Our major USP lies in establishing trust, and providing security, reliability and customer centric services

Bharat Gopal Chandra Sunam serves as the Head of the Human Resource and Branding Department at Siddhartha Premier Insurance. His extensive expertise lies in the domains of human resource management and branding. As Nepal’s insurance sector advances, nurturing human resources through knowledge sharing, capacity enhancement, training, and exposure becomes crucial for their retention in this sector. The HRM Nepal recently had a tête-à-tête with Sunam, discussing various aspects related to human resource management and branding. Excerpts:

Q. How have you been positioning Siddhartha Premier Insurance as a premium brand?
A. As the insurance sector in Nepal undergoes development and transformation, effectively positioning Siddhartha Premier Insurance in the market involves identifying and leveraging its unique selling proposition (USP). Our USP reflects the true value of insurance through a holistic approach. We actively explore trends and practices to stay current, with social media playing a crucial role. Our promotional activities extend beyond sales, encompassing information dissemination, insurance awareness, and audience engagement across all age groups. This comprehensive approach becomes an integral part of our customers’ lifestyles. Notably, our innovative products, such as SPIL DIGI – an online insurance platform – and our paperless claim settlement system, contribute to our USP. From my perspective, an effective branding position enhances market visibility, customer loyalty, and drives business growth.

Q. With so many competitors in the market, why should people choose to work for your company?
A. Following the merger, our financial capital has significantly strengthened. Our primary focus now is to become the preferred choice for every potential candidate. Our policy revolves around the 3P values: being People-oriented, Process-driven, and committed to Performance. These values exemplify our culture, which places equal emphasis on both our people and their performance. With a 30-year legacy, we take pride in retaining employees who have been with us for over 25 years, a testament to our genuine commitment to our workforce. Leveraging the best HR practices, we empower employees to learn, develop, broaden their horizons, engage, and grow. Additionally, we firmly believe in providing equal employment opportunities to all potential candidates. Our employee-oriented compensation and benefits practices further reinforce our commitment to our team.

Q. The company’s motto is ‘trust and security’. How does the company relate this while designing the products?
A. I believe that trust and security form the bedrock of any insurance product. Our primary unique selling proposition (USP) centres around establishing trust, ensuring security, reliability, and delivering customer-centric services. With 30 years behind us – a journey spanning three decades – our progress is a testament to the unwavering trust of our valued clients. They feel secure after choosing us for their insurance needs. Our operational policies are transparent, providing clients with a clear view of their security coverage. Additionally, our claim procedures prioritise the customer, ensuring they receive prompt attention when they need us most.

Q. How often do you conduct surveys regarding the preferences of clients while introducing new products?
A. Yes, we believe in a data-driven process that enables us to make decisions based on facts rather than assumptions. We regularly conduct surveys, both physically and via social media, to develop tailor-made services according to demand, need, and market trends

Q. Digital innovations have eased branding and marketing campaigns in many ways. How has the company been utilising them and how effective have they been?
A. We are at the forefront of the digital revolution, recognising it as a crucial need of the hour. I am pleased to announce that we are pioneers in the non-life insurance industry, having launched SPIL DIGI – an online platform that allows users to purchase policies anytime and from anywhere. Additionally, our digital claim settlement system streamlines the process, eliminating paperwork. Leveraging social media for branding, we reach a wider audience cost-effectively. As social media has become an integral part of individual lifestyles, we engage our audience through creative content in innovative ways.

Q. The turnover rate in the financial sector including insurance firms is high. Why is this the case and how has the company been working to resolve this issue?
A. Yes, employee retention is challenging, especially in the financial sector, including insurance. The insurance industry is in an evolving and transformational phase, with many new practices emerging and mergers taking place. We leverage best HR practices, focusing on employees’ physical and mental well-being. This includes conducting employee health check camps and organising socialisation and engagement programmes. Additionally, we provide training and development opportunities at each level for personal and professional growth. Our ‘Coffee with CEO’ initiative offers a platform for employees from every level to interact with the chief of our company. We also prioritise employee grievance handling and counselling, while developing a clear, performance-oriented career path. Notably, we have employees who have remained with us for over 25 years, reflecting the values and culture of our organisation.

Q. There is lack of human resources in the insurance sector. Considering this situation, do companies need to offer training and exposure for capacity enhancement of their staff? How has Siddhartha Premier Insurance been paying attention in this regard?
A. Human resources are increasingly challenging, especially in the context of Nepal due to brain drain. While there is a shortage of manpower, the skill gap also contributes to this issue. We actively encourage various educational institutes to incorporate insurance studies into their curriculum, aiming to attract potential candidates to the insurance sector. Our focus on training and development programmes is a key strategy for both employee growth and company success. Investing in these programmes remains a core priority for our organisation’s future. Learning and development are integral to our growth, and we prioritise them accordingly. Since the merger, we have conducted training sessions across Nepal, covering not only technical aspects but also behavioural training. These programmes enhance employees’ communication skills, team building abilities, decision-making and corporate skills.

Q. What strategies has the company been adopting for result-based delivery from human resources? 
A. Employee performance is directly proportional to organisational performance. Our performance-oriented growth culture ensures that employees’ performance is directly linked to their own growth. We follow the 3P’s policy, and our Performance Management System includes the practice of MBO (Management By Objectives). Additionally, we design KRA’s (Key Result Areas) and KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to enhance transparency in performance planning and expectations. When evaluating employee performance, we consider not only their functional achievements but also their contextual performance, recognising qualities such as innovation, teamwork, effort, attitude, job sincerity and leadership.

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