For Sun Life Vietnam, 2022 has been a significant year as it has achieved new benchmarks in profit, growth, and community engagement. In an interview with The Saigon Times, Mr. Luc Nhon Ly, Sun Life Vietnam’s CEO, shared the company’s business performance and expectations for the coming year. Excerpts:
What successes have you enjoyed as Sun Life Vietnam’s CEO in the last year?
By far, the most significant achievement for us was growing the business at a remarkable pace. We grew by more than 40% this year! We’ve also expanded our distribution channels to reach more customers in Vietnam. We introduced two new products, both of which packaged first-to-market features. We want to ensure that we can offer new value to our Clients every time we launch a product.
Another of our initiatives was to broaden the meaning of our Sun Life tagline, Life is brighter under the sun. We chose to do this by implementing an arts and culture platform which can positively impact societal wellbeing.
Throughout 2022 we collaborated with talented Vietnamese artists from different genres—from stand-up comedy and poetry to dance and theatre. We put on a stand-up comedy show during the pandemic to lift people’s spirits. We also presented a one-of-a-kind poetry exhibition featuring local wordsmiths and their uplifting pieces and optimistic perspectives. We also teamed up with some great choreographers to orchestrate a dance exhibition to show how moving your body can make your life happier. These activities speak to the broader meaning behind our Life is brighter under the sun ethos.
So, when I look at these achievements, 2022 has been a stellar year for us.
Do you think the Vietnamese market is competitive, and how can your company stand out from the others?
Yes, I often hear people say that Vietnam is a competitive market. For me, I see it more as a market where there is plenty of available growth space. If we, as a life insurance company, can deliver something different and help develop the industry, then we are contributing well.
We focus on expanding the role of the ‘traditional’ life insurance company to become more inclusive and familiar in people’s lives. I think that every life insurance company adds something unique to the development of the industry, and each one adds a different color to the mix, and that’s how we define our industry.
Sun Life Vietnam’s image has recently been more dynamic and artistic. Can you share more about your initiative of adopting an arts and culture approach to promoting business?
I drew my inspiration from working in Myanmar during a time of great uncertainty. I learned that building a company from scratch is achievable with determination. In times of social difficulty, people turn towards family and what matters in life to bolster their resilience. When people again feel secure, they are ready to re-engage with the things that enrich their lives.
I think the Vietnamese market has matured now. Many of us are starting to feel more financially secure. And then, the pandemic caused us to become quite reflective and rethink the important things in life. Arts and culture can bring real value and meaning no matter what we go through. That’s why we’re incorporating them into Sun Life and our work.
For example, when you buy a new policy from Sun Life Vietnam and receive the policy contract, you will read a welcome letter written by a Vietnamese poet. Small touches like this help convey our genuine commitment to serving our Clients and developing a sense of community through engagement with the arts.
Is this why you have built a unique structure here – The Flagship?
The Sun Life Flagship is a concept of space.
It is a space where we engage with our customers in a unique way. While it is undoubtedly a business workspace, we wanted it to be much more than that. Instead of coming in and queuing up to be served at a counter, Clients are met by our consultants in the piazza-inspired architectural surrounds, where they can discuss their individual insurance needs in comfort.
The Flagship incorporates a large art space where Vietnamese creatives can share their gifts. In short, The Flagship is where people come for business and to discover new perspectives on life as expressed through the arts. Oh, and we also have a boutique food and beverage area where Clients and the public alike can enjoy our chef’s original creations and recharge their batteries. We’re happy that The Flagship has become a unique space for everyone to enjoy.
What has the company done to contribute to the development of Vietnamese society?
As a life insurance company, we aim to encourage a holistically healthy lifestyle, from financial peace of mind to help people live healthy emotional lives. This is reflected in our company culture of proactively encouraging diversity in the workforce. For example, our leadership team is now equally represented by women and men, and we actively facilitate those with disabilities to join Sun Life and participate in the workforce.
Our values are also presented in how we encourage youth physical activity, such as by providing sponsorship for school basketball teams and young athletes. We will proudly continue to do this as a part of our contribution to the development of the industry, the community, and Vietnam as a whole.
What would you like to say to readers to ring in 2023?
2023 is the Year of the Cat which symbolizes elegance, curiosity, independence, protection, courage, and poise. We wish everyone a new year full of curiosity and zest for life, and the encouragement to realize your dreams but still maintain a healthy balance in life. And, of course, we wish everyone the best of luck in everything they do.
The cat is also the symbol of hope and healing. I sincerely hope 2023 brings economic stability and peace to all peoples and nations.