The Brunei branch of the world’s largest life insurance AIA has relocated to Pavo Point as it looks to strengthen its market-leading position with a larger, all-new office with a customer-centric design.
The expansion comes in tandem with the upcoming transfer of AIA’s business in Brunei from being a branch directly under AIA Company Limited – based in Hong Kong – to being a branch of AIA Singapore, in a move its management says will enhance operational efficiency.
The existing terms and conditions of policies issued by AIA Brunei will remain unchanged with the business transfer. AIA Singapore is a subsidiary of AIA Company Limited.
“With the transfer, AIA Brunei will be aligned with AIA Singapore’s legal and operational structure, thereby enhancing operational efficiencies,” said CEO of AIA Singapore Patrick Teow.
“This alignment will allow a streamlined approach in the region, so we can focus on better serving our customers’ needs. We remain committed to providing the same quality of services our customers in Brunei have enjoyed.”
AIA was one of the first insurance companies to set up in Brunei in 1957 and currently has over 22,000 policyholders owning 50,000 policies. Their new office takes up the fifth floor, and has their first full-service customer area along with an event room able to cater to public engagements and training for their 172 employees and agents.
AIA Brunei General Manager Kenneth Ling said the biggest shift in the industry has been the rise in popularity of investment and limited premium payment policies – where customers pay a higher premium over a shorter period to receive coverage over an extended period. Life insurance has traditionally been dominated by “whole of life” policies requiring more level premium payments for an extended duration with fairly fixed terms.
“We (Brunei branch) have been operating for 62 years (and AIA approaching 100 years) and while whole of life and endowment (policies) remain popular we are the seeing the development of policies that can cater to different lifestyles, life stages and a fast-paced, changing world,” he said.
“Gone were the days where customers approached insurance (providers) who would just hand out a few fixed options. Today it is completely different; we need to do an analysis of your (financial) situation first; we ask what are your needs, budget and goals? Then we create a custom policy for you. And then we sit down with you annually, re-assess the situation; are you earning more or less? Do you have additional responsibilities? This is financial planning.”
Ling also said that there was still substantial ground for the company to cover in reaching new customer bases, describing the overall savings and investment culture in Brunei as still having “plenty of room” to grow.
“Many still do not know financial security; that (the amount for) expenses is what you have after income and savings have been deducted, and not the other way around,” he said. “In investment, many still do not know the power or measure of compound interest – such as the rule of 72 – of how long it will take your (initial) investment to double.”
AIA is the largest company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, serving the holders of 32 million policies across the Asia-Pacific.