With two children of his own, aged nine and 11, Alistair Fraser-Hawkins is fascinated about how best to educate young people. “I’m a great believer in leading by example,” he remarks. So much so that, in June 2017, six months into his role as Indonesia CEO and President Director of global risk management and insurance broker Marsh, British School Jakarta elected him Chair of the Board of Governors.

The school’s students are not just from expat British families but also from a cross-section of nationalities including Indonesian, all wanting the best opportunities for their children. An entirely voluntary role, being Board Chair takes up what precious spare time he has; however, Alistair says he wouldn’t change it for the world.

“The school is focused on producing the highest level of education possible, turning out well-rounded kids and making them global citizens, by giving them experiences that will set them up well for the future in whatever they pursue,” Alistair says.

“I’m fascinated by understanding the younger generation and it’s rewarding when we see the results.” When Alistair moved to Indonesia, insurance penetration was around 2.75% across both life and non-life insurance. In general insurance, the figure was even lower, at around one per cent. Across the board, Alistair saw a big opportunity to grow insurance penetration in a country
with a population of more than 260 million. Historically, Marsh has focused on the corporate space where customers normally buy large insurance programs. Alistair noticed an opportunity for growth. in the SME segment.

Alistair Fraser-Hawkins CEO & President Director of Marsh Indonesia

What Alistair loves most about being in insurance is the ability to engage with all other industries locally and around the world, understanding how their businesses operate and what motivates them. “The fascinating thing for me is understanding what makes businesses tick,” he reflects. “Now we’re talking to clients more and more in Indonesia about how we can protect their revenue stream rather than just their physical assets. Five to 10 years ago, the focus was almost entirely on physical asset protection.”

Marsh Indonesia’s training programs

Understanding that insurers need to provide products catering specifically to client risks within their industry is important. Thus, Alistair has put in place a colleague training program to ensure all Marsh brokers are up to speed with the technical elements of risk, as well as with emerging trends. “We can only grow if we work closely with our insurer partners and Indonesia’s insurance regulator and other associations,” says Alistair.

It can be very easy to pick holes in any situation and to find a negative, but you’ll get a far more successful result… with positive energy and a can-do attitude.

“This means that, as an industry, we’re educating clients, we’re working with each other, we’re working closely with the industry, and we’re working with the regulator to increase the knowledge and awareness around what risk and insurance solutions are out there. Then we work with the buyers to make sure they have insurance programs that ultimately meet the needs of the risk profile they face.”

A diverse and evolving portfolio

Motor vehicle and property equates to over 50 per cent of the overall Indonesian insurance market. In addition, as an archipelago of more than 14,000 islands and given the country’s oil and gas industry, marine and energy insurance features prominently, as well as an increasing demand for trade credit insurance and medical insurance. However, Alistair is noticing clients are increasingly wanting to protect against cyber risk, especially those in the SME space. Directors and officers liability insurance, and crime and fidelity insurance are also emerging products from a penetration perspective.

“Some of these products aren’t necessarily new to the insurance market globally, but certainly buyers in Indonesia are becoming far more risk-aware. They’re wanting to talk to sophisticated advisers about how to protect against these risks,” says Alistair.

Alistair Fraser-Hawkins’ 2020 vision

With all this focus on education, both with brokers and clients, Alistair hopes this can lead to a solid bottom-line result. By 2020, he aims to grow the business substantially, including as part of this growth developing a business-to-business-to-employee proposition.

“What I mean here is, that we would like to work with our clients to help them add value to their employees by offering access to insurance products that can protect or enhance their lives and distribute them using technology,” he explains.

Leading by example and a positive approach

Alistair says he wants to continue leading by example. When possible, he loves rolling up his sleeves and getting involved. For example, he doesn’t particularly like sitting behind his desk, preferring to walk the floor instead. Even when he’s at his desk, it’s of the stand-up variety.

Most important to Alistair though is being able to empower his colleagues to make their own decisions. The big lesson he wants to impart to his team is that business is “a mirror of life in general”; that there will be highs and lows in any given period. He believes approaching every situation with positive energy is crucial to success.

“It can be very easy to pick holes in any situation and to find a negative, but you’ll get a far more successful result for yourself and your business if you approach things with positive energy and a can-do attitude. I think you’ve got to appreciate that not everyone’s built the same, but everyone will thrive off positivity,” he advises.

“Approach every situation with positivity. You know, if you get a knock-back, don’t take it too seriously. Learn from it and move forward positively again.”