Prudential: Be creative and stay innovative to meet customers’ demand
Reported by Duc Tam
Last December, Prudential Vietnam welcomed Mr. Steve Clark as its new Country Head. With over 30 years’ experience in the life insurance sector, including four years working in Vietnam, he makes a welcome addition to the Prudential Vietnam team. This change, together with the many advances made throughout 2016, Prudential Vietnam is looking to consolidate its position as one of the leading companies in the Vietnamese insurance market. The Weekly had an in-depth conversation with Mr. Steve Clark on Prudential Vietnam’s priorities for 2017.
Steve Clark Country Head, Prudential Vietnam
As one of the leading companies, Prudential has a big part to play in this market development. So I see our role as one where we work alongside all insurers in ways that allow many more people to live their lives secure in the knowledge that they have adequate insurance protection. As an industry, we have a long way to go still, but increasingly we see more and more people want to talk about and purchase insurance.
Country Head, Prudential Vietnam
Q.: As the newly appointed CEO of one of the leading companies, you must have some pressure?
A.: Being appointed as Country Head of Prudential Vietnam is a wonderful opportunity. Prudential has been at the forefront of the life insurance industry for many years and has provided protection to millions of people since entering Vietnam 17 years ago. Throughout this time, the company has invested in its people and as a consequence has built a strong and loyal team of skilled insurance experts. So, whilst there is always pressure to perform in a business like ours, I form just one part of an incredibly committed and dedicated team. We share a common vision about the company and what our role is within the industry and Vietnam.
Leading the market but not in market share? Could you please give us further details?
The penetration rate of life insurance, usually measured as the number of individuals who actually own life insurance, is still low in Vietnam relative to other Southeast Asian countries. So it is still a little premature to talk about market share. As an industry, with support from the Ministry of Finance, all life insurers here in Vietnam are working hard to expand the size of the overall market by bringing more insurance products and services to a much wider number of consumers. As one of the leading companies, Prudential has a big part to play in this market development. So I see our role as one where we work alongside all insurers in ways that allow many more people to live their lives secure in the knowledge that they have adequate insurance protection. As an industry, we have a long way to go still, but increasingly we see more and more people want to talk about and purchase insurance.
In order to participate in bringing life insurance to a wider audience, we at Prudential are continually working to strengthen and improve our products and services through innovation and technology. I am delighted that Prudential Vietnam is one of the first life insurers to enable our customers to purchase life insurance online. We are also one of the first to develop an online content hub, with the recent launch of phuonganb.com. This easy-to-access, easy to use hub provides users with essential information ranging from finance, healthcare to lifestyle matters. We are working hard to integrate our traditional processes with relevant technology to give our customers the best of purchasing experiences.
Can you share a few words regarding Prudential’s focus to stay at the top?
Prudential is focused on becoming even more relevant in the lives of consumers, whether it be existing or new customers. Consumer behavior and expectations continue to change rapidly in Vietnam. With the advances in technology, all of us as consumers expect higher levels of service and satisfaction. At Prudential we must therefore ensure that we always strive to meet or exceed our customers’ and business partners’ expectations. We have deployed ongoing programs to continually improve our operational effectiveness and service efficiency. Also, we continue to develop products, services and solutions that are appropriate and relevant to the changing needs of our customers.
Starting out at the two major cities including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, then expanding to provinces, Prudential surely has a thorough understanding of the urban customers and therefore has respective suitable products already?
Vietnam is experiencing a rapid growth in the number of people moving from the provinces into bigger cities. I believe that this trend will continue for some time. Whilst we will always look to be relevant to all consumers, regardless of where they live, at Prudential we recognize that urban consumers have some very different consumption behaviors to non-urban consumers. Often this is because the pace of life is much faster in our cities leading to different needs and expectations. This is especially relevant for life insurance and protection solutions. We therefore look to refine, not just our products to satisfy these differences, but also the way we provide service and support to busy consumers. Technology, whether digital, mobile or social media-driven, is an increasingly bigger part of our world and Prudential is embracing these developments to continually improve the way we interact with all our customers.
Prudential sets the target of remaining in a leading position. Can you share with us some ground here?
I believe that Prudential is well positioned to capture market opportunities. We have had a strong presence in Vietnam for the past 17 years, with a committed and competent workforce, reliable partners and an extremely loyal and comprehensive agent network. All of us at Prudential are very excited about our future.
Vietnam globalizes increasingly deeply. Do you fear that there will be more competitors penetrating the market?
More competition is good for consumers and great for our industry. It means that we can never stand still and must never allow ourselves to become complacent. As long as we focus on our customers and our people, I believe that Prudential can continue to be a role model for the life insurance industry in Vietnam.