New and former winners shine at 23rd Asia Insurance Industry Awards 2019

Seventeen notable insurance champions emerged as the cream of the crop as they were commended at the highly-prestigious 23rd Asia Insurance Industry Awards 2019 gala dinner tonight, held on the sidelines of the 16th Singapore International Reinsurance Conference.

A large majority of those deserving laureates were first-time winners, competing in an extremely tough competition which attracted over 800 entries this year.

As mobile and digital technologies pervade every corner of the insurance sector, it was not a surprise to see many new award winners being credited with solving major industry challenges through the effective use of technology. Most entries received for the awards were also laced with technology gems or were technology driven.

With blockchain poised to disrupt the insurance industry globally, the awards honoured the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers (HKFI) for leveraging blockchain to tackle motor insurance fraud. HKFI was bestowed with the Innovation of the Year Award for its distributed-ledger technology (DLT) platform called the Motor Insurance DLT-based Authentication System (MIDAS) which was jointly developed in collaboration with FinTech firm CryptoBLK.

Acknowledging another remarkable development in the industry, the Technology Initiative of the Year title went to KYOBO Life Insurance Company for its AI-powered underwriting system named BARO (Best Analysis & Rapid Outcome). The system is a first-of-its-kind globally and meets the needs of sales consultants and customers by providing real-time instant underwriting results.

On a more societal level, Digit Insurance was conferred the General Insurance Company of the Year in view of its efforts in accelerating the insurance penetration rate in India through its online presence and processes. Established in 2016, the insurer is one of the youngest winners in this category.

Meanwhile, the awards introduced the Health Insurance Company of the Year category for the first time this year in recognition of more insurers playing a significant role in addressing the most critical health-protection needs.

Given its well-known comprehensive wellness programme and achievements in making healthcare accessible for customers, pan-Asian health insurer AIA aced the new category. The insurer’s constant product innovation based on contemporary health trends was highly commended.

Previous winners who managed to hold on to their titles despite a tough battle were Marsh Asia and RGA Reinsurance Company. They were the incumbent Broker of the Year and Life Reinsurer of the Year respectively.

This year, the awards also honoured Mr Teddy Hailamsah, an industry veteran and visionary leader who has contributed to the development of the insurance sector in both Indonesia and the wider Asian region. Throughout his career, he has been actively involved in regional insurance groupings including as the secretary general of the Asean Insurance Council for more than a decade.

As the insurance industry improves its diversity and inclusion efforts, another notable individual recognised for her professional accomplishments was Green Delta Insurance Company CEO Farzanah Chowdhury who was conferred the Woman Leader of the Year Award. The category was launched last year and celebrates the crucial contribution that women make to the insurance industry in Asia.

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Salute the Winners of the 23rd AIIA 2019

Life Insurance Company of the Year
Cathay Life Insurance Company

A leader in the life insurance industry since its founding, Cathay Life Insurance has been at the forefront of technological innovation and development for many years. As of 2018, Cathay Life owns $2.062tn in assets, employs 26,560 insurance agents and has one in three Taiwanese citizens as a policyholder. With 95% of its insurance agents issued tablets, the company has fully implemented paperless operation in its insurance service (99% of new policies are taken out via mobile devices).

Cathay Life uses the large quantities of legally collected customer information to understand customers’ behaviours and personas better and to create products tailored to customers’ needs.

The company also upholds its corporate social responsibility and is responsible for leading the market in realising the true value of insurance.

Having taken on the mantle of insurance industry leader, Cathay Life continues to promote insurance protection in Taiwan. In 2018, the number of policyholders who paid for comprehensive coverage grew tenfold compared with the previous two years, and the average face amount of traditional pure whole life insurance policies has increased by 150% compared with 2017.

Cathay Life hopes to contribute by continually raising the standards of Taiwan’s insurance sector, while making it easier for Taiwanese people to enjoy insurance protection.

General Insurance Company of the Year
Digit Insurance

General insurer Digit has earned the trust of 2.8m customers by simplifying the process of insurance buying in India.

Headquartered in Bengaluru, Digit is reimagining products and redesigning processes to provide simple and transparent insurance solutions. Through various partnerships, it has successfully delivered customised products at affordable prices through its technology-driven platform.

