On faith, hope, love, and staying the course
“Only in the darkness can you see the stars” – Martin Luther King
Just like that, a month has passed into the new year and February is now upon us. Despite the chaos and uncertainty of 2020, being forced to spend so much time at home has also made it a time of reflection and realization.
Making a commitment to save lives through protection reminded me how my life experience gives a deeper purpose to the work that we do in the life insurance industry. Amid these tragic events that took place when I was young, I cannot help but be grateful that I was able to take away life lessons on keeping the faith, holding on to hope, and expressing love.
This year, we start with a clean slate and look forward armed with the best of what 2020 left behind to build a strong recovery for 2021.
Keeping the Faith
Coming from a year fraught with unpleasant surprises that pushed everyone to quickly adjust and catch up, I expect things to be more predictable—which means to expect the unexpected. We already know what Covid is, the hazards associated with it, what lies ahead. Agility is key for any organization to keep up with the situation.
In anticipating the worst, we’ve been able to put in place the right controls alongside calculated risks. In achieving this balance we end up with the best of both worlds: enough flexibility to push our capabilities, without sacrificing the control measures that will ensure that the risks we’re taking are within the levels we are comfortable with.
The pandemic changed our lives in so many ways but what I appreciate are the learnings that it left in its wake. With social distancing restrictions keeping me home for the longest period in recent years, I was able to have more time for myself and my family. Without social functions to attend, I was able to eat healthier, sleep better, take better care of myself. As the landscape continues to shift and change, let’s resolve to continue the good things we’ve started during the pandemic and avoid going back to our old habits.
Holding on to Hope
The availability of the Covid vaccine gives me hope that in a few months’ time we will achieve some semblance of the old “normal” and keep the wheels of the economy turning. This is what drove us in AIA Philam Life to partner with the government, alongside 300 other companies from the private sector, in its Dose of Hope initiative. Through this project, we are donating thousands of vaccines that will be administered by the government based on their priority program.
If there’s one thing that gives me so much hope on what AIA Philam Life can accomplish, it is its people. It is said that tough times either make or break people. 2020 stretched everyone in ways we never could have imagined and I am proud of the way our people have come out of the experience. In true Filipino spirit, AIA Philam Lifers have shown resiliency and strength in the face of so many challenges: volcanic eruption, pandemic, and back to back typhoons. With so much done in times of difficulty, I believe that the sky is the limit to what we can do under normal circumstances.
We launched our Save Lives project without knowing that a pandemic would add an additional hurdle to the ambitious target we set. We decided to stay the course because our commitment to our mission of racing against risk became even more important in the face of uncertainties. In the end, we achieved over 70% for both our saved lives and basic sum assured targets. We are disappointed with this but it makes us even more determined to work harder to accomplish more, and bring to life our purpose of helping Filipinos live Healthier, Longer and Better Lives.
I look back at the year that was and I am reminded of how love is at the core of everything that we do, of how it pushes us to give unconditionally and sacrifice for those that matter most, without expectation and with joy. My siblings and I took the difficult journey after my father’s death together and it was the emotional ups and downs that bound us together. We learned to trust and love each other more, and defined for us the meaning of family, comradeship and team.
From a leadership perspective, I saw how the situation brought out the best in our people: working beyond normal hours and pushing each other to fast track our digital capabilities because we knew that our people in the field and our customers needed these tools to be up and running immediately, those in the field going above and beyond to speed up their clients’ claims, knowing that the resources are desperately needed during the pandemic. It was the worst of times and yet it brought out the best in our people.
Let us take time to appreciate and value the people in our journey, and most especially, the lessons that we pick up along the way. It doesn’t matter where we are right now. Everyday is a chance to start, whether that is today, tomorrow, the day after. The future is ahead for all of us.
Follow AIA Philam Life CEO Kelvin Ang on Instagram @keepingupwithkelvin.
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