Oct 2020

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Providing certainty in an uncertain world

Source: Middle East Insurance Review | Aug 2020

For our business to prove its value in our markets and communities, we need to be clear about why we exist.
Martin Rueegg, CEO, Middle East, RSA
To say that the world is going through a period of uncertainty is an understatement. It is changing at a pace faster than any of us has ever seen. To give you an example, in just one week, our organisation went from 100% work in the office to 100% work from home, with limited impact to our customers and partners. Events like these make me wonder why our digital transformation projects in the past took so long to be implemented. 
With restrictions easing across the world, every so often I wonder if things would go back to normal. But then, what is normal? 
The only normalcy I can find, as I am writing this article, is change. The key differentiator for us, not just organisations, but also as individuals, will be our ability to adapt and embrace constant change. This is not new, but now probably more of a ‘must-have’ rather than ‘nice to have’.
I have to admit that managing the business in the last few months came with many sleepless nights and the addition of several grey hairs. While it is critical we look ahead and try our best to plan for what’s to come, my priority when the news crept up on us was to ensure our colleagues were safe and healthy (mentally and physically) and we were still able to meet our promises to our customers. 
Why we exist
The COVID-19 pandemic is a truly unfortunate event globally. However, if I do have to look on the bright side, it gave me the opportunity to step back and reflect. How can insurers make a difference in today’s world? It became clear to me that for any business to prove its value in its markets and communities, we needed to be clear about why we exist. And, this is exactly the journey we are on now. 
Nothing fancy, no bells or whistles, but stripping it back to the fundamentals of our noble purpose to our customers, and aligning our strategies, operations, and processes to this purpose. We also took this opportunity to review our strategic priorities, ones that make sense in not only today’s world, but also would remain relevant in tomorrow’s world (as much as we can predict, anyway). Digital and data will no longer be trendy words in our organisation, but will form our foundation, our basis on all decisions and initiatives. 
While the world continues to evolve, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, one thing should rarely change: our promise and purpose to our customers. We are here to provide an element of certainty, no matter how uncertain the world is. And, this ‘North Star’ is also how I have been guided to lead my own organisation and my colleagues. All our processes, systems, and decisions should revolve around this purpose, and most importantly, our colleagues should feel empowered to make decisions as long as it is aligned with the purpose. 
Which brings us to the hardest and also most complex part of the journey – culture. While I might have a vision and thoughts on how to operate, it is critical that our people also believe in it, given they are the most important asset we have. We have set out on a journey to do this and I have learnt to be patient because it is not an overnight project. I hope that my actions will lead by example, so that we, as RSA will bring our customers’ goals and ambitions further – together. M 
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