As a result of simplifying the insurance process, Digit finds that its customers have a better understanding of insurance, and hence are able to make informed decisions.

With its online presence and processes, Digit has democratised insurance and made it accessible in major cities, as well as smaller towns, which were otherwise marginalised when it came to insurance solutions.

With its mission to ‘Make Insurance Simple’, the insurer has its policy documents written in simple English comprising minimal jargons – to be understood even by 15-year-old kids. It also came up with a two-page overview document for all its products which explains what is covered, what is not covered and how the claims process works

Through its 100% automated claims-settlement facility, the insurer has managed to reduce the time taken to process claims from a week to just seven minutes. It has successful settled over 35,000 claims in the past financial year.

Digit intends to expand its retail portfolio with more products such as health insurance which will be launched soon. The insurer is backed by Fairfax Group, one of the largest financial services groups in the world, and its total funding amounts to $94m after its second round of investment.

Health Insurance Company of the Year
AIA Singapore

As one of the leading insurers in the nation, AIA Singapore has continually improved upon its strategy to deliver the best care and protection for its customers.

Its comprehensive healthcare proposition elevates customer experience and improves profit margins by not competing on price but on real value. The company aims to provide meaningful health insurance by making quality healthcare accessible.

AIA recently entered into an exclusive partnership with Medix to become the first insurer in Singapore to provide customers with another revolutionary healthcare proposition through personal medical case management services.

Its award-winning comprehensive wellness programme continues to be an effective platform for empowering customers to live healthier, longer and better lives. AIA Singapore also recently inked a partnership to drive wellness for more consumers in Singapore, rewarding them with mobile data incentives, lifestyle content and services.

Its partnership with Medix complements its first-in-market AIA quality healthcare partners network of over 400 qualified medical specialists. AIA Singapore is also the first and only insurer to pay members as they get healthier with AIA Vitality. These efforts add to AIA’s comprehensive healthcare proposition.

Beyond providing payouts, AIA has continued to introduce innovative new products that are developed based on today’s health trends and address customers’ unmet needs. Some of these products include the first-in-market critical illness (CI) protection tailored for pre-diabetics and Type 2 diabetics and first-in-market CI plan that provides comprehensive support beyond payouts which includes coverage for both major and recurring CIs, mental conditions and 100% refund of premium benefit.

Educational Service Provider of the Year
Muang Thai Academy

Constantly changing market conditions in this digital age require employees to keep up with trends and develop their professional skills. This is where Muang Thai Academy, the personnel development institute of Thai life insurer Muang Thai Life Assurance (MTL), steps in to promote skills development to among 20,000 MTL employees in Thailand as well as in the neighbouring Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

The academy arranges exclusive development programmes in addition to 1,500 basic courses and certification sessions every year, including functional skill development programmes for agents, a certified financial planner programme, integrated strategic management course as well as online marketing skill development and mindset coaching initiatives.

In terms of its teaching format, the academy integrates classroom training and e-learning which reduces time spent in classrooms significantly. It has also adopted an activity based learning approach through the integration of media such as Praxis Game Board as supporting tools for new agents and employees to acquire financial knowledge.

At the same time, it has implemented an equity/derivatives trading simulation application called Click 2 Win in collaboration with the Stock Exchange of Thailand. This will enable employees to practice their investment knowledge, especially on stocks, and be exposed to a real trading environment which will be beneficial for customer appointments.

In addition to internal employee development, Muang Thai Academy has also organised regular sessions for the public, such as knowledge-sharing programmes on savings and life insurance, across various provinces.

It also collaborates on projects with universities to develop the potential of university students including workshop series on the career of a financial advisor.

In partnership with government bodies, Muang Thai Academy has hosted finance related contests for students under the ‘Young Financial Star’ campaign for five consecutive years with the objective of instilling necessary financial skills and preparing the next generation to join the financial sector.

Innovation of the Year
The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers

The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers (HKFI) collaborated with CryptoBLK to jointly develop a distributed-ledgertechnology (DLT) platform called the Motor Insurance DLT-based Authentication System (MIDAS).

