Singapore’s NTUC Income is undergoing an ‘Orange Revolution’, after satisfactorily completing its ‘Cultural Revolution’, the co-operative insurer’s chief executive Tan Suee Chieh told the ICMIF conference.
Suee Chieh said that the Cultural Revolution had succeeded in its objective of achieving excellence in working practices, improving staff engagement and raising standards. The Orange Revolution has now begun and will continue until 2015. It will ensure the co-operative does things differently and will change the way the public sees NTUC.
The Orange Revolution, said Suee Chieh, is about brand building, which requires creating clearer meaning behind the brand and that in turn requires organisational change. The insurer has now embarked upon a major advertising campaign and the creation of a fleet of orange quad bikes to get to road accidents within 20 minutes to provide first aid and practical support with related insurance claims.
“We aim to become the most ethical insurer in Singapore, possibly in the world,” said Suee Chieh. However, he explained, the co-operative sector internationally is often not sufficiently dynamic. NTUC recognised that it needed to change in order to be more dynamic and to create more social impact.
In anticipation of the Orange Revolution, NTUC embarked upon a programme to redefine its social values. It has now established that its three pillars are excellence, values and honest insurance. To deliver honest insurance, it committed to plainness and fairness; good practice in claims settlement; fair dealing with customers; and transparency.
These trading principles mark NTUC out from its competitors, said Suee Chieh. “Customers do not understand insurance products. They rely on people, whose best interests are served by selling products.”
This was a particular problem because of the use of high value commission payments in Asia to sales representatives. “Companies with the most aggressive sales staff are often those with the most expensive products,” explained Suee Chieh.
To make change, NTUC required “people who will make the difference,” said Suee Chieh. But that difference is not only about internal working practices, but also positively influencing the whole insurance sector in Singapore.
NTUC is already the number one insurer in Singapore, argued Suee Chieh, but it aims to do more. He added: “I believe we can change the world as it is today, providing we have the courage to try something new.”