EastWest Ageas Insurance executive bullish as changing of guard takes place

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Sjoerd Smeets New President and CEO of EastWest Ageas Insurance

Glenn Williams, President and CEO of EastWest Ageas Insurance relocates back to the Ageas Regional Office in Hong Kong.

Sjoerd Smeets, who joined EastWest Ageas Insurance in September from Ageas Portugal, will take over as President and CEO.

“It’s an honor for me to lead EastWest Ageas Insurance,” Sjoerd said. “It’s incredible to see a young company transform into a more established force quickly. The people’s knowledge, motivation, and strong leadership astounded me,” he added.

Outgoing President and CEO Glenn Williams, who will be moving up as Ageas regional Chief Financial Officer in 2023, commented on the transition. He said, “I’m confident that Sjoerd will succeed in delivering top-notch service. He can assist EastWest Ageas in reaching its full potential and help more customers with their financial journeys.”

Leadership is an action

Setting goals allows leaders to stay focused on what matters most. Sjoerd believes that developing a vision for what needs to be done is critical. “Leadership is about providing a strategic direction to people and empowering them to perform,” he said. “I enjoy working with groups and motivating people to help us achieve our goals.”

Diversity will play a key role in how he intends to steer the company. “Everyone has different interests and points of view,” he remarked. “Having healthy discussions with a diverse team will help us move in the direction we want to go.”

A clearer focus on what lies ahead

EastWest Ageas has been the fastest-growing insurance firm among the top 15 insurers in terms of Annual Premium Equivalent (APE) over the last two years. According to the Insurance Commission’s Life Insurance Sector Quarterly Statistics, it has grown by 35% year on year and is now the tenth largest insurer in terms of APE. EastWest Ageas Insurance is poised to be a strong contender in the insurance sector following the recent launch of its agency channel.

Customers are the core of every business. And Sjoerd’s primary goal is to reinforce customer-centricity throughout the organization. “If we keep improving our approach in this area, we will be able to better understand our customers’ needs. As a result, we will be able to provide financial solutions that address those needs.”

Sjoerd stated that EastWest Ageas will work toward a broader IT infrastructure transformation and the development of a more data-driven distribution channel strategy in the coming year. “I’d like to see all our systems in place so that we can launch our products faster,” he said. “These will enable us to assist our customers in their financial journeys.”

Leaders inspire other leaders

Sjoerd still remembers and values what his mentor, Ageas Portugal CEO Steven Braekeveldt, taught him. “You should learn to dance,” Braekeveldt advised.

“It’s about understanding who the people in the conversation are, what their passions are, and how you can connect to them,” Sjoerd explains. He understands that by continuing to master this type of dance, he will be able to help the company become more in tune with its customers.

He concluded by saying, “I enjoy encouraging others and assisting them in reaching their goals. And under my leadership, we will step up our efforts to help more Filipinos plan a better tomorrow so that they can live their best lives today.”

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