Recruitment remains healthy in this particular sector…

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The Asian health insurance market looks upbeat, thanks to low penetration rates and the region’s economic growth. Last month Bloomberg reported that Manulife wants to double its Asia insurance agents to 100,000 over the next five years. Healthcare benefits firm Aetna also recently obtained its license to sell health insurance policies in Singapore.

Hong Kong-based Tara Robinson, senior consultant, insurance, Morgan McKinley, is seeing increased demand for people with individual or medical-group insurance expertise across the region.

She says: “Insurers are looking to develop their presence locally as well as in the China and Taiwan markets. They are seeking candidates with strong technical backgrounds – claims and underwriting – combined with business development capabilities.” Seasoned professionals from AVP to VP level are especially wanted.

That claims person might be a doctor

While hiring candidates from other insurance specialisations isn’t unheard of, Patrick Tan, managing director, Key International Search & Consulting, says most organisations prefer to recruit staff with a strong accident and health background, especially when it comes to product development roles.

“On the whole demand for these roles outstrips the supply of talent in Singapore.” As a result, Tan has placed medical professionals, including a doctor and a nurse from the Philippines, into health-claims jobs in Singapore. However such career switches are rare. He also expects demand for medical insurance specialists to continue to grow.

Robinson adds that while candidates who speak Mandarin are typically preferred, firms in Asia are open to recruiting people with experience in more mature medical markets like Europe and the US.