Shining a Light, Showing the Way
Blazing a trial, being a beacon, making Insight known globally and, of course, doing it his way or God’s way,
as he would put it – these are all Mr Nehemiah Neo’s ardent passion for his role in the Insight Adjusters
Group. Our Deputy Editor Irene Yeo speaks with him about his work and finds out why “walking the
straight and narrow path” is the company’s competitive advantage.
Insight Adjusters Group celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and Mr Nehemiah Neo, its Managing Director and key founder, remembers it as a big leap of faith back in 1992 when he quit his job and started the company.
“I did not know where we would be heading then, but as I had told many people, I had the vision of Proverbs 21: 30-31* to go on,” he said.
Local and International Support
Today, Insight has a strong presence regionally with several joint ventures (regional office for vrs universe Adjusters Network, Insight-Jinhui Adjusters, Maphilindo-Insight Sdn Bhd, BA Insight, Arab Loss Adjusters International (ALA) and three other global networks Comité d’Etudes et de Services des Assureurs Maritimes et Transports (CESAM), Lloyd’s Agency and American Institute of Marine Underwriters
(AIMU)’s agent). It is growing rapidly with the “unstinting support of clients” both locally and internationaly.
Milestone – Lloyd’s Agency
The company’s milestone becoming a Lloyd ’s Agent in 2004. Mr Neo said that was a feat for Insight having displaced an incumbent agent which held it for nearly 100 years. After that, events just speeded up. “Twenty days after we got the licence to be a Lloyd’s Agent, we were
appointed to work on the tragic Nicol Highway collapse in Singapore and, soon after that, we had the unforgettable Asian tsunami on Boxing Day,” he said. Reflecting on the ally. was Nicol Highway collapse, Mr Neo said it was a complex claim and many reinsurers around the world were involved. “We had a team of seven engineers and adjusters working there full-time for six months. One top engineer from a leading international reinsurer told us that in all his 20 years of career, he has not seen an adjuster as well-organised as us. We set up an office in a 40ft container parked next to the disaster site and we had a conference room in that container as well,” he said.
Power of Nature
As for the Asian tsunami, Mr Neo was simply overwhelmed by the power and might of nature. Hired by a Paris-based international insurer covering a French cement plant that was damaged in Aceh and had lost half its workers, it was the single-largest claim arising from the event.
He said: “We were very satisfied to see an interim payment of €25 million (US$33.3 million) made to the insured in a public ceremony held by local insurer PT Asuransi Wahana Tata. This was witnessed by the entire Indonesian press and by the whole industry including ourselves. It was, indeed, a heartwarming period in an otherwise difficult episode in which I saw first-hand countless dead bodies and also people who had lost their homes and were virtually living in the bushes with flimsy plastic sheets as shelter.”
His team in the Asia-Pacific region was also helping its partner in the US, vrs universe, with the insurance industry’s most expensive disaster globally, Hurricane Katrina, and was involved in numerous other claims around the world.
December 2007, 14th
Walking the Straight and Narrow Path in China
Breaking into the China market presented quite a different challenge for the company. Joining up with a local partner, Insight was firm about how it wanted to do its business in the country and not simply following all existing practices.
“We believe we can survive without having to follow certain practices in the country that would thwart our efforts in injecting professionalism into the China market. I see that as our competitive advantage – walking the straight and narrow path. A lot of people said we could not make it, but after two years we are making some headway. We are now handling a very big fire claim involving a manufacturer of battery packs for laptops,” he said.
He also beamed proudly that in China, the Singapore brand is as good as any other international brand and that clients tend to instruct the company on complex claims and third-party liability and product liability cases.
Provide World-Class Expertise and Service
On the issue of branding, the company is keen and passionate about promoting its brand globally as it sees that insurance is a global business and hence it has to get itself known and recognised internationally. “The challenge is to develop a core of good and qualified Asian adjusters to take on the best in the world and provide world-class expertise and service,” he said.
And that will be Mr Neo’s goal in serving the industry for the next 15 years!
* There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord” – Proverbs 21: 30-31.
December 2007, 15th