Like many businesses, the pandemic has seen AIA Singapore activate its crisis management and survival mode to maintain business continuity. Amid growing pressure to ensure that all investments delivered business results, AIA realized that its CSR commitments were under threat and would have to step back or be accessible again.
Across the industry, insurers have also come under increasing scrutiny. Additionally, with the legal battles unfolding with insurers and claimants, AIA Singapore was determined not to repeat the same mistake. Thus, the insurer unveiled its “Mission in HLBL in a Crisis” campaign, aimed at tackling the challenges of the pandemic head-on and standing out from its competitors. This enabled AIA Singapore to land the Silver Award for Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility at INTERACTIVE-MARKETING‘s Marketing Excellence Awards Singapore 2021.
In addition to the pandemic, the AIA has also had to deal with increasing external pressures from other fronts. In the health insurance segment, AIA faced additional pressure from escalating medical inflation which was causing a growing rift between healthcare providers and insurers on the issue of affordability of Health care. To make these challenges even more complicated, AIA witnessed several C-suite changes during the height of the pandemic involving the appointment of a new CEO and a refresh of the executive committee. This new leadership has taken on the difficult challenge of keeping the organization aligned, connected and engaged during a crisis.
Aware of the challenges it was facing, AIA decided to face the crisis head-on, seeing it as an opportunity to rise to the occasion, to stand out from its competitors and to dispel received ideas. First, AIA sought to review its CSR commitments, deprioritizing valuable assets and multiplying initiatives that would make a tangible difference. The insurer then moved on to removing distractions to bring more coherence to its CSR strategy by returning to its core beliefs and setting an example.
Targeting young aspirants and families, AIA was also looking to establish itself as the insurer of choice. Before moving on to its target audience, the insurer decided to focus on its employee, ensuring staff were aware that AIA was prioritizing their well-being during this difficult time. Although commercial gains were not the main objective, the insurer also saw the importance of ensuring a healthy commercial base to support its commitment to the community.
The strategy and mandate to enable healthier, longer and better lives for everyone, including its employees, was rooted in the very way AIA does business. This involved moving from the traditional transaction-based insurance model to one that made the insurer a trusted partner at every stage of life. To achieve this, the insurer has defined three key points.
First, AIA needed to hold itself accountable to a new long-term transformational ESG strategy to maximize value delivered to the wider community. Over the past few years, the insurer has become a leader in taking the most comprehensive approach to health and wellness. Adopting a similar holistic approach to mapping its CSR initiatives, the insurer sought to examine the impact on all ESG metrics. This, in turn, led to a new ESG strategy which was launched in 2021.
Then, you had to connect your audience to something bigger than themselves, allowing those individuals to contribute to a larger goal. According to the AIA, this is a strong message that the insurer has used to rally individuals. Additionally, he ensured that the organization and its staff were aligned. The insurer first saw merit in this rallying method when the pandemic hit in 2019, as individuals were hit with a strong reminder of what matters most and not to take their health for granted.
Finally, AIA aimed to provide physical and mental support to its audience. “There is another pandemic that gets less attention but is no less devastating,” the insurer said. The economic downturn continues to be crushing on people’s mental health, leading to fears and anxiety about the future. This is especially strong in the insurance world and often goes unrecognized as a legitimate health concern.
To combat the issues faced by its consumers, AIA has rolled out a series of campaigns and initiatives to address these challenges. Aiming to nurture a culture that champions empathy, the insurer launched its #EmbracingNewNorms campaign to support consumers at different stages of the evolving pandemic situation. These benefits ranged from free COVID-19 coverage to free access to teleconsultation services. Additionally, the insurer launched a #ShareTheLove moment to remind its stakeholders of the different roles played in different communities. Funds from the campaign and initiative were then donated to two adopted charities, as part of the insurer’s commitment to do its part for the community.
While on the economic front, AIA Singapore rolled out a “Resilience Mindset” program in 2020, which included training aimed at improving the mental well-being of employees. The program aimed to address the mental issues that individuals faced in terms of unemployment and retrenchment. To this end, the insurer has also created 500 new career opportunities with the launch of its AIA Financial Career Scheme 2020, equipping new graduates and mid-career movers with the skills needed to pursue a new career. Financial support of up to SG$5,000 per month was also provided to eligible individuals.
In addition to addressing challenges on the health and economic fronts, the AIA has gone further by focusing on the environment. With its new Green Pledge, the insurer has pledged over SG$5 million to NParks registered charity, Garden City Fund, to plant trees in Singapore’s nature reserves over the next five years. . “Our contribution is the largest of any organization to NParks’ OneMillionTrees movement, which aims to plant over one million trees across Singapore over the next 10 years as we transform into a city in the wild” , explained the insurer.
In the first half of 2021, AIA Singapore delivered resilient business performance, with over 6% growth in operating profit and a 32% increase in new business value. Additionally, double-digit growth was reported in AIA Singapore’s enterprise solutions segments.