Prudential is one of Singapore’s leading and oldest life insurers. The organisation has been serving the financial and protection needs of Singaporeans for over 87 years. Through its 4,800-strong Financial Consultants network and its bank partners, Prudential offers a comprehensive suite of protection, medical and savings solutions with quality service and advice. Mr Wilfred Blackburn, CEO of Prudential Singapore commented, “We have over 1,000 employees, and close to a million customers. Singapore is the second largest market for Prudential in Asia and its fastest-growing market in South East Asia”.
Since its establishment in Singapore 87 years ago, Prudential’s operations have grown from strength to strength. This is greatly due to the nurturing ecosystem of support cultivated by the government. “Singapore’s highly skilled workforce, strong digital infrastructure, and vibrant start-up scene provide a fertile environment for businesses to thrive”, expressed Blackburn.
Prudential supplements the government’s efforts by working closely with it on several fronts. In March this year, the organisation began a partnership with SkillsFuture to help its employees access courses that can prepare them for the digital economy. As of June, more than half of Prudential’s employees have enrolled in SkillsFuture Advice sessions, learning how they can tap on the resources and tools available for their skills-upgrading needs and career planning.
Prudential is also making available online courses on topics like ‘AI in Finance’ through the Ngee Ann Polytechnic – CFTE programme. About 100 employees from various functions will participate in this programme to learn about AI and how they can apply it in their daily work.In September, the organisation began a strategic partnership with the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) on its Accreditation@SG Digital programme, to explore greater collaboration in the insurance ecosystem. “Our collaboration with IMDA-accredited companies is an extension of our PRU Fintegrate programme which aims to bring together FinTech, InsurTech, HealthTech and MedTech companies to develop innovative solutions to help people live well. Using cutting-edge technologies, we want to create an even better customer experience, help our people work smarter and complement the efforts of our financial consultants in providing customers with valuable advice and solutions,” shares Blackburn.
Prudential spends a significant amount of resources in building an innovation-led culture and ensuring that its digital solutions not only improve customer experience, but also the work of its employees and financial consultants.
“Starting from within, we have created a workplace that is designed to inspire innovation and build an agile work culture that is beneficial to business growth”, comments Blackburn. Called WorkPLAYce, the space integrates play with work and engages employees with activity-based working options and areas for experimentation and exploration of ideas.
Prudential has also rolled out other innovations including askPRU, an industry-first chatbot, that provides 24/7 access to policy-specific information. The chatbot allows more than 4,800 of Prudential’s Financial Consultants to obtain answers to their customer’ queries.
Blackburn shares that, “We have also been working on refining our e-claims automation solution since it was announced last year. The solution relies on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and can reduce the amount of time taken to process claims from days to seconds”.
Recently, Prudential Corporation Asia partnered with Babylon Health, a UK-based healthcare technology and services company. This partnership leverages Babylon Health’s AI capabilities to offer customers in 12 markets in Asia, 24/7 access to a comprehensive set of digital health tools while complementing Prudential’s existing host of protection products.
Last year, the organisation launched its digital innovation programme, the PRU Fintegrate Partnership Programme. Through PRU Fintegrate, Prudential aims to chart the future of insurance by creating awesome customer experiences, enabling financial consultants to work smarter, helping people lead healthier lives, guiding people in planning better for their financial future and supporting the growth of enterprises. The second edition of the programme was rolled out in August this year, and it focused on identifying opportunities for collaboration in 10 rapidly-growing areas, ranging from preventative healthcare to enterprise solutions. Commenting on the programme, Blackburn shared that “FinTech, InsurTech, HealthTech and MedTech communities from around the world are welcome to help us come up with solutions in these areas so we can co-create end-to-end, collaborative and creative solutions to address the changing needs of our customers”.
The insurance industry is undergoing an innovation-led transformation. Big data and analytics, AI-based solutions, and the entry of preventive healthcare services are changing the face of traditional insurance. At Prudential, shares Blackburn, “we have been investing heavily in technology and training to prepare our employees for roles in the digital economy and to future-proof our business”.
Last year, the organisation invested more than 25,000 hours in training employees and financial consultants in leadership, design thinking, innovation, and digital skills. These training hours were complemented by a S$70 million technology investment to help employees work smarter and more productively. “The future of insurance will be one where we have an agile, adaptive workforce embracing new emerging technology to create solutions of value for customers. As insurers, we must be ready to seize the opportunities as technology continues to evolve rapidly”, comments Blackburn. But while Prudential continues to transform digitally, Blackburn said that the agency force will always be a key pillar of its distribution division, as technology cannot replace the care and concern shown by its financial consultants to customers.
According to Blackburn, there are also several opportunities for Prudential to grow its small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) business here. SMEs are the pillar of Singapore’s economy, contributing 50 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “As SMEs step up their regionalisation efforts, we are well-placed to partner them in their growth journey with our strong presence across Southeast Asia”, comments Blackburn.
Prudential’s end goal remains service to our customers. “As a leading life insurance provider in Singapore, we have a responsibility to ensure Singaporeans have access to affordable healthcare insurance in the long term”, concludes Blackburn. Prudential is committed to identifying solutions and services that help their customers live longer, healthier and better lives.