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Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd chief executive officer, Gan Leong Hin (left) and Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd chief transformation, Teh Kim Leng aim for a double-digit growth for new sales of life and medical insurance segments. Pix by Hafiz Sohaimi

KUALA LUMPUR: Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd (PAMB) is confident of recording a double-digit growth this year from RM1.5 billion achieved last year coming from new sales for both life and medical insurance segments.

Chief executive officer Gan Leong Hin said the target would be driven by planned digital transformation initiatives and continued customers’ solutions innovative products and services.

"Our digital transformation makes the process of doing business easier - do more with less. It means that we can do more with the same resources and capability.

"The current concept of running a business has changed as technology empowers the processes. Technology is an important tool for us to do business. Technology empowers our people and removes inefficiency in doing business while enhancing customers’ experience.

"Thus, we need to reskill and redeploy our workforce into different roles,” he told the New Straits Times in an interview recently.

Gan said PAMB’s digital transformation journey would not involve in headcounts reductions but rather limiting its recruitment growth by maximising existing workforce’s efficiency and productivity.

“Our digital transformation programmes ensure seamless end-to-end process for customers’ experiences.

Prudential Malaysia currently employs about 2,800 local staff with additional 20,000 insurance agents nationwide, while partnering with Standard Chartered Bank and UOB Bank.

“We are optimistic about growing our business in Malaysia. We have 15 million customers in Asia and aim to double our customers to 30 million over five years.

“Locally, we have about 2.1 million customers for both life/takaful and medical insurance. We expect our local customers’ base to grow double over five years,” he added.

However, Gan said the penetration rate of insurance is relatively low in the country with less than 40 per cent of Malaysians have life/medical policy.

Moreover, he said life/medical insurance coverage (sum insured) is also low among Malaysians, averaging RM55,000 to RM60,000 per policy.

“A lot of people still underinsured and this posed a challenged for us and Malaysians. Insurance should be seen as risk-management for individuals and families,” he said.

Gan said a lower insurance penetration rate in Malaysia allows the company to grow its business by taking this opportunity to convince people to subscribe to its products and policies.

PAMB had last year paid out about RM178 million in crisis claims.

PAMB chief transformation and operations officer Teh Kim Leng said the company had spent RM250 million for its digital transformation initiatives since 2014, adopting advanced technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) to support its future growth.

“We have introduced several digital initiatives namely ‘Pulse by Prudential’ – all-in-one digital health platform and ‘Pru Way Plus’ – digital sales platform and ‘Pru Serve Plus’ – an integrated office on-the-go to improve our services.

“These include how we engage customers to understand their life journey, fulfilling customers’ needs proactively, efficiently and effectively.

“With the whole digital AI-powered data the platform, it allows us to understand our customers better, and then we can provide personalised services,” he said, adding that technology assists the company in expanding its reach in capturing wider customers’ base.

Pulse by Prudential aims to create greater awareness of health issue in Malaysia, while making healthcare more inclusive and accessible and providing protection as well as helping people prevent and postpone the onset of diseases.

Pru Way Plus allows agents and banks partners to conduct and automate end-to-end sales process from doing analysis needs for customers, recommend appropriate solutions (products and services), provide insurance quotations and payments.

Pru Serve Plus platform allows agents to serve customers services digitally such as claims payment and policy modifications while on-the-go, anywhere and anytime.

Meanwhile, Gan said PAMB is currently in discussions with the regulator and potential partner to comply with the Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) instruction for foreign insurers to increase local shareholding up to 30 per cent.

“Prudential will always operate within the country’s regulations. We are aware of the requirement; we have on-going discussion with regulators on this issue,” he said.

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