Just 30 years ago, as Vietnam began to recover from two decades of conflict on its soil, it was struggling. In fact, as recently as 1986, it was considered one of the poorest economies in the world. But after the country launched Doi Moi, a series of economic and political reforms, in 1986, Vietnam began an upward economic trajectory. And according to 10-year MDRT member Nguyen Thi Bich Hang, the financial services industry has been expanding “nonstop” ever since.
“Rapid economic growth and heightened public awareness about life insurance have positive impacts on our business and prospecting,” she said. “There is great room for development in Vietnam.”
Rapid economic growth and heightened public awareness about life insurance have had positive impacts.
Nguyen, of Ho Chi Minh City, works for Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company of Vietnam, which has 275 offices and general agencies across the country. She was initially attracted to the profession due to its ability to help people and to develop her skills.
“You must know the significance of this career and advise your clients and prospects with responsibility and love,” she said.
Her target market is married couples with young children, a segment of society that is expected to grow significantly in the coming years as Vietnam’s middle class emerges. She chose this market because young parents have responsibilities in the present but are also looking toward the future. They have concerns about things like their children’s education and their future retirement. Nguyen focuses first on protecting the breadwinner of the family, then branches out into other concerns.
“No matter how negative the economy is, Vietnamese people always need optimal financial plans for different stages of their life,” she said. “I expect to provide the best financial services to our clients.”
Nguyen is helped by recent improvements to the life insurance industry’s legal framework, including regulations that protect the client. There have also been efforts of late to make insurance fraud and abuse criminal offenses. Life insurance companies are beginning to make strides toward a reputation as a force for good, paying out benefits and acting as shields against risk.
According to the Insurance Association of Vietnam, the life insurance industry in the country is expected to grow by 25 percent in 2019. Bancassurance, in particular, is gaining traction, and Nguyen estimates it will increase by 15 percent in the next five years. But still, the biggest barrier is winning the public’s trust. The solution, in her opinion, is for advisors to make increased efforts to support their clients in every situation. She believes that patience and persistence have been vital to her own success, and she prides herself on being a good listener and empathetic advisor.
VIETNAM BY THE NUMBERS
Population: 97 million
Average age: 31
GDP: $648.7 billion
2009: 100 MDRT members
2019: 2,513 MDRT members
Court of the Table members: 135
Top of the Table members: 33
Female members: 1,840
Average age of MDRT members: 39
As of April 1, 2019
“This career requires you to be knowledgeable, patient, good at listening and understanding,” she said. “Advisors must expand their social network and support their clients whenever they encounter problems in their life. You have to build a long-term relationship based on their trust and your reputation.”
Nguyen’s own positive reputation comes, in part, from being an MDRT member. She encourages others on her team to join MDRT and to take advantage of opportunities to network and learn from peers’ experiences, both failures and successes.
“A bright future awaits for insurance advisors and the life insurance business,” she said. “Opportunities are great for those who join this fascinating career.”