Insurance sector remains resilient amid Covid-19
Gan Leong Hin

The pandemic has increased awareness among Malaysians on the importance of life insurance, emphasising the vital need for it

by LYDIA NATHAN/ pic credit: PRUDENTIAL

THE insurance industry remains resilient despite the Covid-19 pandemic and proves to be a safe anchor in uncertain times.

Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd (PAMB) CEO Gan Leong Hin (picture) said the business has prevailed even in the hard times because of its steadfast commitment, and the fact that it exists to help people avoid such uncertainties and mitigate financial concerns.

“This unprecedented pandemic has increased awareness among Malaysians on the importance of life insurance, emphasising the vital need for it. Now, more than ever, we remain committed to supporting and serving our customers, as well as providing financial freedom and peace of mind to all Malaysians,” he said in an email interview with The Malaysian Reserve recently.

PAMB was established in 1924 while Prudential BSN Takaful Bhd was established in 2006 as a joint venture between Prudential and Bank Simpanan Nasional to meet the needs of its Islamic customers, making it to the top in the Shariah-compliant takaful market. Both total number of 2.3 million customers in the country, together with 2,600 employees and 20,000 agents.

According to Gan, the pandemic accelerated Prudential’s advances in technology, particularly for its products and agent meetings. He said in recent years, the group harnessed its solutions to make it more accessible and affordable.

“We strongly believe technology can provide people with greater access to health. In fact, we set into motion our digital transformation a few years ago. We spent RM250 million over the last three or four years on digital transformation initiatives alone, including increasing automation and improving digital capabilities to drive our speed and agility,” Gan added.

“We introduced virtual consultations through our Remote Selling Option platform for customers. We also provided a toolkit to guide wealth planners on how to start conversations online, as well as content that could be shared online.”

This, he said, allows planners to provide services such as e-claims, e-endorsements and e-submissions without needing to be physically present through the Remote Servicing Option platform.

“For underwriting, we rolled out tele-underwriting which is being done through recorded phone conversations,” he said.

The business also chose not to slow down in terms of recruitments, when it introduced the Remote Recruitment Option to welcome new agents.

Meanwhile, Gan said as soon as Covid-19 hit, PAMB drew up strategies to mitigate the situation for every stakeholder within the group.

He said Prudential Malaysia was the first life insurance company and takaful operator to waive the exclusion clause in medical policies and certificates on communicable diseases requiring quarantine by law.

“We are also the first to provide a Special Covid-19 Coverage, which includes a RM1,000 cash relief upon diagnosis and hospitalisation, and a RM10,000 death benefit due to Covid-19 from May 1, 2020, till Dec 31, 2020.”

We have set up a RM300,000 fund for non-customers, where they can register for the Special Covid-19 Coverage on Pulse and receive a RM1,000 cash relief upon diagnosis and hospitalisation due to Covid-19 or until the total fund payout reaches RM300,000,” Gan said.

Pulse by Prudential is an app that provides holistic health management for users, including online consultations, checks on health status, and latest updates on health developments worldwide.

Gan said the insurance industry is poised to move forward by continuing to support its customers and employees, while PAMB expects to continue its acceleration forward.

“I believe that this extraordinary time requires extraordinary people, people with remarkable mindsets and exceptional actions. We will continue to be innovative, creative and agile to ensure that we provide our customers with the necessary support to get through this challenging time,” he said.