Sedgwick: As Asia re-opens, Sedgwick expandsJune 26 2020
Continuing growth and adapting to the ‘new normal’
By James Ong
2020 has been a challenging year for everyone to date, whatever sector of the economy, wherever in the world people or businesses are based. And the changes to working practice and everyday life have been seismic.
Here in Asia the impact of the pandemic can still be felt and it remains to be seen how the ‘new normal’ will look across the coming weeks, months and years.
Positive signs are definitely emerging however. Here at Sedgwick we are already underway with our phased re-opening of some of our offices in the region, and we are adapting to new ways of working that ensure our colleagues are protected and that our clients continue to receive the service they expect from us.
Digital lessons from Covid-19
We are learning from our experience with Covid-19 and our working models are adapting at a speed we could not have previously predicted. Technology is key to ensuring we’re able to continue to service our clients whatever else is happening in the world and Sedgwick is fortunate to be well advanced along the transition to a digital operation. The challenge of enabling over 27,000 colleagues in 65 countries to work in the majority remotely with minimal impact to our clients was not insignificant, but it was successful. In Asia we have approximately 700 colleagues who successfully transitioned to working from home and are now returning to offices in phases. The digital technology employed by Sedgwick meant this transition was seamless.
“Our working models are adapting at a speed we could not have predicted. Technology is key to ensuring we’re able to continue to service our clients… and Sedgwick is fortunate to be well-advanced along the transition to a digital operation.”
A key element of our strategy was to utilise digital tools to enable our expert loss adjusters to view sites when they were physically unable to visit them. Whilst the restrictions on attendance were primarily governed by the lockdown, circuit breaker and quarantine measures in place across the region, we now know our new remote approach to loss adjusting can be used when there are other reasons where a lack of access to a site could delay assessment.
We use a simple process that is enabled via an app. Our adjuster decides if the loss is suitable for video streaming and then we contact the claimant. If they agree, the loss adjuster sends an sms or email with a link to the system. The link allows the customer to download an app to their own phone, tablet or device. The app will connect automatically to a videocall and our adjuster can use one of a number of features to get the information they need to assess the loss. The client can delete the app once the session is finished. Secure, simple and accessible.
Continued regional growth strategy
Our growth strategy in the region has also continued despite recent global events, and this will once again help us better serve our client base in the future by offering different services across many territories.
July 2020 sees the official completion of the integration of Maphilindo International (MI) with Sedgwick. Following the acquisition in October 2019 we have worked to integrate our businesses and MI will be part of the Sedgwick brand moving forward. Under the unified brand, Sedgwick Malaysia is now part of the largest claims management organisation in the world and will benefit from access to global resources to support local and regional needs.
“Our growth strategy in [Asia] has also continued despite recent global events. Sedgwick Malaysia is now part of the largest claims management organisation in the world.”
Maphilindo International is a sector pioneer and one of the largest loss adjusters and claims management firms in Malaysia. The home-grown company was founded in 1967 by Richard Lee, who has been the executive chairman for the last 52 years. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, the company has over 200 colleagues and 14 offices across the country and is very well regarded by the local insurance industry for its high standards of loss adjusting, innovation, education and value-added services.
Maphilindo International was a natural fit for Sedgwick and we now provide best-in-class services to clients, including field service capabilities, desktop third-party administration (TPA) services and call center capability to support carriers and multinational clients with operations in the region.
Capabilities to service customers anywhere, anytime
A key part of the acquisition was MI Call Centre (MICC), which has now become our dedicated call centre. It will continue to operate under the MICC branding, but remains an integral part of the Sedgwick group of companies. Our ability to handle TPA and claims management services 24/7 is integral to success in the new normal. And we’ve been innovating in additional services in this area for some time.
“Our ability to handle third-party administration and claims management services 24/7 is integral to success in the new normal.”
Now more than ever this becomes key. With reduced access to shops, mechanics, contractors and tradesmen, the allied services offered by our new Malaysian teams add real value for our clients and their policyholders.
MICC has a reputation for providing accident management services in addition to claims handling. This ability allows us to add value to our partner insurer’s products by supporting their policyholders with a comprehensive range of emergency road and breakdown assistance services. Our experience has shown that where assistance services are included as part of a policy, policyholder retention and loyalty is significantly improved. Household claims can be managed more centrally with our home replacement service.
If a policyholder’s home electrical appliance is lost or damaged because of an insured peril we will, with the approval of the participating insurer, arrange for the replacement of the damaged or lost appliance with a new one. And we’re able to extend this service out to commercial claims too.
Our home assist service provides our clients and their customers with a dedicated hotline to arrange repairs with a number of pre-approved contractors. From plumbing and electrical emergencies to pest control and air conditioning issues our service offers a prioritised response.
Full steam ahead
And we continue to adapt and innovate and grow in the region. We recently announced the appointment of Amen Chiu to our Hong Kong operation. Amen has held senior roles in claims management at several international insurers with specialties in business interruption, casualty, employees’ compensation, property, public and products liability. As a fellow of the Australasian Institute of Chartered Loss Adjusters and associate member of the Chartered Insurance Institute and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Chiu brings a wealth of technical and operational skills to our business.
So as Asia hopefully begins to recover and revive after recent events, so we will continue to learn and adapt and grow to meet the needs of our clients as we all move to the new normal. We will continue to do what we do best, that is taking care of our people and taking care of our clients.
James Ong, chief executive officer, Asia at Sedgwick