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"Insurance is oxygen to the society. Without insurance, the society will halt. Employees can sit and work in an office because there is third party liability insurance on the building and the employers have bought labour insurance policies as well. Citizens can take public transport or drive because there is motor vehicle insurance. Premiums may also drive infrastructure investment and social development. I personally agree with the concept of insurance. Every practitioner should agree as well," said Derek Yung, who has been in the business for over 30 years and leads a huge team of 16,000 people in Hong Kong.
Derek Yung got into insurance in 1985 and started as an insurance agent. He switched from the front line to the back room two years later. Throughout the years, he has taken posts in product design, marketing, in-house training and internal administration. He thinks being all-round is the key to his career development. There are many other opportunities for young people in the industry such as customer service, underwriting, claim, actuarial, technology information and human resources.
"Do you want to be ordinary or fly high?"
“Our company has a vision statement. Everyone should have his own vision statement and set a goal on how to live his life. Do you want to be ordinary or fly high? Do you want to live in Repulse Bay or Chai Wan? Do you want to be happy or unhappy? These are all your own choices." He said one of the visions of his company is to create value for stakeholders. "Under the guidance of the vision statement, the top line has pumped up. It is of no use if there is no profit."
Looking back to the insurance market in Hong Kong in 1980s, there is a huge difference between the market back then and the market nowadays. "Insurance products were rather simple. For example, for life insurance, if the client lived through the insured period, then he could retrieve some premiums and savings in the policy. Hong Kong people did not know much about insurance and they did not ask for much from insurance either."
"People are not thinking about whether they should get insurance but from which agent should they get it."
"People understand insurance a lot more these days. They are no longer thinking about whether they should get insurance but from which company or which agent should they get it. There are various insurance products in recent years such as critical illness, medical and investment linked ones. It could also be education funds or pensions. They expect practitioners to be more knowledgeable and demand more regulations on insurance business, which is a good thing to the development of the industry."
The premiums paid by mainland Chinese visitors have rocketed in recent years. Derek thinks that the development of related business will continue to thrive in the future. The diversity of insurance and financial products in Hong Kong, the legal system, the professional qualifications of Hong Kong's insurance practitioners, the high efficiency of claims are all appealing to people from other regions. The local insurance market is rather small but its development in the past 10 years was particularly fast due to the merge of Mainland China and Hong Kong. The outlook of the market remains positive.
Tips for interviews
Before getting into the insurance business, Derek reminds that, young people should ask themselves four questions:
1. Do you agree with insurance products?
"If you are a salesperson, why don't you sell cars? Why do you choose to sell insurance products? And why do you want to work in an insurance company and not a bank? We always say that there is a higher meaning behind each insurance policy because no one can revert what has happened but a policy can provide financial support and allows people to have options outside of the public medical system."
2. Do you agree with the vision of the company?
"There are many insurance companies in the market. Why are you interested in us? How well do you understand us? I wish we are on the same page rather than finding out we are not after you get into the company. The company and the employees should have the same vision. If a company is kind of laid-back but the employee himself is aggressive, it is very difficult for the two to walk on together."
3. What is your vision?
"What do you want in your life? Some people are easily satisfied with the current state and would rather stay in the same position for a longer period of time. But some people are demanding to themselves and would like to be promoted quickly. People who are not demanding to themselves are relatively less aggressive at work."
4. What is your value to the company?
"What is your personal edge? How much contribution can you bring to the company? If your value is higher than what the company currently can give you in return, the company will certainly value you. Therefore, you should evaluate yourself and add value from time to time."