Manulife bags honor with prestigious ‘Friend of ASEAN’ Award

(Press Release)

Manulife has been honored with the prestigious “Friend of ASEAN” award at the 2021 ASEAN Business Awards hosted by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council in recognition of its positive social and economic contribution to the Southeast Asia region.

The ASEAN Business Awards were launched in 2007 to recognize companies that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the ASEAN economy, which includes 10 member states in Southeast Asia.

Manulife opened its first office in Southeast Asia in Singapore in 1899. Since then, it has grown to include a presence in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Access to financial products and services, and improvements in financial literacy, can have a profound impact on people’s lives and their ability to prepare for their future.

In response to challenges the pandemic presented, Manulife delivered digital, accessible products and services, including in Singapore, where the company scaled its direct digital product offering with DBS to seven products and launched non-face-to-face processes to enable its agents and partners to meet the needs of its customers and their families throughout the pandemic. In Vietnam, where the company launched Khởi Đầu Bảo Vệ (My Starter Protection), its first digital insurance product offers a hassle-free way for a younger segment of the population to purchase life and health insurance.

Throughout the pandemic, Manulife also made contributions to Southeast Asian communities including providing student bursaries in Malaysia; medical supplies and desktop computers to hospitals and clinics across Indonesia; free insurance coverage to more than 85,000 two-wheel delivery riders in the Philippines; and personal health protection items including masks and sanitizer in Cambodia. Manulife has also launched a US$1 million support fund for supplementary COVID-19 coverage for its Singapore customers.

“We are delighted to receive this award, which recognizes the contribution we have made to Southeast Asia through meeting the health, savings, and retirement needs of families across the region for more than 120 years,” said Anil Wadhwani, President and CEO, Manulife Asia.

In addition to supporting customers throughout the challenging times, Manulife operates in 13 markets across Asia and represents more than 40 percent of the company’s total core earnings, with a goal to raise that to 50 percent by 2025. Emerging Markets within ASEAN are important to achieving that growth.

“As a leading digitally-enabled life insurer, Manulife is dedicated to delivering value and growth to our customers, colleagues, communities, and shareholders across ASEAN markets,” said Sachin N. Shah, General Manager, Emerging Markets, Manulife. “This award from the ASEAN BAC is particularly meaningful as it recognizes our longstanding commitment to the markets and value of the region for us, as an organization.”

Since 2017, Manulife has been a Patron member of the Canada-ASEAN Business Council, a volunteer-driven not-for-profit organization established in 2012 and based in Singapore with the mission of increasing trade and investment between Canada and ASEAN.

The Friends of ASEAN award category recognizes non-ASEAN companies’ positive contribution to the society and economy of the Southeast Asia region. It shows the appreciation towards ASEAN region and the necessity to maintain the connection with other countries in the world. This award is nominated by the ABA Chair and ASEAN-BAC.

Established in 2003, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) is the official organization that provides private sector feedback and guidance to boost ASEAN’s efforts towards economic integration and identifies priority areas for consideration by ASEAN leaders. ASEAN BAC members are appointed by each government’s minister-in-charge and up to three high-level company CEOs are appointed per country, with one representing the interests of small and medium-sized enterprises.