Career Advice Working Women

Be curious and courageous

After almost 16 years of working for international insurance brokers, Lulu Chan, decided it was time to shift gears. She likes helping people, so the business development manager took up a job at MSIG, part of the Japan-based Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance.  Chan talks with Wong Yat-hei.

What is your academic background?
I graduated in insurance studies from the Institute of Vocational Education.

How do you start your day?
I arrive at the office at 8.40am. I go through a number of insurance websites and daily newspapers. I also check for changes in the economic and legal environment. Finally, I check my inbox and prepare my “To do” list.      

What does your job entail?
As a business development manager, my main tasks are to develop and execute a business plan to achieve our revenue objectives. I meet clients, assist the team in preparing and reviewing quotations, ensure service quality standards, liaise with different departments and handle client enquiries and complaints.

What major challenges have you faced? 
Liaising with different departments, and dealing with unhappy clients. Insurance is an intangible product and we need to be very patient and imaginative when trying to satisfy an unhappy client.         

What have you learned about your chosen career and what are your plans?
In my first job, with a United States-based internal insurance broker, I enjoyed enormous exposure not only to Hong Kong but also to mainland China and Britain. In 2001, I moved to a United Kingdom-based international insurance broker as an assistant director in the construction division. It is a large and important subset of the insurance industry. In addition to insurance knowledge, I picked up a lot of know-how in legal and in construction and engineering.

My experience has taught me that one’s exposure to the wider world of business and commerce, while working in the insurance industry, is much broader than many people think. In the next five years, I want to develop more products and boost our sales model. 

Any advice for those who want to enter the insurance industry?
You should have the attributes of curiosity, courage and faith. If you are always curious and courageous, you will not be afraid of failure. Always bear in mind that failure can help your career. You will succeed in your chosen career if you have faith in yourself and keep trying.