Where AIG China sees opportunities for profitable growth
AIG’s Lisa Sun is leading strategies to propel the business.
AIG China is making bold investments in the domestic insurance market. To help grow key parts of the business in a rapidly changing economy, Regional President & CEO Lisa Sun is leading strategies aimed at setting the business up for profitable growth for years to come.
Lisa’s ambitions for AIG China match her rise in leadership: Having started her career in insurance as an actuary in Boston, Lisa was exposed early on to a range of functions from pricing to reserving to financial reporting and underwriting. Then, back when her husband received a job offer in Hong Kong, she took on new and different roles in Asia – including a stint at AIG and other major insurers before leading a human capital consulting firm.
“I always wanted to do more than succeed at my job on a technical level,” Lisa recalls, adding that she had long been interested in management, leadership, and developing people.
Her aspirations culminated in the summer of 2018. Lisa returned to AIG China and was named its first regional female Asian CEO. She was eager to get started, but not before working around one unexpected detour:
Shortly after Lisa accepted the job offer, she also learned she was pregnant.
“I was excited, and very surprised, as you can imagine,” Lisa says. “I received amazing support from leadership. The conversation was not whether I would be able to take on this role and be a new mom, but rather what support I will need to be able to do both jobs. It was incredibly touching to see the company’s human-centric culture on full display.”
In her first year, Lisa took her full maternity leave with support from an interim CEO and her team. Now in her fourth year leading AIG China, Lisa has continued to drive strategies to propel the business on its long-term path toward profitable growth.
Reinvest in the accident and health business through partnerships and digital
On the consumer side, AIG is thinking ahead: With China’s aging population and growing middle class, the business wants to cater to the country’s increasingly health-conscious consumers. As part of its three-year plan, AIG China is reinvesting in the Accident & Health (A&H) insurance business to capture local consumers’ rising demand for health and wellness products and services.
One initiative involves building a network of digital distribution channels and partnerships across two high-growth AIG China branches in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. Complementing the traditional intermediary channels, Lisa notes that forming new strategic and digital partnerships will be key to the business's reinvestment strategy.
Recently, AIG China announced its partnership with a ride-sharing technology company, which will provide A&H insurance coverage to 13 million annual active drivers.
Make digital investments to capture growth of small and medium-sized businesses
On the commercial side, AIG China is also setting the stage to scale the business further. Lisa sees opportunities across China’s growing middle market, where there’s currently millions of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
A key to winning the SME market is to drive scale in an efficient manner, and this involves investing in new digital tools that make it possible to market, sell, and service many more policies that appeal to this growing segment.
“We’re putting the customers at the center of what we do.” Lisa says.
For example, AIG China is automating certain products and processes to digitally deliver insurance quotes and other services more quickly and efficiently to SME clients.
With local insurers being major players in China’s SME market, AIG China is also differentiating itself by approaching this segment as if they were consumers. The goal is to make it quick and easy for SMEs to consider a range of policies packaged around various levels of insurance coverage and limits.
To support SME clients’ varying insurance needs, Lisa’s team is exploring one approach that involves bundling various lines of insurance products so that AIG China becomes a one-stop shop for SMEs to fulfill all their insurance needs – whether it’s liability, property or accident and health coverages.
Innovative products and services to appeal to China’s growing middle class
AIG China is also innovating a range of insurance products and services that gets ahead of the market’s complex customer needs. With ongoing uncertainties around international travel, AIG China has pivoted its travel business, creating more options for domestic travel versus international trips.
For example, the company innovated and recently launched a hybrid travel product. When a customer buys an insurance package covering domestic travel, they’re later able to convert this coverage to insure an international trip when global travel restrictions ease. This approach, Lisa notes, builds on AIG’s internationally known brand of travel policies while targeting the domestic market.
“At the end of the day, we want to develop relevant products that consumers need and want to buy.” Lisa says.
AIG China is realizing potential in previously untapped areas of the local insurance market. With investments in the right digital tools and partnerships, Lisa is driving growth across the middle market and AIG China’s A&H business. AIG China is also staying close to the pulse of local consumers as their needs and tastes evolve in the coming years.
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