Occupation: Country President of Chubb Insurance Malaysia Berhad
Time in Malaysia: 5 years
Home in Malaysia
Six years ago I travelled frequently to Malaysia to oversee the acquisition and integration of Jerneh Insurance, a local insurance company that Chubb (then known as ACE) acquired.
I felt an instant connection with the friendliness of the people, the culture and of course, the food. It was a quick decision for me to say yes when I was offered the position to head the Malaysia office and the rest is history, as the saying goes.
Business as usual
Like many of my colleagues, I sort of ‘fell’ into insurance. It is a good industry to work in and I have met some great people along the way.
The greatest thing about my career in insurance is that it’s given me the opportunity to travel around the world as well as live and work in countries outside of Australia such as Hong Kong, Singapore and now in Malaysia.
On the road again
Driving in this country is really different from driving in Australia. There are some very interesting driving styles here which take some time to get used to. My advice to other expats is to be alert at all times and watch out for motorcycles before changing lanes.
While it is expected, you can’t always rely on drivers to use their indicators when making turns or changing lanes! Small things like staying off the phone when driving and keeping the kids secured in their child seats will help.
Malaysia is a food haven and I love dining out and trying new things. One of my new favourite places is Mr. Chew’s Chino Latino Bar & Restaurant. Troika Sky Dining is another great place to take visitors for a perfect view of the Petronas Towers.
To fulfil that spicy food craving, I normally go to Qureshi at TPC Kuala Lumpur, a North Indian fine dining restaurant or to Aliyaa in Bukit Damansara for Sri Lankan cuisine.
It’s got to be George Town in Penang for food and art. When I need a break to de-stress, my choice would be The Estates at the Pangkor Laut Resort. Kota Kinabalu is also one of my favourite places and it reminds me of Queensland every time I’m there. And there’s still a lot more on my to-do list!
I would say that the overall relaxed lifestyle and culture of getting together here is similar to Australia, which makes me feel right at home.
The challenges that the insurance industry is facing locally are the limited talent pool and the relatively low awareness of the importance of insurance. On the other hand, there is still so much opportunity for the industry to grow and that’s what makes my job here so exciting!
The motor insurance market in Malaysia was liberalised recently, which means that drivers in Malaysia now have more choices on what works best for them.
Striking a balance
I get up very early in the morning to do my exercise and plan the day ahead. When I am home after work, I will put my phone away and focus on the family. It is easier said than actually done, but I make every effort not to bring work home!