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Building a Career on Trust
Thursday, 1 May 2008
Insight Press Release

The insurance community has recently been putting some profound thought into how we attract young talent into our business so that the next generation of professional industry practitioners can be secured.


Nurturing young talent for our industry, due to the lure of other seemingly better attractions in other sectors, has never been easy.

The insurance and reinsurance industries have in the past been able to attract sufficient numbers of talented young people either from the local populace in most countries or from “foreign talent” coming to live and work.


When I started in the business, insurance was considered a solid, reputable and worthy profession.

Maybe it was a little dull compared to other financial jobs, but it was one from which you could earn a reasonable living and attain professional standards which were truly international.


But I have detected a distinct change in the way young people have regarded general (re)insurance in the past few years, and these changes have become more apparent recently due to the booming economy across Asian countries.

I meet with many young people today who are considering a job in the sector or more particularly in the specialist world of loss adjusting.

The Lure of the Good Life


There is no doubt that there are many well-educated, ambitious youngsters around in Asia today.

Educational systems in many countries around the region can be rightly praised for producing young people who are educated with the right qualifications to do challenging and interesting jobs.

But I sometimes wonder if these young people are looking at our business through the wrong end of a telescope.


I meet and interview many youngsters today who immediately hone in on the material benefits that a job in insurance can bring.

The mantra of the five “C”s – cash, car, condo, credit card and country club – quickly becomes the focus of our conversations when speaking to people about a job in insurance.

I am not one to decry the search for material gain: The profit and cash motive must be present in any ambitious individual and progressive company.

But what is missing in the attitude of many people seeking a career in insurance is the belief that insurance provision is, above all, a social benefit – and a positive force for good in our community.


Promoting Socialism


The fundamental idea of insurance is that it is – in return for a premium – a commitment to honour a contract to reimburse a company or Building a Career on Trust individual if they suffer a physical or pecuniary loss.

In that sense insurance performs a vital social function in our society; insurers are there to pay claims above all else.


A civilised society depends on that.

In my time as a servant of the industry, I can honestly say that the ability to deliver on those high principles and to see the gratefulness of people who have benefited from the process are among the most positive aspects of my work at Insight.


To be able to see an individual, a factory owner or a small businessman pick up the pieces and start again after a major loss has been offset by a successful insurance claim is for me the biggest high in my career as an adjuster.


This social, caring aspect of our business came to mind recently when Insight was involved in a claim from a large number of hawker centre stall owners in the Ang Mo Kio suburb in Singapore.

The hawker centre at which they worked had suffered a devastating fire and all the hawkers were put out of business as a result.


I know the fire caused great economic hardship for a number of families.

Thankfully, many hawkers had insurance and the covers were well arranged.

When the claims poured in from the hawkers and Insight was appointed by several insurers to liaise with the various hawkers, we immediately put 10 staff on the case who had to work in a trashy environment and under a massive structure severely ravaged by the fire.


It was clear the claims were valid and had to be met quickly and without quibbling or delay as the hawkers were suffering.

The day came when our team went down to the hawker centre to help the insurers distribute individual cheques to hawker stall owners.

The look of relief, pleasure and happiness on the faces of the hawkers when receiving their cheques is something I will remember for a long time.


Delivering on a Promise


To play a small role in the delivery of the promise to pay in the insurance process is a gratifying experience for me, as much as any financial gain we may make.

The fact that with the adjuster’s involvement, the insurer was able to honour the commitment to pay valid claims, is what the insurance industry is all about.

Our prompt action meant the hawkers could restart their businesses with peace of mind and renewed financial security.


So when we try and “sell” our industry to the brightest and best students as a career, I hope we can focus just as much on this caring, social side of the business as much as high salaries, business class travel and all the other trappings of a successful career in insurance.