AIA made history in 2017 with the highest number of MDRT members for three consecutive years. We speak with Mr Joe Cheng, CEO of Group Agency Distribution, AIA Group, to find out the secret to the group's continued success in producing top performing agents and why the industry needs to come together to salute excellence through platforms such as the Asia Trusted Life Agents & Advisers Awards organised by Asia Insurance Review and Asia Advisers Network.
The road to history-making was paved following AIA’s IPO in 2010.
“We introduced our Premier Agency strategy, which is the foundation of our continued success in Agency distribution. We have focused relentlessly on quality recruitment, best-in-class training and equipping our agents with industry-leading technology. All of which has led to the creation of a strong culture and MDRT focus,” said Mr Joe Cheng.
AIA climbed from seventh in 2011 to the top of the global ranking for MDRT members for the first time in 2015. And in 2017, it made history as the only company in the world to achieve the largest number of MDRT members for three consecutive years. (2015: 3,752; 2016: 5,687; and 2017: 8,324.)
40% of HK’s Premier Agents become MDRT members
“We believe that we can attract well-educated, motivated candidates by offering them a career, not a part-time job. So we focus on recruiting full-time agents through our Premier Agency model. This has brought rewards. Using our Hong Kong business as an example, roughly 40% of all our Premier Agents who have graduated from our Academy become MDRT members,” he shared.
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The culture created through its Premier Agency is embodied by its professional, hardworking, digitally-enabled agents. These Premier Agents go through a stringent selection process, mandatory training and follow-through programmes.
“They know that we will give them the tools they need for success while encouraging them to work hard and be the best in the industry. We also give our agents opportunities to further develop their careers through additional specialisation, be it in health & wellness, corporate solutions or retirement and legacy planning,” he said.
Mr Cheng added: “Our commitment to training extends from new recruits to those in the management chain. We have development programmes for our leaders which leverage the AIA Leadership Centre (ALC), established in March 2016 in Bangkok, where we partner world-class academic institutions such as INSEAD and LIMRA. We are also making significant ongoing investments in our digital platforms.”
Its interactive point-of-sale (iPoS) technology enables agents to engage customers anywhere and anytime, and its second generation interactive mobile office (iMO) allows agents to manage their affairs remotely. In the first half of 2017, 1.1 million policies were processed through iPoS.
Asia Trusted Life Agents & Advisers Awards
AIA’s commitment to excellence in agency can also be seen through its support of the Asia Trusted Life Agents & Advisers Awards organised by Asia Insurance Review and Asia Advisers Network, and co-organised by LIMRA. The Awards in its third run in 2018, has had the support of AIA as Strategic Partner since the inaugural edition.
Asked about its strong and unwavering support of the initiative, he said: “At AIA, we see the continued success of our life agents as integral to fulfilling our brand promise of helping people to live healthier, longer, better lives. We are therefore delighted to continue our association with the Asia Trusted Life Agents & Advisers Awards, the region’s most important independent awards, to honour the exemplary efforts of leading agents and companies.”
On the importance of industry support for the Awards, he pointed to the huge and growing mortality protection gap in Asia which currently exceeds US$51 trillion.
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“The whole industry, all of us, has an obligation to do what we can to close this gap and ensure that millions more people across Asia get the insurance they need to protect their families in the event of an unforeseen event,” he said.
“Engaging in these Awards, promotes the life blood of our industry – the life insurance agent – who is at the front line trying to sell a product that is desperately needed. All of us should acknowledge the achievements of our agents as the unsung heroes of our industry. These Awards offer an ideal opportunity for all of us to show appreciation for their efforts,” he concluded.
Winners of the 3rd Asia Trusted Life Agents & Advisers Awards will be announced at the Gala Dinner on 7 May 2018 in Manila, where Mr Dennis B Funa, Insurance Commissioner of the Philippines, is Guest of Honour. Reserve your seats now.
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