According to Crawford President in Asia, Veronica Grigg, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to meet the needs of Asian customers – which is why Crawford places so much emphasis on developing diversity, skills, and technology across its Asian operations.
Home to some of the world’s most populous countries with a variety of demographic profiles and insurance markets of varying maturity, there is no such thing as an Asian insurance market, Veronica argues. Maintaining customer intimacy in a continent this vast and diverse has always been a challenge, and this was exacerbated during the pandemic when travelling to meet business partners and customers in person was restricted.
“Asia has traditionally been slow to adopt technology but the shift to remote working was a catalyst to expedite our digital delivery agenda to address many of the region’s market challenges,” Veronica explains. This included ramping up the use of solutions Crawford has been using and developing for some time, from video conferencing and 3D modelling to enable remote interactive adjusting to self-service smartphone applications like YouGoLook enabling policyholders to submit and manage claims remotely.
“This kind of technology brings down borders and helps us extend our geographic reach. It also helps us deliver a more flexible suite of solutions in a market where competition is fierce and you have to innovate continuously to stand out from the crowd,” she says.
Technology will play an increasingly central role in claims management service delivery across the region and globally. However, ensuring the talent pool has the right skills and diversity to meet the varied demands of Asian customers is just as critical to the company’s ongoing success as the tools at their disposal, Veronica insists. “People remain Crawford’s most important asset.”
Crawford Asia now has a learning and development team in place dedicated to supporting employees in enhancing their existing skills and delivering quality customer service. As well as developing technical skills, Crawford is also focusing on skills that help create high-performance teams through training initiatives like its one-year Manager Acceleration Program.
“We believe creating an environment of trust, collaboration and inclusiveness, cultivating an agile growth mindset and training our people to lead with emotional intelligence, empathy and an ability to embrace change create a multiplier effect that ignites innovative thinking and creates leaders rather than managers,” Veronica explains. This benefits not only Crawford’s people, but also its customers and Crawford as a business.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are also essential in reflecting and meeting the needs of customers across a region as diverse as Asia. According to Veronica, the Asian insurance industry has long made DEI a priority – arguably more than in most other insurance markets around the world – with many players striving to make DEI the centrepiece of their company culture and Crawford is committed to driving DEI at all levels of the organisation.
Crawford has one of the most diverse leadership groups in the market, with locals representing us in each of our country operations and women in leadership positions progressing significantly in the past 15 months. “We have a great pool of local talent in Asia, as evidenced by our first adjuster promoted to executive general adjuster level, Malaysian Vice President Tuck Min Leong,” says Grigg.
“Diversity creates a competitive advantage,” she adds, arguing that conversations and actions that consider cultural, social, and economic dimensions can transform the workplace as well as a company’s service offering. “And meaningful progress on DEI can help win the war for talent, which is a huge ongoing issue in the claims space globally.”
Asia may be a diverse and complex market but, according to Veronica, “we live here, we speak the languages, and we live the culture”. Above all, she says, Crawford is committed to understanding the needs of its clients and delivering world-class solutions with a local touch, using all the tools and expertise available from across the Crawford network.