Mr Michael Lamb is the CEO of CCW Global, an International Health Insurance Brokerage company based in Hong Kong. He has been in the insurance industry since 2006 and has handled international health insurance marketing for most countries in Asia such as Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, China, and Hong Kong under Pacific Prime. He joined CCW Global as the Marketing Director in 2013 and assumed the CEO position in 2014.
Mr Lamb talked to us about the challenges of the iPMI market in Asia, particularly in Hong Kong, his experience transitioning from Pacific Prime to CCW, and introduced us to CCW’s latest project, Ask CCW.
Learn more about Mr Lamb’s insights in his full interview below.
A: CCW Global, formerly Cooper, Claridge-Ware Limited, was founded as a multi-line insurance broker in 2012. We’re headquartered in Hong Kong and focus mainly on the Asian expatriate market. We offer a wide range of non-investment linked insurance services through our brokerage team, but our core business focus is individual and corporate health insurance products.
Q: What are the main challenges of the IPMI market in Hong Kong?
A: In the last decade the Hong Kong iPMI market has changed quite substantially.
We’re seeing fewer individuals coming to the city on traditional “expat” packages which means that is less space for iPMI products from a budgeting perspective. Sustainable premiums and containing costs are critical concerns for the longevity of the market, which really comes down to the cost of care in the city.
The entire healthcare supply chain is in a fairly dangerous position; from the small number of private hospitals to the high cost of private care, the pricing of Hong Kong’s iPMI solutions are going to run ahead of the market’s ability to afford them by 2027.
This isn’t a fault of the insurers as they are simply covering the risk presented by the market, but without a fundamental reassessment of how private healthcare operates in HKSAR international health insurance products are going to be left behind in favour of local options (which offer a great deal less coverage) or the developing hybrid plans which a number of on-shore insurers are starting to introduce.
Getting the balance of pricing, longevity of coverage, and suitability of benefits provided is our core challenge at the moment.
A: To a certain extent, but it hasn’t impacted our overall operations.
We are committed to offering an advice-based educational approach to broking and this has really resonated with our target audience; while some brokers have chosen to take the mass market route with an aggregator-like approach we have stuck to offering a traditional white-glove style service, and this has seen us avoid avenues where a lot of the competition is taking place.
We also like to think that competition is extremely healthy in the market as it spurs us to try and better our organization – so where we have faced competitors we welcome the challenge to show the added value which CCW can bring to the table for our customers.
We’ve managed consistent and sustainable growth since we opened our doors in 2012, in no small part because of the competition we’ve faced as a company. I’d like to think our competitors are actually a big part of us being where we are today.
A: Obviously I’ve remained committed to ensuring that CCW Global is able to compete with and challenge established players online, and my background at Pacific Prime (where I developed and managed over 25 different websites for that organization) has helped with this.
However, CCW is its own company and we’ve developed our own culture and work ethic. We’re always trying to think about positive change for our clients at the forefront of our decisions, and having the ability to develop the processes that allow us to improve the lives of our customers is definitely a departure from my previous work history.
Overall it was a learning experience, and has definitely helped me to define the type of organization which CCW Global is today.
A: 2017 is shaping up to be an exciting year! We have just launched ASK.CCW-Global.com, a unique platform for insurance education.
In Hong Kong ASK CCW will be deployed for the complete range of products we offer, but internationally we will be working to develop this as a primary resource for iPMI consumers worldwide who want to understand how their coverage works without being pressured to receive a quotation or enter into a sales conversation. From Australia to Zimbabwe, applications to waiting periods, we want ASK CCW to be the go-to platform for expats who have questions about all aspects of the global iPMI market.
We will also be continuing our development of global health insurance education resources through our website, as well as building a specific platform to address corporate iPMI concerns in the APAC region; there are a lot of industry specific health insurance options being offered by underwriters on the market but HR managers and directors may have some difficulty finding them.
We’re aiming to create a centralized hub for corporate health and medical insurance concerns by Q4, which will essentially be a continuation of the work we’ve been doing for individuals.
Our mission is to simplify insurance, and we plan to do that through continuing to provide high quality educational resources and a conversational approach to our advice giving. There are a large number of projects in our pipeline, but as a relatively small organization it’s a bit of a balancing act trying to put them all into play!
Otherwise 2017 will be more of the same, with CCW continuing to offer high-quality services to clients in Hong Kong and around the world while continuing our mission of simplification and education.