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Manulife Vietnam has recently received the ISO 9001:2008 certification for its quality management system, which is an important milestone during its 12-year development process in the country. David Wong, senior vice president of Manulife ASEAN Operations, speaks to VIR’s Thanh Hieu, about this landmark and the potential for the life insurance market in Vietnam.
Manulife Vietnam is the first foreign life insurer in Vietnam accredited with the ISO 9001: 2008 by the Bureau Veritas Certification (BVC), a global leader in conformity assessment and certification services. What is the significance of this certification to Manulife Vietnam’s long-term development strategy?
Manulife has always prided itself on being the most professional life insurer in Vietnam. We may not be the biggest but we will always be at the top in terms of product innovation and customer service.
This certification is just another demonstration of our commitment to our customers. It’s significant for us because most other companies tell you how many sales they made and how big they are, but very few actually speak about the quality of their service. So I believe we are leading the industry in this and we hope other companies will follow suit.
How will the ISO accreditation help improve the quality of Manulife Vietnam to provide products and services to its customers?
If you actually go into detail of how one gets the ISO certification, you will realise that there are many criteria. It’s not given just for having excellent service, it requires a company to meet many international standards. By applying for the certification, our various departments have to follow a standard set by the world’s top-notch service provider. This achievement is just the beginning of our journey for service excellence.
We are committed to continuing to improve on our quality management system and to provide the best services possible to our customers.
What has Manulife Vietnam done to prove its position as one of the top three life insurers in Vietnam?
We actually do a lot. As I often say, we always focus on product and service innovation. We have to differentiate ourselves by diversifying our product portfolio to meet the needs of various customer segments, from the urban to the rural.
We are proud that we actually have the broadest product portfolio that Vietnamese customers can choose from. In terms of service quality, we look at many other ways to be innovative. We want to modernise the way we service our customers. Using mobile phones as an easy channel for premium collection is a clear example.
And in order to provide our customers with the best financial consultancy, we are committed to building the strongest and most professional team of staff and agents in the country.
So far, we have a network of over 10,000 professionally qualified agents, serving more than 300,000 clients throughout the country. “Growing with quality” is the key focus that makes us where we are now.
Could you share the latest third-quarter business results of Manulife Vietnam?
In the third quarter we grew, compared with last year, over 40 per cent in term of annualised premium equivalent (APE). We are actually increasing our market share and will continue to grow financially strong. We are very happy with this business result given the current economic challenges.
Manulife has been present in Vietnam for 12 years. What do you think of the potential for the life insurance market in Vietnam in the next five years? How can Manulife Vietnam take full advantage of its potential?
I’m actually very optimistic about Vietnam’s life insurance market. Twelve years ago there were only three or four life insurance companies. Today there are 14 and for sure more will come. We believe that this is just an early stage for life insurance in Vietnam. The penetration is still low and the market is still big enough for many players.
To take full advantage of this potential, in the next five years, we will do a lot more product and service innovation as well as quickly increase the customer base. While continuing the focus on the major urban cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, we will expand to rural areas and provinces, using general agencies and micro-insurance.