The system was developed in response to the lack of realtime verification of motor insurance documents through a trusted platform, which has created a loophole for fraudsters to forge insurance policies.

MIDAS allows insurers and intermediaries to provide necessary information of a motor policy to the DLT platform while regulatory bodies, law enforcement agencies and policyholders can verify the authenticity of such documents on a real-time basis. Maintaining data privacy is a crucial and integral part of the system design. By using a keyed cryptographic hash-based transformation mechanism together with DLT, MIDAS does not record or store any personally identifiable information, but still provides uniqueness to each record for authentication of documents.

MIDAS’ design has gone through a rigorous design thinking process which consists of multiple stages and regular reviews and discussions with various stakeholders in the Hong Kong insurance industry in order to ensure workflow compatibility, ease-of-use for end users, and a final product that can be employed in current business processes.

The official launch of MIDAS in December 2018 symbolised a major milestone in the digitisation of the Hong Kong insurance industry. It is the first and only industry-wide DLT application in production, not to mention the private-public partnership, therein bridging the gap between developers, engineers, end users and regulators.

As of 30 April, motor insurers representing 75% of written premium have participated in the MIDAS platform. The HK Police Force has also indicated its readiness for front line officers to use MIDAS as an investigation tool for motor accident and crime.

HKFI also intends to expand the MIDAS platform to other lines of business. (e.g. workman compensation for construction workers, eKYC for onboarding of customers, etc.) MIDAS can also be applied in other jurisdictions requiring minimum modifications or adaptation.

Service Provider of the Year
Merimen Group

From humble beginnings in Malaysia in 2010, Merimen is now present in some of the fastest growing Asian markets – Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Today, more than 150 leading insurers and takaful operators use its platform to perform over 2m transactions annually with over $2.5bn in transaction value.

Its end-to-end platform is used to communicate, transact, manage and process insurance claims, sales and underwriting activities. Specifically, Merimen’s proposition is a platform to adapt to insurers’ motor insurance claim processes flexibly; and then connect insurers with an ecosystem of partners (e.g. surveyors, adjustors, workshops, parts suppliers, lawyers, brokers/agents etc).

This proposition has been proven and acknowledged by insurers and their partners as the de-facto standard of the motor insurance industry.

Merimen’s commitment to helping its clients digitise motor claims has allowed insurers and their partners to generate new revenue and more efficiently manage critical activities in claims processing.

The software-as-a-service provider is also focused on raising productivity, business agility, and cost-optimisation, through technological support and talent acquisition and retention. It was the first company to introduce subscription-based, pay-per-use-transactional model to the motor industry. Using cloud services, its clients can grow without disproportionate IT overheads while enjoying a rapid transformation capability with lower capital expenditure and predictable cost.

Merimen also enables its clients to improve staff productivity by automating the bulk of the claims processing activities. Valuable human capital that is freed up can then be deployed to manage more complex cases and develop new products to fit customers’ needs.

In its quest to innovate continuously, Merimen in 2017 launched TrueSight, a suite of solutions encompassing advanced analytics, video technologies and machine-assisted decision-making to meet the growing need for data-driven and timely decision of its customers. TrueSight has helped to optimise insurers’ motor claims processes, speed up turnaround time for claims processing without compromising accuracy, and managed loss ratios better with up to 14% average savings on parts costs.

Corporate Risk Manager of the Year
Mr Alan Choo, Fraser & Neave Limited

Mr Alan Choo has been with Fraser and Neave (F&N) since 2006 and has held various positions as senior audit manager prior to his current responsibilities in the Group IT Department, where he puts his risk management experience to good and timely use amid and ever-growing cyber security threat.

Mr Choo is an accomplished risk professional with a track record that spans the banking, information technology, and hospitality industries. His tour of duty has taken him through complex risk challenges that required the best practice application and bold thinking to come out on top of each situation. In the last 18 months, he has been working closely with colleagues from the risk management department to develop a cyber security framework based on industry best practice standards, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology and is aligned to F&N’s enterprise risk management (ERM) policy and guidelines.

