This is crucial in order to meet customers’ expectations, and to remain relevant within the insurance landscape.
Grace Quah, head of agency distribution at AmGeneral Insurance Bhd (AmGeneral), talks to Leaderonomics about what the company is doing to provide support for its huge network of agents which represent both of AmGeneral’s brands, Kurnia and AmAssurance.
“This is a time of change for the industry and we at AmGeneral are always looking for ways to support our agents through necessary developments. We see our agents as a crucial partner in the way that we do business and that is why we need to work together.” —Grace Quah
Supporting those who matter
As AmGeneral makes its way towards the digital era, Quah is ensuring that their agents are able to ride the same wave.
She said, “We have developed agent websites to allow for our agents’ customers to transact online. Some might say going online negates the need for an intermediary, but, we feel that the value agents are able to bring to customers, goes beyond the point of buying or renewing a policy.
“It is thus important that we make it easy for agents to do business with us too.”
The support and collaboration with agents does not stop there. When asked, Quah who also sits on the Distribution Management Sub-Committee of General Insurance Association of Malaysia, is quick to list out the various other support and tools that AmGeneral provides to its agent network.
“At the end of the day, their customer is our customer, so, we’ve established ways to help our agents work easier and better,” she added.
One of AmGeneral’s recent initiatives is focused on policy renewals and providing agents with a host of services to help them connect with customers on their policy renewal reminders. This includes short message service (SMS), mail, and an outbound call centre that makes calls to customers, all on behalf of the agent.
Quah shared that they have also developed an agency sales dashboard that allow agents to track and manage their own performance.
With the growing competitiveness of the insurance industry, especially with the eventual detariffication in the Malaysian general insurance market, Quah explained the significance of providing quality service:
“My main priority is to ensure our agents are ready to participate in a detariff market and to stay relevant in this industry. This involves not only high levels of service, but also technical knowledge of insurance products, so they are able to provide the right advice to customers when managing their risks.”
With the upcoming national roll-out of detariffication, Quah stressed the importance of providing agents with the right tools so they are able to serve their customers better.
To enable this, AmGeneral has embarked on an internal initiative to put in place a structured approach across all its 32 branches nationwide, to ensure that all their agents are getting the right support across the business.
“In Malaysia, relationships play a big part in this industry and that’s why I believe that as long as agents continue to evolve and enrich themselves with the right skills and knowledge, regardless of any changes in the industry, our partnership will continue.”—Grace Quah
Keeping it simple for consumers
Whilst insurance companies hope that nothing unfortunate happens to their customers, AmGeneral is committed to always be there to help in any eventuality.
That is when the claims department comes in to provide customers with the due care that they deserve.
Arron Mann, the head of claims at AmGeneral said, “The biggest misconception that consumers have is that insurance companies don’t want to pay claims.
“I can assure everyone that at AmGeneral Insurance, we absolutely want to pay legitimate claims. In fact, we pay out approximately RM1bil per annum to customers. That’s about RM4mil per working day that goes back into the community to help customers.”
Having spent 20 years in the insurance industry in Australia and Malaysia, Mann brings with him a depth of experience and knowledge.
He shared that for claims, the focus for him is to balance the need for great service with sustainable cost management, which is what AmGeneral aims to achieve with a team of 450 people in the claims department.
An example Mann provided was of a recent bus crash that claimed the lives of several Malaysians.
He said, “Obviously this was a terrible situation, and almost immediately we knew that the travel policy was written through us for the people on that trip. We had settlement cheques ready for the next of kin within four days of the incident because we didn’t want them to worry about insurance or claims. We know that in that situation, nothing will make it better, but, our aim was to ensure they had one less thing to worry about.
“This is indicative of how we want to help customers and the importance of being customer-centric in your thinking, as opposed to being process-driven.”
When asked about the claims process in AmGeneral, Mann said, “Whilst I can walk you through the process, we feel that a customer should not have to worry about the details. After all, that’s what they pay us to do.
“To simplify things, we ask customers to remember one thing and that is to “call us first”. As their insurance company, we deal with thousands of claims per day, so, we know what to do and can keep them informed along the way.”
As part of the drive to simplify the claims process for customers, AmGeneral launched their new and improved Kurnia and AmAssurance One Touch App for customers to get what they need at their fingertips.
Mann said, “We may not be perfect in everything that we do, but our intentions are honourable and we are constantly looking at how we can alleviate the pain points experienced by customers.”
To embed customer-centricity in the organisation, AmGeneral uses in-depth customer surveys to drive process changes in the company.
This allows for the company to understand what customers essentially want and to continuously improve on the services provided.
He said, “This includes incremental things like SMS updates to customers on the progress of their claims, proactive follow-ups, and overhauls of other areas.
“For example, our windscreen claims process was one area we identified as needing a change. Based on the feedback received, we made changes and introduced specialist windscreen repairers who are able to fix or replace customers’ windscreens in a matter of hours, with no upfront payment, and we give a two-year guarantee on the workmanship.”
Customers will be glad to know that AmGeneral is the first and only company in Malaysia that provides this type of guarantee.
With a focus on listening to their customers first, Quah and Mann are set on enhancing AmGeneral’s service delivery as part of the company’s ambition of becoming the most trusted insurer in Malaysia.