Marsh Indonesia leverages smart technology to guide businesses through change

Marsh Indonesia leverages smart technology to guide businesses through change

A global leader

Global insurance leader Marsh has a rich history dating back to 1871, with more than 30,000 colleagues in over 130 countries. On a worldwide scale, Marsh works on behalf of clients spanning industries and companies of all sizes, with a distinct focus on the commercial, corporate and risk management segments.

Marsh’s Indonesian business has been in operation for 35 years. “We’re a very established player here,” says Alistair Fraser-Hawkins, CEO of Marsh Indonesia. “We’re the biggest broker in Indonesia, and our growth rate has been steady, but in the last two years we’ve seen a significant increase driven by a more segmented strategy, targeting particular sectors and helping clients identify and manage their risks.”

Importantly for such a global business, Marsh is keen to establish and maintain its brand identity while emphasising its commitment to both employees and clients in Indonesia. The global brand revolves, as Fraser-Hawkins describes, around Marsh as a ‘brains business’. “Through our consulting, risk management and broking businesses, it’s about maintaining the core ethos of the brand as well as using technology where we can to either enhance the colleague experience of working with us, or deliver a higher quality of advice or service to our client base.” 

Fraser-Hawkins describes the period of VUCA (vulnerability, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) Marsh is committed to helping its clients overcome by guiding them through their risk management needs and process. “In essence, our brand stands for quality advice in times of change. The world changes on a constant basis – in fact, the only constant is change – so we are always adjusting how we approach clients to help them with the risk their businesses face.”

Localised service

The rapid pace of change is the same the world over. “Our goal is to ensure that wherever a client touches us, they get a consistent level of service. We operate under a number of global guidelines, which we call our ‘Client First Principles’ – a global set of professional standards that all colleagues who engage with clients adhere to.

“On top of that, we have our multinational ‘Rules of the Road’ – set guidelines of service that must be delivered to a client wherever they are in the world. The only changes to this are driven by local regulation. Indonesia is no different – we are conscious of the consistency of brand, service delivery and structure.”

All this is put in place to ensure clients receive the same level of service in any country, with a key USP for Marsh being that it can help businesses through a smooth transition from country to country. “This is something Marsh holds very dearly, particularly around our ‘Client First Principles’ to ensure the client is ultimately get the best of Marsh,” says Fraser-Hawkins. “One of our selling points when competing with local brokers, for example, is our global network and global expertise. We have a very strong collaboration culture as we handle a lot of different multinational organisations,” he adds.

Committed to Indonesian talent

With the Indonesia business part of a global firm spanning 130 countries, how does the MNC demonstrate that it’s here to stay in a smaller market? The key to this for any business is putting its money where its mouth is by investing in the local economy and local people – over 150 of them, to be exact. “When you look at our client profile, the majority are Indonesian domiciled and owned businesses as opposed to multinational businesses in Indonesia. Moreover, as far as I’m concerned as CEO, I hold responsibility for the income of the 150 families of the colleagues that work for Marsh.

“We have an almost entirely Indonesian colleague base and that’s the way we will grow, through developing Indonesian talent in Indonesia. Annually, we do a training needs analysis of the colleague base, and we will develop an annual training plan either utilising some of our regional and global resources internally, or engaging Indonesian third parties to train colleagues from both a technical and soft skills perspective,” says Fraser-Hawkins. 

In addition, Marsh Indonesia is committed to working with local Indonesian businesses, forming partnerships and relationships with Indonesian insurers as well as the Indonesian arms of global insurance businesses.

Two-way investment

As well as helping global clients make a splash in an emerging market, Fraser-Hawkins emphasises that outward growth is being seen from Indonesia in equal measure. “We are dealing with companies which are headquartered all over the world, including Indonesian headquartered companies as they expand overseas.”

More widely, Fraser-Hawkins is confident about growth across the continent, not least in the South-eastern nation. “As the world changes and Asia becomes an increasing powerhouse, how can we help organisations in Indonesia which want to expand globally? That’s where our benefit comes in. Increasingly businesses in Asia are becoming larger contributors to the overall growth of the organisation… we’re investing in Indonesia just as much as we are in the rest of Asia.”

In particular, Fraser-Hawkins points to cybersecurity as a growing business segment for Marsh Indonesia, and an example of growth in a fast-emerging economy. “As our customers become more sophisticated around risk and insurance, we’re seeing a demand for more sophisticated insurance products such as cyber insurance – clients are facing more exposure to risk through digitisation including hacking and data extraction. That’s a significant area of growth over the next three to five years that I see both in Indonesia and across Asia.”

Leveraging tech for colleagues and clients

As Operations and Technology Leader, Andreas Tanadi explains, digitisation is vital to all aspects of the business whether internal or external, and Marsh is utilising technology across three strands to grow its operations in Indonesia: with clients, with partners and internally among Marsh colleagues.

“In our Employee Benefits business, we have developed a Marsh Portal for clients as an easy-to-access site where a customer can access applications and account information as well as look at industry-leading thought leadership,” says Tanadi.

“For clients, having this portal here means they are able to access their data and see basic analysis of their claims,” he explains. “A few years ago, we also started to move towards secure electronic filing so that as we transform digitally colleagues can access client information anywhere they want. This access can also be restricted to those colleagues only involved with a client, thus increasing our data privacy capabilities.”

“Additionally, for our insurance partners, we are working towards having full Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) that will allow both parties to work on the same data simultaneously,” Tanadi adds. “The basis for this EDI is the investment in a brand new internal platform which integrates data from the insurer as well as from the clients.”

Internal use of software has a particularly important place in growing the business through local talent. “In the next six to nine months we will be transitioning to a fully smart office,” says Fraser-Hawkins. “All colleagues will be equipped with the necessary tech equipment to work flexibly.” This is specifically important in Indonesia, where traffic congestion can be a major bugbear for working people. “Sometimes, a journey that would take you 20 minutes elsewhere might take two hours in Jakarta,” Fraser-Hawkins explains. “In order that we’re able to deliver to clients 24/7, we’re investing in a smart office environment where colleagues can collaborate across teams, engage with clients both physically and virtually, and work flexibly from wherever there’s Wi-Fi.”

A solid future

This transformation through utilising the latest and greatest tech at Marsh’s fingertips doesn’t just end with an office renovation, but is something Marsh is fully committed to for the future. “Marsh globally is invested in digital transformation, and from an Asian perspective we mirror that,” Fraser-Hawkins explains. “From an Indonesian point of view, we will certainly continue to look to invest in technology that gives our colleagues more time to spend in front of clients.

“Equally, building our client facing technology that enables us to engage in a more informed and detailed fashion will be a priority,” he adds. “This will enable us to open up new channels of distribution and also utilise data and analytics capabilities to help clients make more informed decisions around their risk profile.”

Indonesia is a populous but geographically fragmented country, made up of over 17,500 islands housing more than 250mn people. Marsh’s use of digitisation, as well as something a little less tangible - those ‘brains’ offering expert advice - promises to help bring risk management services together for global clients wishing to make their mark on Indonesia, and equally those Indonesian businesses ready to continue their growth journey in Indonesia or take to the world stage.

“Our biggest challenge is how to distribute our advice and broking service across the country as a whole,” Fraser-Hawkins emphasises. “We can use technology partnerships and strategic initiatives in line with technology to distribute our service and advice to a wider audience. We’re very focused on ensuring our development over the next few years centres on a combination of brains and technology.”