On top of that, he was also part of the pioneering effort working on cyber insurance as a mitigating cover and form of protection to help safeguard the organisation against business interruptions as a result of data breaches and various forms of attacks.

Within F&N, Mr Choo’s contributions as senior audit manager since 2006 includes managing the IT audit portfolio of over 100 business entities using both COSO Enterprise Risk Management Framework and COBIT IT Governance Framework. He also introduced the 4A Framework in IT Risk Management not only to help the business assess IT risks better, but also enable senior management to understand IT risks and exposure. He is currently an active trainer and lecturer on an industry endorsed ERM programme taught at the Singapore Management University. He has also assisted in the development and delivery of the Information Security and Business Continuity Management courses at NUS Institute of Systems Science.

He is also an active RIMS Risk Advisory Group member in Singapore, advocating, educating and engaging risk professionals on best practices, and has helped RIMS in establishing its presence in Asia since 2016 and eventually setting up a Singapore office in 2018.

Broker of the Year
Marsh Asia

Steering away from the traditional approach to broking, global insurance broker and risk adviser Marsh Asia adopts an industry-led tailored approach to meet the current and emerging needs of specific client segments through its comprehensive suite of broking services.

Marsh is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, a major global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people. Following its merger with JLT in April 2019, the broker has developed a more formidable team that can better assist to solve risk challenges of clients.

In 2018, its proprietary B2B2C digital insurance transaction platform Marsh Affinity Platform was customised to address objectives and challenges of its major smartphone manufacturer client. The customisation led to almost instantaneous premium quotes at the point-of-sale and substantial improvement in take-up rate, translating to corresponding increases in revenues for the client and underwriters.

Beyond direct client servicing, Marsh Asia prides itself as a thought-leader in the industry by helping both clients as well as colleagues to keep abreast of the latest developments through regular published reports and advisories on relevant breaking topics and events. Seeking to share information and take questions on issues, the broker also participates in and organises industry events.

At the industry level, Marsh Asia has taken a strong stand in advocating the diversity and inclusion agenda in the workplace.

At its own offices, Marsh Asia has three colleague resource groups which organise campaigns and activities to promote the development of colleagues belonging to ‘minority’ demographic groups who can find themselves marginalised in other firms or industries. This includes colleagues in the LGBT community and their allies, female colleagues as well as young and less-experienced colleagues.

General Reinsurer of the Year
Taiping Reinsurance Company

With its long-term focus in Asia, Hong Kong headquartered Taiping Reinsurance (TPRe) has established long-term and stable business partnerships with large primary property and casualty insurers in major markets regionally.

TPRe has progressed to be one of the core reinsurers for several major carriers by addressing new and complex reinsurance needs through innovation, advanced product development and service enhancements.

In the face of major global Nat CAT losses over the past few years, the reinsurer’s swift action to reimburse clients despite suffering a $12m accumulated loss has been widely welcomed and appreciated. This reflects TPRe’s credibility and reliability in protecting clients as it augments its international presence with its global business layout enabling effective diversification of business risks.

TPRe was incorporated in Hong Kong in 1980 as a professional reinsurer backed by its listed parent company, the state-owned China Taiping Insurance. The reinsurer assists clients and government in developing weather index insurance for typhoons, earthquakes and solar radiation. In collaboration with the National Meteorological Centre of China Meteorological Administration, it seeks to improve efficiency in the agricultural insurance industry by exploring new catastrophic products and agricultural risk solutions.

It has also worked with the Macau SAR Government and local insurers to reach a consensus on setting up a natural catastrophe pool to be operated jointly by the government, insurers and reinsurers.

In Hong Kong, TPRe also responded to the local government’s Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme by launching customised life and non-life reinsurance solutions as well as offering risk sharing arrangements via partnerships with six major market players.

It also offered comprehensive support to the newly set up captive ‘Shanghai Electric Insurance’ in the territory which includes consultation on license application, technical advice in the context of underwriting, risk management, business system, staff training, accounting and financial returns reporting. Currently, the reinsurer is seeking to become one of the major reinsurers in the global captive (re)insurance market in the near term and has four potential captive cases on hand.

