What helping clients manage risk means to AIG’s Yukiko Kureya
Kureya-san also finds inspiration in being an ally to women in Japan’s insurance industry.
Yukiko Kureya spent the bulk of her nearly 20-year career at AIG Japan as an in-house agent selling insurance to corporate clients. That changed recently when she decided to take on a different role – helping brokers find the insurance coverage that their clients need.
As a Sales Department Manager based in Osaka for AIG Partners KK, the in-house distribution agency for AIG Japan, Kureya-san works with local insurance distributors. It is a field that is traditionally dominated by men, and Kureya-san is carving out a path to encourage more women to enter Distribution.
Below, Kureya-san talks about her career journey, how she helps clients solve challenging problems, and actions she is taking to be an ally to women in the insurance industry:
Q: What does success in the insurance business look like to you?
Seeing the satisfaction of customers makes me proud to be an insurance professional. In many ways, we are selling something intangible – a commitment not only to cover the risks when bad things happen, but also to insure new and emerging risks ahead to help clients thrive in the long term. So, it’s incredibly rewarding to know when we’ve helped an individual or a company manage their risk and followed through on our dedication to be there for them.
For example, one of my customers was a hotel operator who faced losses from a typhoon. The storm ripped off the roof, knocked down trees, and shut down the water supply, making it difficult to get to the property. It took a while to conduct a site survey, assess the damage, and then process the payment, but I stayed in touch with the customer throughout this process, updating him on the progress of his claim and providing reassurance during a time of great uncertainty.
In the end, AIG was able to cover the repairs and the hotel reopened. I will never forget the delight on the owner’s face when he turned to me and said, ‘Now I understand the value of insurance. Thank you so much!’
Q: You’ve shared your successes by mentoring colleagues. Why is this important to you?
In Japan, there are not many women who choose Distribution as a career path. I really love what I do, and I was inspired to attract more women to this part of the business.
Three years ago, I established Women in Distribution (WinD), an internal networking group dedicated to supporting the professional growth of women in Distribution. Members are passionate about promoting career paths in Distribution for women currently working in other areas within AIG.
Insurance sales is a challenging field to be in. When a customer thanks me, I’m reminded again why I chose this career path. I’d like to see other women in Japan have the same experience and feel the same satisfaction, and I’ve made it my mission to support them as much as I can in getting there!
My priorities this year are to further improve my skills as an insurance professional and manager, become a stronger ally for women, and create additional opportunities for women to grow within AIG.
Q: What advice would you give to individuals starting their careers in insurance?
Public, private, or corporate – insurance is an integral part of people's lives. Building trust with customers is key to success in insurance sales. This requires intuition and sensitivity. With trust as the foundation, you can build great customer relationships and the gratitude you get in return is the reward.
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American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a leading global insurance organization. AIG member companies provide a wide range of property casualty insurance, life insurance, retirement solutions and other financial services to customers in approximately 70 countries and jurisdictions. These diverse offerings include products and services that help businesses and individuals protect their assets, manage risks and provide for retirement security. AIG common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
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