Winning eight awards last year, Zurich Insurance (Hong Kong) (Zurich) has ensured its place as a leader in the Hong Kong and global insurance market through its community and environmental initiatives and its forward thinking in both employee support and development and future market opportunities.
Paula Choi, CEO Zurich Life Insurance (Hong Kong) and Chief Market Management Officer, Zurich Life Insurance (APAC)
Eric Hui, Chief Executive Officer, Zurich Insurance Company Limited (Hong Kong)
“The DNA of Zurich involves protecting our customers and also helping them understand the risk and the need to safeguard themselves as well as their families. So from a brand perspective, we always say that we help our customers protect what they truly love,” said Paula Choi, Chief Executive Officer Hong Kong and Chief Market Management Officer Asia-Pacific of Zurich’s Global Life business.
“For Zurich, customers are one of our key stakeholders,” added Eric Hui, Chief Executive Officer for Zurich’s General Insurance business in Hong Kong. “Wherever there is a customer need, Zurich is there.”
This dedication to stakeholders was recognized when Zurich won a suite of awards at the BENCHMARK Wealth Management Awards including Outstanding Achiever Awards in Training and Development, Employee Engagement, Investment-Linked Assurance Scheme, Online Usability, Product Innovation, and Female Products.
Zurich was most proud to win the Best-in- Class Award for Digital Channels Strategy for their innovative ways connecting with and responding to customers whenever they may have query or concern. “We have established a ‘Zurich community’ in Hong Kong and other parts of the world which are open channels with our customers, and through those channels, our customers can give us feedback on what they like and don’t like as well as how Zurich can help them better,” according to Choi.
“Our customers have been clear in that they would like to have the capability to make transactions, enquiries, and in general fulfill their needs through an online platform. We recognize that customers now want to get things done any time and any place, and Zurich is very happy to assist our customers in this way.”
Hui supplemented, “Our company constantly stresses innovation as a key policy, so in conjunction with our initiatives to improve customer service, Zurich has been able to stay ahead of current trends in the market and achieve great things.”
While Zurich has strived to stay ahead of its competition through innovative customer service and progressive employee policies, Choi also stressed Zurich’s long connection with Hong Kong which she described as an integral part of their ability to respond to and anticipate shifts in the local market. “Hong Kong has developed quite a lot in the past 50 years, as has Zurich. Throughout all those years, Zurich has remained unchanged in that our financials have stayed strong, and we are very dedicated to our customers and our distributers in the region and this city.”
“As Zurich has grown, our customers have too, and their needs are very different now than when Zurich first began operations in Hong Kong. The two most important emerging trends in Hong Kong today, the continued growth of the economy as well as the aging population, have led to a great increase in the demand for retirement products, and Zurich is very interested in working with the Hong Kong Government to solve this coming problem.”
Zurich is very keen to promote diversity and inclusion. We do this by accepting and supporting customers and employees of different genders, sexual preferences, nationalities, backgrounds, and races.
In recognition of Zurich’s efforts to help protect our planet as well its service to the local Hong Kong community and wider global society, the judges of the BENCHMARK Wealth Management Awards awarded Zurich Outstanding Achiever for Corporate Citizen of the Year, an award they also won last year.
Hui detailed some of the progressive policies and initiatives Zurich has. “At Zurich we recognize four key stakeholders, and one of those is community. We are investing heavily in our community and in our environment. We are also investing in green bonds, donating to the Red Cross, and supporting flood resistance programs in Indonesia. These are all just a few of the initiatives that Zurich has started to better serve our stakeholders.”
“We also try to do our part for Hong Kong, a city that is lucky to be free from natural disasters, so our main focus here is on community service and environmental protection. One of the ways we achieve this is through making our offices greener, following the example of our head office in Zurich which is now certified as carbon neutral. We also encourage our colleagues to volunteer through our volunteer groups who work on programs for the elderly, young children, and in local food banks.”
“Zurich is also very keen to promote diversity and inclusion. We do this by accepting and supporting customers and employees of different genders, sexual preferences, nationalities, backgrounds, and races. In our Hong Kong office, as in the head office in Zurich, we extend employees benefits, including medical, to family members who may be traditional spouses or live-in partners and of the opposite or same-sex. We believe that this makes our workplace better and more accepting for all of our employees as well as making our community and society more harmonious.”
Looking towards the future, both Choi and Hui saw many areas of growth and opportunity, especially for a company with deep roots in the city like Zurich. “The younger generation is another market Zurich is very excited about. At the same time, the insurance business has moved away from ‘pushing’ customers to ’pulling’ them or drawing them in. We see this especially among the younger generation who want to access more and more company and product information so that they may make their own informed decisions. Further, they want to approach distributors with questions like ‘What can Zurich offer me as opposed to other companies?’ After that, they will go and do more research and make more comparisons, only choosing a company when they are truly happy,” said Choi.
“This means that the role of the insurance agent, and the company, has changed significantly, and we must adapt to these changes. Technology is a great way to meet these changes and satisfy the questions and concerns of potential and current customers alike, and Zurich has made sure to invest a great deal of resources in supporting innovation within the company.” Choi added.
She expressed that “We no longer simply compare products with our competitors. We now ensure that our whole suite of products, including service mentality and service platform, are attractive to our customers and remain cutting edge.”
Hui similarly felt the availability of information would be the deciding factor for which companies were successful in the future as the local market developed. “As Paula mentioned, the younger generation is now becoming more active in the insurance market and are hungry for more information and products that meet their needs, especially with regards to retirement. To supply these new consumers with the information they require, we see improved digital channels as the best strategy to meet these needs. This can also make our insurance process simpler and easier for our customers which Zurich is always keen to do.”
“Cyber risk is another area of growth that Zurich is focusing on as this segment is no longer simply a corporate concern but also a SME (small or medium enterprise) or even personal concern. We are excited for some of the new products we have in the pipeline for SME use and personal use too.”
Hui supplemented. “Zurich also sees the medical business in Hong Kong as full of opportunities as medical costs continue to rise, and consumers become more uneasy about the affordability of their medical care.” BM