Switching jobs can be an exciting but also risky experience. On top of actually landing the job, there’s also a whole slew of questions you need answered: “What’s it like working there?”, “Will I fit in?”, and many more.
Especially when you’re thinking of shifting to a newer company like the insurance firm FWD Life Philippines (FWD). The company, which is the first life insurer licensed by the Insurance Commission of the Philippines under the new Insurance Code, is part of FWD Group, the insurance business arm of investment group Pacific Century Group. FWD spans Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and Japan, serving 2.6 million customers, with over USD 22.6 billion in assets.
FWD started its Philippine operations in 2014, making it perhaps the youngest firm here in a decades-old insurance industry. And yet, it’s one of the country’s fastest-growing life insurers, notching PHP 2.26 billion in total premium income in 2015 (its first full year of operations) and PHP 3 billion in 2016 — and that’s during a decline in the life insurance industry, as noted by the company’s president Peter Grimes. In addition, FWD is the life insurer with the highest level of paid-in capital in the Philippines at PHP 2.3 billion.
This progress is what convinced 27-year-old Aprille Bay-an and 32-year-old Edison Rivera to shift from their old jobs into FWD as Financial Solutions Consultants (FSC).
As FSCs, they’re stationed at the company’s partner, Security Bank, working with bank employees to give the best insurance plan that fits their clients’ different needs. They act as FWD’s counterpart for the bank manager, training bank employees on insurance products and standing as the main resource person for all things FWD.
It’s a lot of responsibility, but this didn’t deter Aprille or Edison from applying — regardless of whether they had previous experience in insurance or not. In retrospect, it paid off. Here are their reasons why:
It rewards your skills.
Aprille was already the assistant leader of a telesales team for a bank when she had to quit in 2015 for personal reasons. Looking for a new job that would maximize her salesmanship, she saw the opening at FWD and jumped into it.
“I was attracted to FWD because [at] that time it was the newest in the market. My personal thinking was hindi pa ganun ka-saturated yung market. Marami pa di na-oofferan na clients, so sobrang laki pa ng opportunities,” she explained.
Edison saw the opportunity, too. He described the partnership with Security Bank as “fresh,” allowing them reach out to more receptive clients. It also helped that the clients referred to him were usually already briefed properly by the bank employees.
“[We have] amazing support from Security Bank,” he said.
“If you’re able to train your referrers [Security Bank employees], share skills and issues, they themselves already know how to sell the product,” Aprille explained, highlighting the opportunity for leadership and mentoring their job had. This way, referrers can already prep potential customers and FSCs can focus on in-depth presentations.
It’s responsibilities like these that Edison had been after. He wanted to put his years of experience in the insurance and sales industry to good use, especially after coming from a large and established insurance firm. He joined FWD in 2016 and wasn’t disappointed.
“We’re in that stage of growing the business in the Philippines. So if your main goal is to have additional responsibilities or being promoted as an FSC, I suggest FWD,” he said.
“Ang laki pa ng opportunity na pwede namin i-work out, ‘di lang for FWD but also for our bank partnership. So in terms of growth, ‘yan ‘yung tinitingnan ko. Kasi gusto ko sumabay sa paglaki ng company.”
“In the near future I want to be one of the leaders of FWD,” he added with confidence.
It’s not just career growth that’s offered here. As Aprille excitedly shared, employees are richly rewarded for good work. Not only do they bring home salary and allowance, but meeting targets could also mean bonuses the size of your salary and commissions amounting to thousands of pesos. On top of that, FWD employees receive the incentive of an all-expenses-paid trip abroad if they perform well.
You get all the support you need from Day One.
Even though the insurance industry was new for Aprille, she didn’t have a hard time transitioning at all. Aside from her background in sales to rely on, she made sure to complete training in FWD and read up on the industry. More importantly, however, she could count on having people to always help her.
“What I really love about the company is that everyone is helpful. Everyone is approachable,” she said.
“In big companies, even small feedback has to go through a long process,” she explained. But because FWD is relatively new, the teams are smaller and it’s easier to go directly to the big bosses when necessary.
“Since you get to hang out with [your bosses], they are motivating. And you don’t get that in other companies, na you get motivated by the big bosses,” she said. “We really are a family.”
Edison felt the same way: “It really means a lot, especially for the sales force, that you can feel the support of your upper management.”
It even extends online, where the company’s Viber groups make sure that every need and issue can reach team leaders and be addressed by them immediately. There’s also a hotline FSCs can call and an online portal that helps them work on-the-go without missing a beat — all using gadgets provided by FWD.
“You have technology, your support team, your upper management, your trainings…so for applicants who don’t have much of an extensive insurance background, they don’t need to worry, because they will get their support and training,” Edison said.
“Nagtutulungan talaga. ‘Di ka na lang ibabato sa field without help,” Aprille added.
It’s this friendly, supportive atmosphere that sets FWD apart from its competitors in Edison’s eyes: “It’s more fun to work here! The culture here is relaxed and enjoyable.”
Your work has a purpose.
“I enjoy sales in general, but when I transferred, there was a higher purpose,” Edison said. “The goal of FWD is very, very different from other insurance companies. We have our motto here: We want to change how people feel about insurance. We want them to enjoy life.”
“You really get the chance to help your clients and be part of their lives and help them build a better future,” he said.
“With my work as a FSC, we also encounter claims where nakakatulong ka sa pamilya ng nawala,” he said. “At least nakakabigay ka ng tulong sa toughest times ng family. Kasi for me, ang sarap ng feeling na ‘yun, na nakakatulong ka.”
“Kung ‘di man claims, you give them plans for them to enjoy life. Let’s say tumagal na and they see their profits. And they go back to you and they’re very happy in terms of their returns, what they get from their investments. That’s another side of our work. When we see that the clients are happy with the product, masaya din kami, kasi of course, you know that you helped them,” he added.
“May nabasa nga ako eh: ‘If only people knew the value of insurance, then you won’t have to sell it.’ People will be coming to us,” Aprille shared.
“[It’s] a product you can buy now that your future self will definitely thank you for it,” she continued.
If you’re still on the fence on taking that leap after reading all of this, here’s advice from one very happy employee of FWD: “It’s always nice to go out of your comfort zone, because the greatest rewards are there.”
Aprille knows what she’s talking about. She made that leap herself. And she knows that whether you have experience in insurance like Edison, or zero knowledge at all when she started out, there’s always room to grow at FWD.