Life Reinsurer of the Year
RGA

RGA continues to bring its clients reliable and forwardlooking solutions, advancing innovation throughout the industry, even as insurers face complex challenges from changing consumer needs, evolving regulatory demands and economic uncertainty.

By working with a number of technology partners, leveraging both existing and new data sources, and combining it with underwriting, product development, and research, RGA continues to build and expand an insurance ecosystem of holistic products and solutions to meet the fast-changing needs of consumers and clients.

RGA creates holistic solutions by leveraging cross-functional collaboration, and has invested significantly in assembling diverse teams, allowing RGA to foster a shared ‘One RGA’ culture around innovation and creativity.

These collaborative efforts have resulted in RGA establishing dedicated product development and solutions teams in local offices. It has also formed regional solutions teams that bring together various subject matter experts in one team – pricing, product development, underwriting, medical, claims, data analytics, business development, and marketing – to focus on developing innovative solutions at a regional level.

To meet the evolving needs of clients, RGA continues to build on innovative solutions previously launched. Given the fast pace of change, adapting existing innovations can be just as important as introducing them in the first place. RGA combines elements of data, underwriting, risk scoring, and market research with existing product features to create new solutions for underinsured risks.

RGA works diligently with clients to keep up with consumers’ changing needs and stay ahead of the dynamic regulatory environment, pushing boundaries to develop innovative products and making insurance more inclusive, innovative, and accessible.

Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility Award
Aviva Ltd

Aviva Singapore’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives are built on sustainable programmes, where its employees contribute meaningfully to the community by addressing specific social and environmental issues in Singapore. Its strong focus on employee volunteering, rather than just monetary donations is one of the things which sets Aviva Singapore apart in its CSR efforts.

Its flagship programme – Meals with Love – was started in 2017, with employees forming teams of three to five people to adopt a vulnerable, elderly person for six months. During each monthly visit, they bring healthy groceries, help with household chores and provide companionship to their adopted beneficiaries who often live alone, have medical conditions and are isolated from society.

In 2018, it expanded the programme to include those who are differently abled, in line with its business focus of providing disability coverage.

Tapping on digital advancements, it also launched the Home+ programme last year where it installed sensors in the homes of 50 elderly individuals. The sensor will automatically send out an alert if the resident has a medical emergency.

Its various CSR initiatives gained strong traction in the last year. Meals with Love saw more than 50% increase in staff participation and 65% increase in homes adopted, bringing the total to 241 employees and 53 homes.

In addition, Aviva Singapore rolled out several initiatives to reduce the company’s environmental footprint, especially in paper (reduced by ~40%) and single use plastic (eliminated ~20,000 plastic cups each year). To encourage a change in behaviour, Aviva Singapore gave its employees a set of reusable cutlery and a recycling bag. It also worked with cafes to provide discounts to employees who brought their own cups. As a result, it is saving an average of 1,600 plastic cups a month from being used.

Its efforts were recognised when it was presented with an award from the president of Singapore for its CSR efforts, having attracted attention from the media and the government sector for the social causes that it supports.

Technology Initiative of the Year
KYOBO Life Insurance Company

In order to keep up with the rapid pace of change, KYOBO Life Insurance Company created BARO (Best Analysis & Rapid Outcome), a world’s first project developing AI underwriting system which transforms human work and covers all insurance products. (‘Baro’ is a Korean word which means ‘promptly’).

BARO is an AI-powered underwriting system that thinks rationally like humans. Combined with KYMA (Kyobo underwriting Manual) there is an online communication system between underwriters and sales consultants in insurance companies, where sales consultants write underwriting requests online and underwriters deliver responses to the inquiries.

BARO meets the needs of sales consultants and customers by providing real-time responses. By being able to know the instant underwriting result, sales consultants work more quickly and increase their sales. KYOBO also created response templates specifically designed to insurance products based on past results, which can result in more than 10 different response scenarios. Giving out a summary of a result for each template, BARO supports underwriters with their tasks.

BARO’s distinctive features include natural language processing and an ensemble machine-learning model of both numbers and text. Thus, BARO is able to process enquiries quickly and with great accuracy. Given that BARO is a newborn AI, KYOBO expects greater accuracy and language processing in the future, as it receives more information, interaction and data.

