InsureDIY has recently had the opportunity to interview Steven Leong, Senior Vice President of MSIG Singapore, to learn more about his advice for Singaporeans when buying insurance, how he uses insurance, and how MSIG has served Singaporeans in the past decades.
Steven Leong is a Senior Vice President and the Head of Retail Distribution of MSIG, Singapore. He is responsible for the growth and development of the consumer segment business at MSIG Singapore, and provides the strategic direction and leadership in digital partnerships and distribution, bancassurance, product research and innovation, and digital marketing.
1. How do you personally use insurance?
Having seen how insurance plays an important role in people’s lives, I have both life insurance and general insurance to help me reduce any financial uncertainties and keep accidental losses manageable. Premiums for general insurance, like home, travel and personal accident are very affordable and they have enabled me to diversify my financial planning, and at the same time, protect my loved ones and our assets from any unforeseen and unfortunate events.
2. When you’re choosing insurance, what do you feel is the most important criteria?
We have this saying in insurance that claim is the ‘’moment of truth’’ in delivering on the promise of peace of mind. When customers make a claim at a time of crisis, it can be a difficult and an emotive experience, and how the insurer handles the claim will either make or break the customer experience. My search for a good insurer is no different. The insurer’s level of claims service and support are important to me and I would read up on online reviews about the insurer or find out more through my business network.
3. Is there any insider or less known tips that you would tell your friends or family about insurance?
This is more of a reminder than a tip on buying travel insurance early and not leaving it until the last minute, especially since most travel insurance cover starts way before the trip. In instances where your trip has to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances or reasons, travel insurance such as MSIG’s TravelEasy, would cover for the costs incurred, such as unused travel fare, hotel accommodation and entertainment tickets. Our customers would be covered as long as the insured event has occurred within 30 days before the start of the trip.
4. MSIG has been serving Singaporeans for many years. What are the market innovations that you have seen in Singapore?
There have been many significant shifts in consumer behaviour over the past decade, particularly with the explosion of digital commerce. Consumers are becoming more internet-savvy and engage in product comparisons online for their buying decisions. This means insurers must match up to their elevated expectations in terms of customer service and experience.
To keep up with this change, MSIG saw the need to start on our own digital transformation four years ago. Some of the digital innovations that we have rolled out are first of its kind in the industry, but there are also other initiatives that are generally seen across the industry, which is moving fast towards a digital-first approach.
Take for example, the purchasing of insurance digitally via mobile device, electronic policies and instant claims payout, are hygiene factors that customers have come to expect of today’s customer journey. Some insurers have taken the step further by leveraging AI and IoTs to deepen their digital engagement with customers. These are manifested through automated customer service using bots and live chats, and greater personalisation of insurance using data insights gained from customers’ lifestyles.
Aside from the use of smart technologies as key enablers, the expansion of the insurance ecosystem and partnerships with other industries have also pushed the innovation boundaries. With growing digitalisation and advanced analytics capabilities, I have no doubt we will continue to see many more innovation breakthroughs coming from the industry.
5. What has MSIG done to keep up with the needs of fellow Singaporeans?
COVID-19 has sparked a shift in how we work and live, which in turn has reshaped our protection needs. For example, it’s almost unimaginable now to travel without COVID-19 coverage. And in this new era of work, self-employment has also become more common.
To keep up with these newfound protection concerns and changing lifestyles, MSIG offers COVID-19 coverage for travel insurance ever since international borders started to reopen at the end of last year. This pent-up demand for travel was reinforced in a recent survey commissioned by MSIG, where 3 in 5 respondents have expressed a high desire for leisure travel this year. Further to that, 82% of them say they will purchase travel insurance for their vacation and cited COVID-19 coverage as the top reason for buying travel insurance.
During the pandemic, we continued to drive innovation and launched new digital products such as CancerCare Plus (a cancer-specific insurance) and also extended our motor insurance to cover electric vehicles in view of the growing trend towards sustainability.
As marketers, we are constantly finding ways to deepen our engagement with our customers, whether it is through product innovation or seamless customer journey. Connecting with like-minded business partners like InsureDIY has also enabled us to scale our offerings quickly and make them accessible and affordable to fellow Singaporeans.
6. What do you think makes MSIG unique, as compared to other insurers?
MSIG is unique in that we are one of the few foreign-based general insurers here who offer both personal and commercial insurance and have equally strong capabilities in both portfolios. Our huge geographical network across the region meant that our corporate customers can tap on our global expertise and financial capacity to underwrite their varied risk exposures. Coupled with that, we have a wide multi-channel distribution network which has helped build a strong brand familiarity amongst consumers.
7. What are MSIG’s upcoming plans? Will there be any new insurance offerings?
Definitely! We are ideating new products as we speak to better relate to the evolving needs of our retail and corporate customers. One of our key business focuses this year, for instance, is to accelerate the growth and development of Financial Lines products, including cyber insurance for businesses and individuals. We will continue to keep our pulse on the market and bring award-winning offerings to our customers.
8. What do you hope to provide MSIG customers?
Peace of mind. This is actually one of the key attributes that consumers have consistently associated MSIG with in our brand surveys. As an insurer, we play a vital role in providing financial security to our customers in their most difficult times. This is what makes our work truly meaningful, and our purpose fulfilled when we are able to help our customers get back on their feet.
9. Is there anything you’d like MSIG’s potential customers to know?
MSIG may not offer the cheapest cover and there is a good reason for that. We believe in providing comprehensive and relevant protection so that our customers have the peace of mind about their insurance. We want to encourage our customers to not just compare prices, but to also consider the coverage when shopping for insurance to ensure their protection needs are well taken care of.
Nevertheless, to keep our pricing competitive, we run online marketing promotions regularly and our customers can check them out on our website and enjoy those instant discounts and deals.
Interested to know more?
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