reap which makes the total helmets the company has donated in Cambodia since 2012 goes up to over 4,000.”
On a closing note, Elliott discussed Bancassurance. “Bancassurance, is a partnership or relationship between a bank and an insurance company whereby the insurance company uses the bank’s sales channel in order to sell life insurance products to the bank’s customers.”
He further explained that the bancassurance deals with all its partnered banks in Cambodia which means that Manulife’s professional insurance specialists will standby at a number of partnered branches of the banks and become the point of sale or point of contact for the bank’s customers when it comes to long-term financial planning products.
“Bancassurance plays an important role in our Asia strategy to help our customers achieve their dreams and aspirations.” Elliott noted. “It deepens and diversifies our distribution capabilities, and at the same time complements our strong agency channel.
Manulife has increasingly successful Bancassurance partnerships across the markets it operates in, including Cambodia.”