Digital Insurer of the Year
FWD Financial Limited

Acompany that is fully focused on the early-adoption of innovative ideas and the creation of inventive projects and customer experiences, FWD is a trailblazer in the market, setting out to deliver insurance with a technology-driven mindset and ultimately changing how people feel about insurance.

The core of its digital offering is iFWD, a direct-to-customer digital commerce platform, which makes insurance interactive and accessible by simplifying the application process, allowing customers to enjoy coverage and benefits immediately.

The company strives to anticipate and implement trends early before the idea becomes an industry norm, and demonstrate that innovation and results can go hand in hand. In its three years of existence – iFWD has firmly established itself as the foremost direct and digital distribution channel in the territory. As of Q4 2018, iFWD remained as the digital market leader for the 13th consecutive quarter, capturing a market share of over 42% with a Life APE totalling $52.5m in 2018.

The ability of iFWD to retain its market-leading status in the world of digital insurance is largely due to its willingness to roll out unprecedented services, such as: Hong Kong’s first online financial needs analysis with product recommendations; first online universal life saving product; instant withdrawal via a digital wallet; and the city’s first telematics mobile app a for motorists – Drivamatics.

InsurTech of the Year
PolicyBazaar

With about 10m unique customers and 400,000 monthly transactions, PolicyBazaar.com (PolicyBazaar) is India’s largest digital insurance platform.

Founded in 2008, PolicyBazaar has grown to become India’s most trusted insurance marketplace. It has led the change in how Indians perceive and buy insurance, while staying true to three primary objectives:

  • Raising awareness that insurance offers protection.
  • Creating customer-centric products, and using technology to improve customer experience by making the process of buying insurance quicker and more seamless.
  • Making digital the preferred channel for insurance products.

Currently, PolicyBazaar’s portfolio contributes to 25% of India’s life cover, 7% of retail health business, 6% of motor insurance, and 1.5% of two-wheeler insurance.

This growth trajectory has been achieved because the company has earned the trust of its customers, who view it not only as a portal that facilitates the comparison and sale of insurance products, but also as a trusted adviser. This is evidenced by the 30,000 queries relating to insurance products that it receives on a daily basis.

In 2018, PolicyBazaar developed an industry-first initiative called Self-Inspection which enables it to facilitate the ease of buying and renewing motor insurance online, eliminate the need for physical video inspection of vehicles, reduce renewal time of lapsed motor insurance policies from a few days to a matter of hours, and enhance customer engagement.

Since its launch, it has led to an increase in lapsed insurance renewable, with a 96% growth in lapsed insurance policy revenue, and an increase of about 51% in overall motor insurance conversions. It has also helped to increase the renewal of relapsed policies from 50% to 80%, and facilitated the purchase of nearly 30,000 policies.

Furthermore, it has significantly reduced consumer complaints from an average of five a day to just one a day. PolicyBazaar has backing from a host of investors including the likes of Soft Bank, InfoEdge (Naukri.com), Temasek, Tiger Global Management, True North, Premji Invest, besides investments from other PE funds and family offices.

Young Leader of the Year
Mr Rohit Nambiar, AXA AFFIN Life Insurance Berhad

Mr Rohit Nambiar, 39, was appointed as the CEO of AXA AFFIN Life Insurance (AALI) in Malaysia in December 2017. He has approximately 15 years of experience in the insurance industry, and has worked in India, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. In that time, he has held various roles from transformation, business development, analytics and mergers and acquisitions.

Prior to his current role, Mr Nambiar was chief transformation and operations officer at AXA AFFIN General Insurance (AAGI) in Malaysia from January 2016 and was in charge of transformation, operations, IT and big data. With transformation being his forte, he established strategies to roll out sustainable innovation, and launched new competencies including AI, robotics and big data at AAGI to drive greater operational efficiency.

At AAGI, Mr Nambiar spearheaded the launch of the first telematics insurance in Malaysia – AXA Flexi Drive, which was awarded the New Insurance Product of the Year.

