The insurance industry is becoming increasingly complex: buyer habits are changing; products are being sold and packaged in new ways; and competitive start-ups are popping up everywhere. Younger people just graduating from college are accustomed to rapid change. They’ve grown up in an increasingly global, competitive, and dynamic society. Nevertheless, gaining first-hand experience before stepping into their professional careers can help them provide the value employers are looking for.
RGAX believes that to nurture exceptional visions and transformative powers for our next generation leaders, we need to start early, meaning now. To make this happen, in the Asia Pacific region, we’ve teamed up with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) to develop an internship program for the future of the insurance industry.
We recently sat down two of our graduates from the program, Tristan [TW] and Hui Jeong [HJ], to gather their input on their experiences.
Q: Why don’t you both start by introducing yourselves.
[TW] My name is Tristan, and I’m a local student in Hong Kong currently majoring in global business at HKUST. I was nominated to interview for the internship position at RGAX through the HeadStart program at school.
[HJ] My name is Hui Jeong, but my friends usually call me HJ. I’m from Korea, but I’ve lived in the United States and China before, which is why I speak fluent English and a little bit of Mandarin. I’m currently majoring in Biotechnology at the HKUST, where I heard about RGAX through the HeadStart program. I was initially interested in joining RGAX as an intern because I thought working there would be a good opportunity to be exposed to innovations and how they are applied in new business models, such as big data analytics.
Q: What projects did you work on during your time at RGAX, and what did you learn?
[TW] During my time as an intern at RGAX, I did research and documentation work related to the Qedit and Qibao projects. As well, I conducted in-depth research on use cases involving emerging technology, including AI, blockchain, life science, and data analytics. Finally, I researched the Insurtech landscape of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South East Asia to explore potential business opportunities in the region.
One of my key takeaways was a better understanding of the potential of emerging technology in the insurance sector. I dealt with many more use cases than I had never imagined I would, and that experience taught me not to limit myself but to welcome innovation.
Moreover, I learned a great deal about the insurance sector as a whole. Before working at RGAX, I thought of insurance as a more traditional, static industry. However, doing this research helped me see the huge potential in this sector, especially given the millions of uninsured clients in the region. By innovating and changing the way we deliver insurance, we can unlock that potential and not only allow the business to prosper, but also be able to protect millions of people from unexpected events.
[HJ] Most of my tasks at RGAX involved assisting a project focused on the Thai insurance market. I specifically worked on the “Propensity to Buy” (P2B) model. Through that, I learned about how AI and data analytics could be used to target customers, reducing risks for the carrier and making it more convenient for customers to purchase products through digital distribution.
Q: What did you enjoy most about your internship at RGAX?
[TW] I enjoyed the way people interacted with each other at RGAX. Everyone was friendly and open to new people, allowing me to blend in quickly. Plus, I enjoyed the gathering events, which let us wind down and interact in a relaxed environment.
[HJ] I learned a lot from working on the P2P project, but what I enjoyed most was the work environment. The RGAX culture and my team leader helped me feel like I was part of the team, and feeling included motivated me to grasp the project quickly so that I could contribute as much as possible.
Q: Tell us about the support you received from RGAX to bring you up to speed and to assist you in your work.
[TW] I went through the online company training in the first few days of my internship to brush up on my knowledge of the reinsurance industry. I was also given regular guidance through ongoing meetings with my managers.
These sessions provided feedback on my research and slide decks, and the suggestions for improvement helped me develop my skills in building slide decks and conducting more precise research. The suggestions on my research specifically helped develop my analytical skills and ability to discern what points would help deliver my message effectively from those that would not.
[HJ] I appreciated the initial training we received through RGA’s online training system. I‘d taken classes on general business knowledge, but I was still unsure about the role of a reinsurance company in the insurance industry. The online training modules were specifically helpful for understanding RGA’s purpose and vision.
Also, the PowerPoint training helped me significantly when I was building presentations. With that input, I could better discern the facts or benchmarks that were relevant to the idea we were trying to present.
Q: What would your advice be to someone starting an internship with RGAX in the future?
[TW] My advice would be not to be afraid to ask questions when you don’t understand something or are just curious about something you came across. I found the people at RGAX and RGA to be friendly, helpful, and willing to answer inquiries. Don’t be afraid to reach out, and you’ll gain more from your internship experience.
[HJ] I’d advise them to read as many news articles and reports on the innovative technology they are working with. If that tech is being applied in other industries, I’d suggest they read up on how it’s being utilized. Those successful or unsuccessful cases can be a good reference for making pitches, decisions, etc.
Q: What are some of your career goals, and do you feel the internship with RGAX will help you reach them?
[TW] As a business student, I am currently exploring the opportunities available in the banking or consulting industry. The internship with RGAX helped me get a glimpse of what it would be like to work at a venture capital firm with various different projects going on across different teams. And it gave me a more concrete idea of how the market works, especially in the insurance industry, and it allowed me to explore my interests in this direction.
[HJ] My career goal is to work in a biotechnology company as a person who understands both the research aspect of developing new products and the consumer/market needs. This internship experience helped me better understand the direct effect healthcare solutions have on people benefiting from them, and the industries related to people’s lifestyle choices. I believe this understanding of the ripple effect of technological innovations will support me throughout my career.
Q: Finally, what technology are you most excited about for the next ten years and why? (It doesn’t have to be insurance-related!)
[TW] I’m most excited about the emergence of AI technology. As it continues to develop, I can see its potential in the insurance sector. Right now, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg in the application of AI. I‘m sure it can be applied to many other sectors, revolutionizing the way we live.
[HJ] With my current major in biotechnology and the articles on the company portal website explaining gene-editing techniques, I would say I’m most excited about technology that will help us tackle genetic disorders. Other technologies such as AI models and cryptocurrencies will make clients’ lives easier and reduce risk for many, but I think the technology to rectify genetic disorders - when successfully developed and implemented - will have a greater positive impact on people than any other innovation.
Our team would like to thank Tristan and HJ for their hard work and dedication. We look forward to watching their growth as future business leaders and wish them the best in all their endeavors.