1. Basic Info about the honoree. When did they join the company? Current position and other positions held, Industry background, Educational background
Firstly, I would like to thank the Asia Leaders Awards for this distinction.
I have had the pleasure of gaining over 30 years of financial services expertise, specifically in the banking and insurance industries. I am a banker by experience having worked in both local and foreign banks, the longest of which was at HSBC where I held various executive positions such as Corporate & Institutional Banking Team Head, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Operations Officers, and Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management.
I ventured into the Insurance industry in 2017 where I joined AIA Philam Life as their Chief Operations Officer and more recently, FPG Insurance as President and CEO since January 2020.
My expertise has been in leading strategic transformational initiatives that turn businesses and companies into profitable and sustainable enterprises.
I earned a degree in Management of Financial Institutions from De La Salle University.
As President and CEO of FPG Insurance, I sit on the Philippine Insurers and Reinsurers Association’s (PIRA) Board of Trustees and I am also a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD).
2. What does it mean to be a Rising Tiger, Nation Builder for you?
In many cultures around the world, the Tiger is an inspiring figure. It is a revered symbol of strength, independence, protection, and immortality. In the business setting, key influencers of an industry are often referred to as “Tigers of the industry”.
For me, being a Rising Tiger, Nation Builder is about making an impact not only in the industry in which you operate, but in the community and nation as a whole. As a leader of a company, it is about having the courage to drive change and having the eagerness to improve how you conduct business with your customers, employees, and community that create a lasting impact.
3. What are your personal accomplishments that embody these characteristics?
As mentioned briefly in the previous question, my passion and expertise are in transformation and fixing unprofitable businesses.
I have been blessed with opportunities in the past to lead the companies’ digital and strategic transformation of operations, technology, and customer experience and to turn around unprofitable businesses.
To be able to achieve this, one needs to be able to drive change, influence and communicate the benefits of change, deliver the results, and have the courage to face the uphill battle of changing a company or group’s mindset and culture.
Whilst these experiences and accomplishments have been exciting, what has been more rewarding were the projects and activities that we did and continue to do for the wider community. Highlights of which include, leading and sponsoring a reading program for Grade School children in one of Makati’s largest public schools, sponsoring team activities for orphanages and street children communities, and supporting communities affected by devastating calamities, to name a few.
4. Given these personal milestones, what has (your company) accomplished through you?
When I was invited to join FPG Insurance, the mandate given to me was to turn around the company and transform it to a profitable business.
On my first week on the job, the Taal Volcano erupted (43 years after its previous eruption!) and soon after, the country experienced unprecedented times with the COVID Global pandemic, the aftermath of which we continue to experience up to this day.
Despite these challenges, we remained focused on the goal to transform the company and build a profitable and sustainable business. We mapped out our 3-year corporate goal which is ‘To be among the Top Most Profitable and the Most Innovative Non-Life Insurance Company with The Best Customer Service’ and identified the key strategic initiatives to achieve this goal.
Within two years and in the middle of a global pandemic, our financial results have significantly improved and our digital transformation has gained traction. We launched an agent app (“SIMONE”), the 1st in the industry, we revamped our website to enable end-to-end sales for select products (e.g. motor), and we were also the 1st non-life insurance company to partner with GCASH, the country’s leading digital transaction platform. Our service levels have also improved and this was driven by automating our processes and our passion to improve the overall customer experience. All this was only made possible by the new management team that I am extremely proud to be working with.
5. What has the pandemic taught you?
Given the unprecedented challenges faced by the company, the pandemic taught me the importance of having a competent leadership team, with a common vision and passion, the need to be agile, and to be prepared to adapt to the fast-changing needs of the industry, our partners, and customers. It also taught us to identify the opportunities that came with the challenges.
As an example, our digital agenda was and continues to be a key strategic focus for us and one of the opportunities that the pandemic offered was the acceleration of digital adoption which we took advantage of.
Personally, the pandemic made me appreciate what truly matters in life and how enjoyable the simpler things in life are. It also taught me to focus on positive things and the opportunities that come with the challenges.
6. How did (your company) work around the limitations of the pandemic?
When I joined the company in January 2020, one of the key things that we put in place quickly was our Business Continuity Plan. As a result of this, when the quarantine restrictions were implemented, 95% of our staff were already enabled to work remotely. Thanks to our IT Team, they ensured 24/7 connectivity for all staff which not only allowed us to serve our partners and customers remotely but provided safety to all our staff as well.
We also quickly established alternative ways of conducting business with FPG Insurance through centralized customer touchpoints such as our call center and alternative online payment options for the convenience and protection of our policy owners and partners.
7. What are your personal values and strategies as a leader?
My core leadership values are integrity, passion to do better, encourage, motivate and guide others, resilience, and empathy.
As a leader, you must establish a clear vision and set of goals for the company and the team, be focused on execution and creating value, and communicate constantly across all stakeholders. It is also important to empower and develop your team and encourage collaboration. There are no individual superstars in the team – one team, one goal, one achievement.
8. How important is being recognized as a Rising Tiger to you and (your company)?
Being recognized as one of the Top Leaders and a Rising Tiger is a humbling experience and the recognition really goes to my previous (and current) bosses and teams that I have had the pleasure of working with. This is not only a prestigious recognition for me as a professional, but it also speaks volumes of what I represent and FPG Insurance’s commitment to its stakeholders, partners, and customers.
9. Any inspiring story about you and your company that you want to share with the public?
When I joined FPG Insurance in January 2020, I was welcomed by the eruption of the Taal Volcano, which in hindsight was a blessing in disguise. Together with the management team, it triggered us to prepare for the unforeseen. Little did we know that a global pandemic would come to a couple of months after.
When the first COVID-19 lockdown happened, we were already prepared to operationalize remote work set up for our employees. At first, it was not easy: additional devices needed to be procured, operational and HR guidelines needed to be created, and everyone had to cope with working in a very new business environment.
Pivoting to digital was the only way we could continue servicing our partners and customers. In the middle of the varying lockdown restrictions, we took the initiative to develop tools and programs that will enable more efficient ways of doing business. It was challenging for all but it needed to be done and the opportunity presented itself.
Today, easing out of the pandemic, our hard work pays off as FPG Insurance now offers an omnichannel environment in terms of sales and customer care.