Mr Nambiar joined AALI with the task of transforming the company. Since then, AALI has achieved several highlights, which include the introduction of the first online medical card in Malaysia, the launch of a wellness programme which motivates Malaysians to get healthier with cashback rewards, and an increase in the number of females in leadership positions – 62.5% of the Exco members in AALI are female.

“Insurance was not my calling initially. I always wanted to be in the advertising field and even joined a PR firm for 11 months. Then I stumbled upon a research job which came up in AXA. It was then, that I realised it’s a fantastic profession to be in. Where else do you actually help a customer when they are in dire financial need? It was a very strong emotional calling for me,” said Mr Nambiar.

“Ever since then, there’s no turning back. I’ve just celebrated my 15th year in AXA this year. I’m honored and grateful to be growing together with the company and I hope I’ve made some impact by adding value to this noble industry,” he said.

Woman Leader of the Year
Ms Farzanah Chowdhury, Green Delta Insurance Company

Ms Farzanah Chowdhury, an award-winning chartered insurer, is the managing director and CEO of Green Delta Insurance Company, Bangladesh’s largest general insurance institution. Being the first and the youngest woman CEO in the insurance industry in Bangladesh, Ms Chowdhury was bestowed with the recognition of a local SDG pioneer in 2016 by the UN Global Compact for her initiatives around Nibedita, a path-breaking insurance scheme for women.

Over the span of her career, Ms Chowdhury has received several awards and accolades for her strategic high-impact insurance programmes in Bangladesh. These programmes have had a positive bearing on some of the major issues facing Bangladesh today, including inclusivity, empowering women, risk mitigation, capacity-building, protection of vulnerable groups and public advocacy, among others.

In particular, her work in female empowerment has been recognised by a large number of renowned groups, including Women Economic Forum, Anannya, EO Global, Bangladesh Brand Forum and SAARC Women Association.

And in a major endorsement of her leadership, she was awarded the prestigious Public Trust Award from CII UK for building public trust in financial services and insurance. She is also the global goodwill ambassador of CII UK in Bangladesh.

Today, recognising the national need of sustainable socioeconomic development to lift millions of her countrymen out of poverty, Ms Chowdhury is among the business leaders of Bangladesh dedicated to high-impact developmental work to ensure a positive future for her country.

With a vision to democratise insurance in Bangladesh – a market with among the lowest levels of insurance penetration globally – Ms Chowdhury has turned concepts into real case studies in the realm of her pioneering contributions in retail and SME insurance, women insurance, microinsurance and weather index-based agriculture insurance, among others.

Ms Chowdhury remains passionate and committed to making an insurance-led difference in the lives of others.

Lifetime Achievement of the Year
Teddy Hailamsah, PT Asuransi Central Asia

Mr Teddy Hailamsah is known as a visionary leader in the industry who has contributed to the development of the insurance sector, both domestically in Indonesia as well as the wider Asian region.

He started his insurance career as a general staff member at PT Asuransi Central Asia (ACA) in 1976, before working his way up to lead the company as its president director in 1996 – a position which he still holds till today. In that time, ACA has grown into one of the top general insurers in Indonesia with profit after tax having grown from IDR22bn ($1.6m) in 1996 to IDR301bn in 2018.

Mr Hailamsah believes the insurance industry can only grow and be sustainable if people believed in insurance, that even the poor can receive coverage, and that the industry can be a pathway to giving others an opportunity to upgrade themselves.

In that regard, he initiated an apprenticeship programme at ACA which has since produced many insurance leaders in Indonesia. And to demonstrate his commitment to those who are less well-off, he has actively supported various government programmes for microinsurance in the country.

Within the industry, Mr Hailamsah was one of the architects of the annual Indonesia Rendezvous, a forum aimed at connecting the domestic insurance sector with international reinsurers. He was also responsible for initiating ‘Insurance Day’ in Indonesia in October 2006 to promote greater awareness of insurance in the country. Since then, Insurance Day has been marked each year in Indonesia on the 18 October.

Throughout his career, Mr Hailamsah has been actively involved in regional insurance groupings. He served as secretary general of the Asean Insurance Council for more than a decade, during which time he fostered greater collaboration among the various insurance bodies throughout Southeast Asia.

He has also been a permanent executive board member of the East Asian Insurance Congress since 2004.