“Business leaders today must not just learn to live with change, but grab it with both hands.”
Established in Asia in 2013, FWD is the insurance business arm of investment group, Pacific Century Group. FWD Group is present in Hong Kong and Macau, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and Japan, and offers life and medical insurance, general insurance, and employee benefits across a number of its markets.
FWD is focused on creating fresh customer experiences, with easy-to-understand products, supported by digital technology. Through this customer-led approach, FWD aims to become a leading pan-Asian insurer that changes the way people feel about insurance.
As President and Chief Executive Officer of FWD Life Philippines, Peter Karl Grimes has managed to set up a Life Insurance business with a differentiated vision from scratch. By building a highly automated operations system, with a paperless sales model, and by deploying technologies and systems not previously employed by insurers in the Philippines, Grimes is a catalyst of change. The change, however, also brought many challenges, necessitating that Grimes became a more passionate advocate of change.
Born in Tanzania, the 58-year-old Grimes graduated from high school but dropped out of doing a University degree. “With hindsight I would do this differently, but it actually did not hold back my career,” he muses. “Today, however, the world is a very different place and I believe it is far more difficult to progress in corporate life without tertiary or higher education,” he concedes.
“I think it is much more complex to be a leader in today’s world. Leaders now need to not only be capable of managing their businesses effectively, but are doing so in the public spotlight, whether through traditional media or social media. Regulation and governance have also been elevated to new heights in the past couple of decades,” he opines.
As a leader, Grimes is driven by what FWD stands for and its vision of ‘changing the way people feel about insurance’. “If we are to resonate with consumers today, we need to transform the way we engage with them and provide relevant, customer-friendly solutions. I believe that FWD Philippines’ clients’ needs must come first. If we serve our clients well, our own success will definitely follow. I like to think that I am approachable and straightforward. I try to be caring and passionate in everything I do, whether it is at the office or with family and friends. My philosophy has always been that whatever we do, we owe it to ourselves to do it to the best of our ability; if that takes us to the top or the bottom of the pile, that’s okay, just as long as you’ve given it your very best and you do so with grace and integrity,” says Grimes.
Under his leadership, FWD Life Philippines has been named the fastest-growing life insurance Company (jumping from the rank of 29 in 2014 to 12 by end-2016. The company also launched its revolutionary product, Peace Plan in 2016. Peace Plan is the first terrorism cover in the Philippines, through a genuine D2C e-commerce platform. The insurance company was also named 2016 and 2017 Asia’s Best Employer Brand Award from the Employer Branding Institute. Its service achieved the highest Customer Experience (CX) Index by Forrester in the Philippines with a score of 78 in 2016. The company also boasts the first paperless end-to-end sales process in the Philippine life insurance sector.
“It is a very competitive industry, with a number of large established incumbents as well as several new entrants in the last four years. As of end-August 2017, FWD Life Philippines has over 30,000 individual policy owners and approximately 16,000 group members as well as more than 280 office and 150 sales staff. “I like to see myself as adaptive, collaborative, and hands-on. I am a great believer in leading from the front and I feel this is especially important in a start-up environment,” shares the visionary CEO.
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As One Of Asia’s Top Leadership and Sustainability Players