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TD Magazine Article

Positive Growth in a Volatile Market

Despite instability, Cathay Life Insurance stood out as the sole life insurance company to achieve positive growth in premium income.


Fri Jun 14 2024

Positive Growth in a Volatile Market

Cathay Life Insurance Company: 2024 BEST Award Winner, #11

Challenges to the global insurance industry, prompted by technological advancements, environmental disturbances, and an aging population, resulted in a 13 percent decline in first-year premium income for Taiwanese insurance companies last year. Despite that instability, Cathay Life Insurance—with a staff of 30,000 and an insured base of 8 million—stood out as the sole life insurance company to achieve positive growth in premium income (by 2.7 percent).


Much of the credit for Cathay's success goes to the company's L&D team, which embraces a "people-centric training philosophy," says Tai-Chou Chen, senior vice president of HR. "We've employed a variety of training resources and development plans to ensure our employees possess robust professional knowledge and skills, enabling us to navigate volatile market demands with stability."

The L&D team improved employees' skills by instituting a digital transformation. Via certification courses, online and offline learning, one-on-one coaching, and postcourse action plans, employees boost their knowledge of data analytics, data management, and robotic process automation technologies. The implementation of RPA technologies saved the company an annual 1.2 million staff hours, according to Chen, and resulted in Cathay receiving the Data, Analytics, and AI Award from research and advisory firm Celent.

Another innovative undertaking, the Sales Agent Rotation Program, empowers employees to explore diverse career paths and fosters early development of leadership and management skills. The program encourages managers to take the lead in their teams, facilitates two-week pre-assignment training for those transitioning to new roles, and ensures family well-being via a first-year salary guarantee and relocation support.

The L&D team leverages technological innovations to facilitate training goals for sales staff. BotBonnie, a conversational artificial intelligence robot, simulates customer interactions. Sales personnel practice and refine their conversational tactics and responses, "enabling them to apply what they've learned in real-world sales scenarios," says Chen. "BotBonnie has significantly enhanced the coaching capabilities and efficiency of our sales managers."

The company has developed a comprehensive business platform to integrate essential functions for the sales team. Sales agents access an AI-powered marketing module to identify promising leads, according to Chen. By using an analytical tool during the midsales phase, "agents are able to discern client needs and employ AI-driven recommendations to customize insurance packages in the closing stages," resulting in new skills and increased efficiency.


Another program assists sales staff in understanding the growing senior population: Cathay partnered with the Hondao Senior Citizen's Welfare Foundation to facilitate an immersive experience wherein sales agents and interns wear devices that simulate the physical limitations associated with aging, supplemented by educational sessions on insurance and long-term care. The simulation deepens understanding of the aging population's circumstances, encourages reflection, and motivates participants to integrate their insights into their behavior.

Cathay's L&D programs ensure employees are prepared for the rapidly evolving insurance world. "We believe we can polish even a stone into a diamond through our robust talent development mechanism," says Tsai Hong-Tu, chairperson of Cathay Financial Holdings. "No matter one's educational background or where they come from, we possess the capability to cultivate individuals into top-tier insurance professionals."

View the entire list of 2024 BEST Award winners.

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