An Interview with Kelvin Lim


FST Media: What key insights and views will you bring to your new role at Hong Leong Assurance? 

FST Media: What key insights and views will you bring to your new role at Hong Leong Assurance? 

Lim: Having worked closely with our customers for many years, understanding their behaviour and needs, I hope to now create a better brand for this company. Throughout my career, I have also witnessed strategies that were highly effective and we will be putting together initiatives that will allow us to differentiate ourselves in this Singapore market. 

FST Media: What are your key priorities for the next 12 to 18 months in your new role? 

Lim: We will continue to innovate with products that will bring relevance to the consumers in this market. The current team has put together a very impressive foundation for our company, the technology here is extremely robust and the products are very competitive. My biggest focus now is to build awareness for this company: our products will only add value if consumers know it, like it and want it. We are committed to serve our customers with an element of “wow” at every touchpoint and to be there for them when they need us most. With more than 70% of the population in Singapore using the internet and close to 60% on social media, digital marketing will be a key distribution channel for Hong Leong Assurance. We are committed to bring solutions to customers at a time when they are looking for one. Our approach will be targeted to give our customers an amazing experience and also to maximize our productivity. 

FST Media: What technology or innovation will make a significant impact on the insurance industry in the next five years? 

Lim: Digital marketing will be critical for developed markets in the next five years. Digital marketing is all about reaching out to consumers online, on their mobiles, and through social media. These are the three key areas where our team will commit and invest our energies. However, any technology that will bring insurers to a specific consumer segment, engage them and ultimately convert them into sales will definitely be key for many of us in this industry. 

FST Media: What is your strategy to engage consumers with insurance in the Singapore market? 

Lim: Consumers in the Singapore market are very savvy. At Hong Leong Assurance, we engage with our customers at a different level. With a complete digital platform, we are set up to bring solutions to customers at a relevant time when they need them. In addition, we strive to innovate with products that are customer-centric and we make sure these are competitive products that we will use ourselves and recommend to our family members. For me, that is the best way to know that you have a distinctive product. We also have a very aggressive plan to give our customers an extraordinary customer service experience. Our customer service and claims team are fully managed in-house and are well equipped to give our customers a great experience at all engagement points. You need to be able to connect with your customers to give them confidence so that they will come back for more. 

FST Media: How will you leverage data analytics to deliver a seamless customer experience across all channels? 

Lim: Big data has been a major trend these days for many organizations but to me, the terabytes of data are only really precious if you know how to use it effectively. The most important objective for our company is getting to the right segment of customers at the right time. The market today is no longer one where you reach out widely and hope for a conversion. You have to know your customers before you can give them the experience that they are looking for. 

FST Media: How will real-time engagement revolutionise the insurance industry? 

Lim: At the moment, Hong Leong Assurance is very well set up for real-time responses and real-time purchases. All our products are available online so that you can view them at any time of the day. Real-time analytics and engagement will allow us to better understand consumers’ behaviour online and allow us to get to them almost instantly. It is only when a good offer is coupled with a consumer need that you have a sales conversion. Technology will lead the way in how insurance products will be distributed in this market. 

FST Media: What role does social media marketing play in the overall customer journey? 

Lim: Social media marketing is a definitely a channel that we cannot ignore. With social media accounting for such a high percentage of online users, you cannot leave it out of your plans. Having said that, social media marketing can only yield benefits if it is managed properly. There are many positives in using social media, including having a wider marketing outreach and a more interactive platform which can be very good for the business. However, you do need to be on standby in real-time to address all customer complaints and issues. 

FST Media: How can digital and marketing departments work together effectively? 

Lim: Digital and marketing departments have to find that synergy to be effective. Ultimately, I would like to make them one team and set common KPIs so that both aspects of the business work towards a single objective. Even if you have a superb product, you will not be effective on any marketing campaign if you do not have a synchronised approach for customer segmentation and knowing how to target your customers effectively. 

FST Media: What is the future of wearables and telematics in the insurance industry? 

Lim: If I had to make a prediction, I would say that we are not too far away from having wearables are telematics in the insurance industry. The concept of “pay-as-you-drive” may be made possible by incorporating this technology. It will be very interesting if drivers only pay for car insurance premiums based on how much distance was covered or where they have driven to. It may even be a case where you are charged less for your home insurance because you always have someone at home to make sure everything is well-maintained. Premiums may only increase during the period when you and your family are on vacation. In terms of improving our customer service, this technology may allow us to determine whether a customer is frustrated and our team can be better prepared to answer their tough questions. With this technology, we can help provide relevant solutions to our customers and better value to our services. 

FST Media: How will you encourage a culture of innovation in your team? 

Lim: A culture of innovation begins with your leadership. The senior team has to be open to new ideas, test them and then make evaluations. Technology and innovation are moving so fast that it is no longer about spending a massive budget with a few technology providers and hoping for returns. The effectiveness of innovation will only come from a passionate team who possess a desire to match technology with insurance solutions. We have seen that innovation takes time. You need small successes as factors for motivation. Building on this, you would invest more time, more resources, and more money as you hone in on the solutions that have a proven track record. You know you have a culture of innovation when your team feels it and keeps wanting to do more for your customers. 

FST Media: What is the legacy you wish to leave? 

Lim: I have a strong desire to build an extraordinary brand for insurance solutions in this market. It has to be a brand that gives customers confidence and it will be a brand that puts customers ahead of all other aspects of the business. Secondly, I am passionate about building a robust engine for this operation. I want to build a team that has a strong foundation in every aspect of the business, from product development to marketing to customer service. The supply of good talent in this industry is also a challenge and it is definitely part of my plans to groom new talent for our company and to help develop the insurance industry in Singapore.