MANULIFE PHILIPPINES is preparing to roll out new products as it aims to improve efforts to assess their clients’ needs.

Manulife Philippines President and CEO Richard Bates told reporters in a briefing late Tuesday that the insurer is currently doing customer surveys and meet-ups with clients to assess their needs.

Mr. Bates assumed his post last Aug. 5, replacing Ryan Charland who has been assigned to Manulife’s Indonesia unit.

“We will be having exciting things coming down, nothing that I’m afraid I can announce today, but we are constantly looking that what we develop is what the client needs,” Mr. Bates said when asked if the market can expect additional products from the insurer.

Mr. Bates said the insurer has an “optimistic” view of the market, citing the economy’s continued growth in the past few years and increasing investments in the country.

“When you look at how well the market has grown in the Philippines over the last few years and the directions and investments that are coming in, you have to be optimistic about the future,” he said.

“Overall, I’m feeling very optimistic about the opportunity, I’m new to the post but very excited about the opportunity,” he added.

He said that in terms of digitalization in their back-end operations, sales and customer information, the insurance firm “still [has] some way to go,” although improvements are ongoing.

“As an organization, we still have some ways to go, but we have made incredibly fast ground in a very short period of time so I’m very pleased with where we are, very pleased where we’ve got to… The question is always making sure that we remain innovative and remain creative and that’s part of the reason why the office looks this way,” he explained.

Manulife on Tuesday inaugurated its new headquarters in NEX Tower on Ayala Avenue in Makati City.

The new office features an open layout, collaborative workspaces, including work cafés in every floor, training and meeting rooms, and its own event area, among others.

Mr. Bates said they’ve seen improved productivity among their employees with the new open-design office.

“As an organization, it helped to drive our engagement with our team and it helped to drive up their productivity and ultimately help to drive up customer satisfaction,” he said.

Manulife Philippines is the local unit of Canada-based giant Manulife Financial Corp. with 1,400 employees and more than 9,000 agents across the country.

As of end-2018, the insurance firm posted P2.59 billion in net earnings based on the unaudited statistics submitted by life insurers to the Insurance Commission. — BML