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Adapt and grow – being good today, does not mean being relevant tomorrow

By April 26, 2021April 13th, 2022No Comments

Here at Surer, we constantly speak to and seek out opportunities to enhance our product and solution offerings to ultimately drive our vision of helping intermediaries and insurers work together seamlessly; with greater speed and efficiency.

In doing so, we are fortunate to have the chance to speak with many industry stalwarts. In this article, we are blessed to be able to interview and share the views of one such individual – Kenneth Lim, Head, GI Agency at Allianz Insurance Singapore.

Read on as Kenneth shares his growth journey in the insurance industry and his take on how the industry will progress…

About Kenneth Lim, Head, GI Agency at Allianz Insurance Singapore

Kenneth is a highly experienced individual in the insurance industry who has held key roles such as Head of Distribution at multiple insurance companies. He is skilled in Sales, Management, Risk Management, Business Development, and Life Insurance and a strong operations professional with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) focused in International Marketing from University of South Alabama. 

In his current role at Allianz Insurance Singapore, Kenneth is responsible for identifying and partnering new agents for mutual growth in both retail and commercial business. He works collaboratively with both internal and external stakeholders to ensure constant streams of opportunities and activities are developed to achieve both the goals of both agents and Allianz Insurance Singapore.

Throughout the interview with Kenneth, there is no mistaking his overall view about the industry and thus the subject of this interview article – adaptability and leveraging available resources is the only way to grow and stay relevant.

A journey of learning and ‘unlearning’

As with all our interview articles, we strongly believe that the best way to understand someone’s views is to first have a peek into their journey – at the end of the day, our perspectives and what we know are shaped by our experiences.

So this writer started the interview by asking Kenneth to share a little bit about the path he has taken in his career and the key learnings he had picked up.

Kenneth shared his thankfulness to have had the opportunity to work in multiple functions in his illustrious journey in the insurance industry – this set the tone for most of the interview as we grew to realise that his mix of experience in multiple functions was more a choice than coincidence.

The world and our industry is progressing tremendously and I strongly believe in learning and adapting to changes in our industry to keep myself abreast.

“The world and our industry is progressing tremendously and I strongly believe in learning and adapting to changes in our industry to keep myself abreast.” Kenneth shared.

It is thus no wonder that with such a mindset on learning and adapting, that he has taken on new challenges in his career. 

What stood out to us was when Kenneth mentioned that not only was he thankful for the opportunity to learn, but also that to “unlearning things of hindrance to grow” – having the drive to learn may be common amongst many; but ‘unlearning’? – this got us interested to dig further.

Kenneth carried on to share that unlearning something is likened to reviewing your bag of tricks or knowledge – what might work today, may not work tomorrow; complacency or sticking to old ways have been the downfall of many. He cited Nokia’s phone making business as an example of such – fun fact: did you know that in 2007, at its peak, Nokia had 51% of global market share in mobile phones!

It doesn’t matter if we are good now, what matters is if we are still relevant tomorrow

“It doesn’t matter if we are good now, what matters is if we are still relevant tomorrow” Kenneth added.

This was a nice lead to our next question where we asked Kenneth for his views on key lessons he had learnt.

Leverage tools and resources available

Starting his journey as a personal contributor, while he did well, Kenneth was frustrated by the fact that he was only able to deliver results as an individual contributor.

“Looking back to some 2 decades ago and tons of roadshows, canvassing, cold calling via yellow pages and mail drops, the world is so much more efficient nowadays and the key is to leverage tools and resources available – to adapt to new ways of working and tap into individual strengths within the team to achieve results at scale.” Kenneth shared.

the key is to leverage tools and resources available – to adapt to new ways of working

Kenneth started to reminisce about the beginnings of his career in the industry and snapped out of it as quickly.

“Reminiscing the good old analog days of waiting for faxes and sitting in our offices for calls and voice messages unfortunately will not cut it now in this time and era.”

This was indeed a stark reminder of how far we have come in terms of technology and how everyone, not only insurance, has learnt to adapt and grow. This writer nodded in agreement and keeping one eye on the interview, started wondering what it would be like if one did not move along with times.

Reviewing and identifying gaps for enhancement

Diving deeper into the conversation and getting more specifically at General Insurance, we asked Kenneth for his views on the General Insurance industry and how intermediaries can grow.

Kenneth shared his optimism on the growth potential of General Insurance – “General Insurance in Singapore is a mature industry and yet, has been growing consistently for the past 20 years from SGD$1.7b in 2000 to SGD$4.1b in 2020 and with ample room to grow further.” 

He shared the view that General Insurance has been rather transactional in nature thus far and for the industry to grow, intermediaries need now start thinking about engaging their clients with an even greater focus on advisory services.

“To grow further, the industry should not be limited by what the customer would like to purchase but rather, to review and identify the current gap and enhance the overall coverage required.” Said Kenneth    

To grow further, the industry should not be limited by what the customer would like to purchase but rather, to review and identify the current gap and enhance the overall coverage required

To this point, this writer could not agree more – essentially, here at Surer, we are huge believers of the importance of the intermediaries because insurance in itself is complex; the human advisor is still required to give the insured confidence and advise – technology will not replace this. Rather, technology is here to remove other hindrance and barriers like workflow issues, to free up time for intermediaries to be able to provide greater advisory services!

Kenneth further echoed this point by sharing that he is heartened to see intermediaries now looking to solve time-poor issues by leveraging tech thus allowing them to focus on building relationships with their clients. 

We are in a relationship business after all and in our culture of trust and relationship, intermediaries especially agency force is definitely here to stay and should spend more time cultivating this before the business flows.

“We are in a relationship business after all and in our culture of trust and relationship, intermediaries especially agency force is definitely here to stay and should spend more time cultivating this before the business flows.” Kenneth summed the point up with this. 

General Insurance continues to pique the interest

As we were wrapping up the interview, we asked Kenneth why he remains so passionate about the General Insurance industry. 

What Kenneth shared was totally in tune with the theme we picked up throughout – that it is one of uncovering new facets and then learning (or unlearning) for growth.

There’s always something new to learn in this industry and the joy is to be able to find the old (product) and marry with the new (distribution)

“This is a simple yet complicated industry with different products serving different needs to different audiences… There’s always something new to learn in this industry and the joy is to be able to find the old (product) and marry with the new (distribution)” said Kenneth.

Of course, we had to get Kenneth’s take on how Surer can help this industry and what he had to say was extremely heartening – “one of the biggest pain point in this industry is the limited resources available to support intermediaries with varying form fillings and turn around time to get a quote. This is solved by Surer – a solution which will not only reduce time but also increase productivity of intermediaries to work on that relationship with their clients”

This is solved by Surer – a solution which will not only reduce time but also increase productivity of intermediaries to work on that relationship with their clients

With that, we ended the interview with Kenneth but not without this writer feeling all the more inspired by what he had to share – especially on the point about adapting and learning new (and better) ways to work!

Keen to hear more from the folks at Allianz Insurance Singapore? 

Our upcoming webinar happening on 29 Apr 2021, Thursday, 10.30am – 12.30pm is in partnership with Allianz Insurance Singapore, so RSVP via the form below or most active dating app

 

What’s more, General Insurance Intermediaries who attend the full duration of the webinar will be provided a certificate of attendance by Singapore Insurance Institute (SII) for 2 CPD hours eligibility.

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