Buoyed by improved financial inclusion and Thailand’s growing middle class, the country’s life insurance industry continues to exhibit impressive and sustained growth Â
Author: Chai Chaiyawan, President, Thai Life Insurance
January 8, 2019
The Thai economy is going from strength to strength. Recognised by the World Bank as âone of the great development success storiesâ, the nation has embarked on a programme of rapid economic expansion over the last 50 years, with steady growth and widespread poverty reduction moving Thailand into its current upper-middle-income status. Today, Thailand boasts the second-largest economy in South-East Asia, and this impressive growth is showing no signs of slowing down. The nation is expected to post a growth rate of 4.7 percent for 2018, marking its fastest rate of economic expansion in five years.
Thailandâs rapidly ageing population is driving a growing demand for life insurance products
Amid these positive developments, one sector is showing particularly impressive results. Bolstered by increased financial inclusion and a growing middle class, the Thai life insurance market has emerged as an economic bright spot in recent years, with premiums and policy penetration rates both on the rise. Whatâs more, the nationâs rapidly ageing population is driving a growing demand for life insurance products, creating a valuable opportunity for insurance companies to connect with Thailandâs elderly citizens.
While the future certainly looks bright for the Thai life insurance industry, competition is posing a significant challenge to established insurers and fledgling companies alike. A host of new players have begun to flood the market, putting insurers under increasing pressure to stand out from the growing crowd. At Thai Life Insurance, we understand the importance of a unique selling point in a saturated and competitive market, and have successfully distinguished ourselves from our competitors through our effective viral video campaigns. By tapping into viewersâ emotions, our touching commercials have helped us to craft our internationally recognised brand image as a company that cares.
A powerful message
Television advertising is notoriously difficult to get right. Many traditional adverts have viewers immediately reaching for the remote, while other instantly forgettable offerings simply serve as background noise for households around the world. Amid this sea of unremarkable commercials, Thailand has emerged as a world leader in creative advertising, producing an array of heartwarming and engaging viral videos that have been shared and enjoyed internationally. Thai Life Insurance is one of the countryâs advertising pioneers, consistently using cinematic storytelling and emotive messages to connect with audiences and highlight the importance of insurance in the face of lifeâs many challenges.
One of our most successful commercials, named Unsung Hero, has more than 36 million views as of 2018, with its moving message continuing to connect with viewers around the world some four years after its release. This uplifting video shows a young man performing acts of kindness in his local community, helping those around him without any form of reward or recognition. Along with our other viral videos, this commercial serves to remind viewers of the value of life and the importance of caring for the people we love. Our campaigns â and our wider brand image as a whole â are crafted around the core concepts of life and love, as these features truly form the cornerstone of the life insurance business.
These intrinsic human values are at the very heart of our operations at Thai Life Insurance â the needs of our customers always come first. In 2014, we reaffirmed our commitment to serving the Thai people by rebranding as a âpeople businessâ, with the aim of deepening our bond with our valued customers. Our customer-first approach has inspired us to create a diverse portfolio of more than 200 life insurance products to serve our clients at every stage of their lives, from their youth through to their retirement and old age. These âtotal life solutionsâ were designed to meet the varied and continually changing needs of our customers, ranging from retirement planning to health insurance and practical financial advice.
This vast array of products has enabled Thai Life Insurance to connect with clients of all ages, winning loyal customers from multiple generations. For younger consumers, for instance, Thai Life Insurance offers a range of medical plans and accident insurance options designed to suit their current needs. One such solution is the pioneering Thai Life Insurance hotline, which enables customers to receive compensation within 24 hours of a public disaster. Given Thailandâs unfortunate vulnerability to natural disasters, this coverage has proved invaluable to many of our cherished policyholders. By offering practical and diverse products such as these, Thai Life Insurance hopes to cater to customersâ evolving needs at different life stages, building a lifelong relationship as a consequence.
The caring culture
As a company that cares, it is important that our core values are carried through to every part of our business. Along with attentively serving our customers, at Thai Life Insurance we also strive to be a force for good in the wider community, helping to enhance Thai society wherever we can. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is therefore an integral part of our business, as it enables us to put our firmly held beliefs into action. As one of the nationâs leading insurance providers, we understand the importance of using our platform responsibly, and we hope to effect positive change in the community through a range of exciting projects and activities.
In 1995, we embarked on a long and rewarding partnership with the One for Lives Foundation, which provides medical assistance to the most vulnerable members of Thai society, including underprivileged children, impoverished families and the elderly. Through our close work with the charity, we have lent our support to a number of worthy causes including the Thai Red Cross Society, which we have championed for over 30 years. In addition to donating a state-of-the-art ambulance to the Red Cross Organ Donation Centre, Thai Life Insurance also organises blood donation drives in its head office every three months, with similar blood donation initiatives now beginning to take off in the companyâs regional branches.
Furthermore, Thai Life Insurance has also played an important role in raising public awareness and understanding of organ donations, working diligently with the Thai Red Cross Society to distribute informative material and organise educational events. Since Thai Life Insurance embarked on this awareness drive, a total of 16,514 people have signed up to be organ donors, reflecting the remarkable success of this campaign.
In addition to supporting these deserving causes, Thai Life Insurance is also committed to providing essential relief to the nationâs many disaster victims. In the wake of natural catastrophes such as the severe floods that devastated Southern Thailand in 2017, Thai Life Insurance always endeavours to play its part in relieving the suffering of those affected in the immediate aftermath of such events. During the catastrophic floods â the worst to hit Thailand in over 30 years â scores of Thai Life Insurance employees and volunteers headed to the affected areas to distribute food and relief packs to the many disaster victims. More than 1,000 relief bags were issued to families across the region, while company volunteers prepared more than 3,000 meal kits for doctors, nurses, staff and patients at Maharaj Nakhon Si Thammarat Hospital, where many flood victims were taken for treatment. This crucial, on-the-ground assistance provided by Thai Life Insurance workers reflects our ethical company culture, and we are proud that all our employees share our core values of love and generosity.
Whatâs more, according to studies carried out by Harvard Business School, those who regularly perform acts of charity tend to report higher levels of personal happiness, while the act of volunteering can lead to a reduction in stress hormones and increased emotional wellbeing. By encouraging our employees to volunteer their time, we therefore hope to boost worker morale at Thai Life Insurance.
In addition to serving the Thai public through our far-reaching CSR initiatives, at Thai Life Insurance we also seek to take care of staff and personnel at every level of our business. From our valued stakeholders to our business partners and branch-based employees, we firmly believe that people are the heart of our success. As a people business, our staff and customers always come first, and we aim to meet their evolving needs through a range of innovative products, services and distribution channels. Our loyal staff members are encouraged to be more than life insurance agents; to act as a friend and a consultant for our many policyholders.
With hundreds of types of life insurance on offer at Thai Life Insurance, it is important that customers are well matched with a policy that suits their requirements and their financial situation. By conducting in-depth needs analyses and offering pertinent advice, our attentive staff members can effectively connect customers with their ideal plan. Along with offering life insurance advice, Thai Life Insurance employees are also on hand to provide valuable health insurance guidance, taking each customerâs individual health concerns into consideration when making tailored recommendations. If customers are looking for financial advice, our team is also able to offer informed suggestions in this area, helping customers to grow their savings and make sound investments. In this way, our staff members take on the role of life solutions providers, caring for our respected customers at every stage of their lives.
This commitment to customer care has established Thai Life Insurance as an ethically conscious company, with a unique people-first vision. Our strongly held values continue to set us apart from our competitors, and will allow Thai Life Insurance to stay relevant and profitable for many years to come.