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Business lessons from Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the usual assumptions that we have in the way business is conducted.  The resulting lockdown slowed down all of our lives to a halt.  As with any other company, Etiqa Philippines has had to adjust and learn from these challenging times in order to adapt to the New Normal. Today, I wish to share with you four of the most important lessons that 2020 has taught us, as an Organization:

1. In times of crisis, protect your fellow employees first so they can continue to look after your clients

Our company’s vision is to become A Leading Insurance Provider supported by Highly Effective People and enabled by Technology.  To maintain this high level of effectiveness, our employees must be able to remain healthy, safe, and secure to ensure that we are able to follow through with our commitments to our clients and policyholders.  From a financial point of view, I’ve realized that during a pandemic, it is not only vital for the survival of an organization to maintain adequate levels of cash reserves but most importantly, you must be able to protect the quality and resiliency of your human capital.

2. Adapt swiftly to change without compromising values and fundamentals

Like many of our peers, we implemented our business continuity plans in response to the quarantine measures. This resulted in our pivot towards more contactless transaction processing, company-wide work-from-home arrangements, and the recalibration of our policies.  All processes and procedures are necessary to adapt to the New Normal. Dire circumstances may have forced us to deviate from our business-as-usual practices, but the focus on corporate governance fundamentals and our values of Agility, Teamwork, Integrity, Growth Mindset, Excellence, and Relationship Building remained unchanged.

3. The importance of digital and online:

During these times, we’ve come to appreciate the benefits and advantages of having our products and services available online for our clients and even for our operations.  Platforms such as a seamless fund transfer facility in place that enables us to make and receive payments like PesoNet; the convenience of having a mobile app for our members like our Smile App, which was launched in November of last year; and the ease and convenience that our e-commerce platforms offer to our patrons, such as our online E-ZY Pneumonia Plan ( and our Travel Assistance Plan (  

4. Humanize through gratitude and empathy

Despite what has happened throughout the year, I remain grateful for the blessings we continue to enjoy, the challenges that have strengthened our resolve, and the opportunities we have to apply the learnings of 2020 for years to come. The health, economic, and sociological crises caused by the pandemic have also shown that empathy is the most important human attribute that any company should have.

I hope these four lessons will prove as helpful to you as they are to me. I carry them with me as I continue to help Etiqa Philippines achieve its goal of Humanizing Insurance and its thrust to bring smiles to millions of Filipinos. 

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