Insurance Inspired Day 1 Highlights: Adapting to a post-COVID world

| 09 Jul 2021

Insurers today are under a lot of pressure to connect better with consumers who are more discerning and digital savvy. Critical to this agenda are young agents and advisers who understand this modern landscape and can navigate it much more easily.

In light of that, Sun Life Hong Kong chief agency officer Jason Chou kicked off the first day of the Insurance Inspired 2021 virtual event that took place yesterday by sharing how the company cultivates its ‘Brighter Gen’ or ‘Gen Next’ advisers – essentially young university graduates who are hungry and digital savvy.

Connecting with young talents

According to Mr Chou, one of the biggest challenges the company faced was figuring out how to make the connection with this particular group, understanding their characteristics and hot button issues they are concerned with when considering an ideal career path.

He highlighted some of their traits that insurers can pander to:

  • They are tech-savvy and active in social networks so insurers will need to use these channels to connect with them. Popular channels today include LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp but will likely keep changing and insurers need to be agile enough to switch to the right channels.
  • They are impatient and have short attention spans so insurers will need to get right to the point and focus on their career needs and aspirations, making sure not to drag on too much about the company.
  • In addition to money, they are also motivated by purpose – how meaningful the career is to themselves, other people, and society.
  • They constantly seek out new experiences that money cannot buy.
  • They want to be independent but at the same time need a lot of guidance, so insurers need to have good personal coaches and be ready to tailor support to each of their individual needs.

He added, “Back to basics, we need to change the general perception and image of insurance advisers. From the relatively cliché old-fashioned, boring image to the possibility of being a professional financial planner with hip, chill and dynamic characteristics.”

Working with an endemic COVID-19

With employers already looking to the future and what the workplace will be like, Finance Accreditation Agency CEO Khairul Nizam brought up that it is important to consider the possibility of COVID-19 being endemic – that it is here to stay for a while and will be something we need to live with – as some government officials and members of the medical community have pointed out recently.

If COVID-19 were to become endemic, employers would need to have measures in place for a return to office to be on the cards. Referencing a survey by Deloitte Insights, he showed that many companies are already taking steps to prepare for a work environment that could function in such a situation.

A majority of the companies polled already have or are in the process of reconfiguring for socially distanced workspaces; planning for enhanced cleaning procedures; reducing office hours; and rotating schedules and decreasing capacity.

More progressive companies are also affording their employees greater flexibility, to varying degrees, to self-manage remote and hybrid working arrangements.

Whether companies choose to return to office fully, continue working remotely, or adopt a hybrid model, Mr Khairul expects self-management and team management skills to be at the forefront of skills in demand.

Excelling in remote sales

Remote working, however, is not without is challenges, as the last year has shown. For agents to continue achieving success in remote sales, co-founder and CEO Alan Ng said that it is important to have discipline.

This involves having a daily routine which helps regulate work/life balance and having KPIS that include factors other than just outcomes, such as leads generated, or meetings completed. It is important that these processes periodically to adapt them to changing circumstances because something that worked a few months ago may not work now or in the future.

He added that it is also crucial to protect yourself against burnout. While remote sales might allow for higher volumes of work with the elimination of travel times, it is important to pace yourself and deliver consistent performance rather than just racking up the numbers.

Leveraging social media platforms

The digital world has also given rise to the use of social media to connect with customers and Manulife Asia head of Manulife Business Academy Sabrina Ong shared some pointers to help agents and advisers maximise the potential of their personal brand on social media channels.

Firstly, it is important to use separate platforms for personal and professional interactions, or even separate accounts on one platform, and never to post personal things on the professional account and vice versa.

“If you want a professional platform, you may want to make sure that you build the environment around it and you define your personal brand, identity and expertise,” she said. An insurance agent, for example might look to post information about health and wellness, insurance and the need to be protected.

Secondly, it is also important to have a clear message on the professional platform – what you stand for as an agent, what you believe in and how you shape your services. This can be achieved by making sure the posts on the platform are consistent in the content they deliver.

Lastly, sharing content on a regular basis is crucial so that people who are connected to you constantly get alerts on what you are doing. Similar to influencers, this will allow you to build a social media prospecting tool, she said.

A winning voice

One thing about remote interactions is that it has taken away nuances that involve reading body language, leaving just the voice as a means of communicating. And FULL VOICE CONSULTING voice coach Cynthia Zhai said that it is important to speak in an authoritative and credible voice – similar to that of the actor, Morgan Freeman.

Ms Zhai introduced the concept of 4Cs – four factors that clients look out for – that an authoritative voice will have: Credibility, Confidence, Certainty and Conviction. In addition, she pointed out that a voice lacking credibility typically lacks gravitas, is thinner and is higher pitched.

She then went on to demonstrate how to develop a more authoritative voice.

Getting your act together: Some tips

Above all else, COVID-19 has created a lot of chaos and uncertainty. Thankfully, AIAFA Advisors Alliance Group executive director of financial services Matthew Chew shared some tips on how to get better at responding to such chaotic situations.

One of the tips he shared was one that his mentor taught him – when facing a challenging situation, turn to books of a related topic to get ideas you can implement. He said that this tip has helped him get through many crises, and during the initial Circuit Breaker period in Singapore last year, he took the opportunity to read several books, including the critically acclaimed Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

And in this modern age, the written word is not the only option available for consuming literature, with Netflix also being an option.  “Netflix basically introduces a change of medium to us. No longer am I just going to load on books, I can watch, and I can derive value and lessons in whatever is shown,” he said.

Insurance Inspired 2021 continues online today and is organised by Asia Advisers Network and Asia Insurance Review, and co-organised by LIMRA. The event is sponsored by AIA, with supporters Muang Thai Life, Thai Life Insurance, and 25 Point Systems.