Malaysia’s SME sector is rapidly growing, contributing over 32% to the country’s GDP, 57% to employment and 19% to exports*. Growing at a higher rate than the country’s GDP growth over the last 8 years (with CAGR of 6.3%, and country GDP CAGR 4.7%)**, the SME industry has well established itself as the pillar to the country’s economic development. Acknowledging this importance and positive prospects for SMEs, business sustainability and continuity are key to keep the momentum going.   

AXA Affin General Insurance Berhad (AXA Affin) today launches SmartBusiness, its latest SME insurance solution, – to support SMEs with a product suite specific to industry needs. SmartBusiness offers 3 new products, namely SmartBusiness for “Retail”, “Beauty and Wellness” and “Specialised Services”.  

This newly launched range of products not only provides coverage for fire, essential protection for any business, but also a choice of tailor-made solutions relevant to these 3 specific trades, that includes fidelity, client’s personal effects, money that are in their possession for  business transactions, public and employer’s liability and loss, damage or delayed delivery to their goods.

Newly introduced as part of SmartBusiness is Major Critical Illness coverage for SME owners and their employees; which makes SmartBusiness a comprehensive yet affordable insurance solution for SMEs. In addition, a unique claims pledge of 20% advance cash payment based on initial estimate of loss is an offer that is embedded to help SMEs get back on track quicker. This hoped to address the business continuity concern amongst business owners.     

The launch was officiated by YBhg. Datuk Ir. (Dr) Mohamed Al Amin Abdul Majid, Chairman of the SME Corp and Mr Emmanuel Nivet, CEO of AXA Affin General Insurance Berhad. Also present to witness the launch were YBhg. Dato’ Hafsah Hashim, CEO of SME Corp; SME related agencies and association, industry partners, bank partners, as well as AXA Affin’s business partners.

Speaking at the launch, Datuk Ir. (Dr) Mohamed Al Amin Hj Abdul Majid said, “As we ride the new wave of growth, the SME industry needs to continuously reinforce their competitive edge by developing new capabilities to strengthen their foundation. They must also equip themselves with proper knowledge about risk management and insurance protection, to ensure sustainability and success of their business in the long run.”

He continued, “This is where SME SmartBusiness Insurance comes in and I applaud AXA Affin for taking the initiative to address the issues SMEs face. This is yet another example initiative under the SME Masterplan 2012-2020 in Malaysia.”

“What AXA Affin has aspired to do is to shift the perception from price to value by moving our focus from what and how much we are going to sell to customers into what value we can create to them. We realize the fact that insurance is not something that is purchased out of interest, more of on need basis. Customers may not understand what they have paid for and this can result in frustration at the end of the cycle, which is the claim process. We need to balance supply and demand in order to complement and create values for each other. The only way to do this is by back to basics i.e. listening to our customers,” says Emmanuel Nivet, CEO of AXA Affin General Insurance Berhad.

Upon identifying the market landscape, AXA Affin conducted a Value for Money (VFM) market research study to gain insights on the SME industry, the insurance priority of SMEs and the mindset of SME owners. After in-depth interviews and focus groups with various stakeholders and web-based interviews with more than 300 SMEs, the needs of SMEs based on the specific trade they are operating in was successfully identified.  

Mr Nivet continued, “We believe VFM has helped us to develop a segmented offer that speaks to the SME owners, providing clear and easy to understand solutions, with a simple application and enrolment process.”

He also added, “Upon establishing their needs, we came to a conclusion that a 20% advance cash payment based on initial estimate of loss helps ease the burden of business owners for immediate business recovery such as restocking or renovations. This way, business continuity can be achieved.

To equip our business partners with a tool to demonstrate SmartBusiness products and provide instant quotation to their customers, AXA Affin developed a web-based SME Calculator that can also store all pending and completed quotations for follow up.”

AXA Affin believes that SmartBusiness Insurance addresses the protection and business continuity needs of SMEs as it protects the business, owners and their employees, and ensures business continuity.

For more information on AXA’s SME SmartBusiness Insurance, visit http://www.axa.com.my/ or call 03-2170 8282.