Mr. Raoul Antonio E. Littaua is no stranger to InLife. Prior to his appointment as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2021, he was the Chief Distribution Officer, tasked to lead the Company’s agency force and bancassurance channel. More than this, he brought a wealth of experience in life insurance, having worked for three decades in the sector.

In the course of his career, he said he has sold “many different things to many different people” — from selling beer and cigarettes, to memorial plans, property, and even ladies’ undergarments. “But always I return to life insurance,” he said, “because it is one business that is founded on

social purpose — people helping one another to weather life’s worst difficulties.”

This mindset served him in good stead on his first year as InLife President and CEO, which also happened to be the second year since COVID-19 began. While already considered a veteran in the field, Mr. Littaua said the ongoing pandemic is still replete with lessons that prove valuable, even for the 111-year-old institution.

Here are the 10 lessons he learned from the pandemic:

On Life Insurance: “The life insurance business is built on helping people. The very foundation of life insurance is doing good for others. During the pandemic, I heard many stories of breadwinners who died or got seriously ill from COVID-19 and didn’t have much in terms of life insurance protection, so their families were burdened by medical expenses. For me, these stories pose the question, ‘Could we have done more to make sure that everybody has some basic protection?’ That's the main point of life insurance.”

On Digital Shift: “While InLife has made significant investments in technology to be fully prepared for digital transactions, the pandemic accelerated the pace of implementation. Within a few months we added digital payments facilities to enable our customers to keep their policies in force. But there were still some customers who were challenged by technology and preferred to be served face-to-face.

At the end of the day, it is the customer who decides how they wish to engage with the Company, but we are making sure that we give our customers quality service either way. For our employees, we subscribe that the Work-From-Home set-up allows for greater flexibility and productivity, but it does have limitations, especially for customer-facing tasks.

Thus, when the lockdowns were lifted, our employees on the frontliners returned to the office, while the rest maintained a hybrid set up to start fostering collaboration and teamwork in the workplace. After all, we are still social beings, and Covid-19 did not change that.”

On Customer Service: “ROE is important of course, but we do have other bottom lines. Whenever people in the organization talk about new projects and initiatives, the first question I often ask is not about the ROE, but ‘Is it going to be good for our customers?’ It does not matter how much money the Company is going to make from a project; if it won’t be beneficial for InLife’s customers, it will not be supported”

On Changing Customer Needs: “Evolve according to your market’s needs. Traditional insurance has always been in the business of indemnification, which does not suit the goals of today’s generation. Millennials and Gen Zs are interested in a life insurance plan that reduces risk in the first place. Life insurance should enable them to secure their future so they can live life to the fullest now. For InLife, this means transitioning from a provider of indemnity insurance to a provider of living benefits.”

On Staying Ahead of the Curve: “Today’s world is full of risks and uncertainties. There remains the threat of new viruses; the global order is changing; technology will be even more disruptive; and then you have climate change. In such an environment, perhaps the riskiest thing to do is to play it safe. If we wait on the sidelines for things to resolve themselves, we’re going to be left out. Somehow, we have to be part of the solution. We need to start adapting before it’s too late, even if it means taking risks and piloting new ideas. Not all of them will work, but at least, we get to try, and only in trying will we find out what's going to work and what we need to improve on.”

On the Future of Work: “We must be as flexible as we can. We have to be adaptable as an organization because there's no one way of working that will fit everybody. No one wants to work from home 100%, but no one wants to spend three hours in traffic every day either, so we’re maintaining the hybrid setup. This is something that people managers have to work on with their staff, because there simply is no one best way to suit everybody and every circumstance.”

On the ‘Right Size’ for an Organization: “Any discussion on the “right size” for a company should be preceded by an honest and unflinching analysis of the organization’s competencies and mindset, with a view to the future. We streamlined our operations to better fit the requirements of the new normal. Even more critical was the tearing down of any remaining walls and silos, and the introduction of new ways of doing things and working together to be an agile organization.”

On Building the Workforce of the Future: “Listen to your employees and agency force. While InLife has been around for 111 years, 58% of our employee force are millennials and Gen Zs. Their needs and definition of work are far different from those of previous generations. So, I make it a point to talk to them. I tell them, ‘It's not just a seat at the table that you want, you deserve the whole table because you're going to inherit it’.”

On Living Our Purpose: “Everything starts with purpose. Businesses need to understand their purpose and properly communicate this to everybody in the organization. If your employees understand the company's purpose, they should be able to align it with their personal purpose, especially if the organization’s purpose, beyond making money, is to create a significant and positive difference in society. This is the key to loyalty and real engagement, and you can count on people’s consistent contribution for as long as they clearly see their part in the pursuit of a worthwhile endeavor.”

InLife continues to reward employees for demonstrating exemplary work that is aligned with our purpose of providing a lifetime of good for every Filipino. In 2021, we sustained these performance reward programs:

On Our Contribution to Sustainability: “More than half of the total carbon emissions come from first world countries that account for just 10% of the global population. It is a sad fact that coastal countries which contribute the least to emissions, like the Philippines, will be impacted the most by climate change. This is not to say that we won’t do our part in minimizing our carbon footprint at every opportunity. But sustainability is not just about the environment. Social Equality is also an important facet of sustainability because a sustainable future will be difficult to achieve unless we ensure a safe future for everyone. For InLife, one of our key social equality initiatives is Sheroes, which is a movement committed to championing the Filipina and recognizing women as the nation’s pillar of strength. By empowering today’s women and the future generations of women, we contribute to building a more equitable, and thus sustainable society.”

InLife, through Insular Foundation, continues to promote sustainability and meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through various social contributions such as:

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a juxtaposition of tragedy and triumph. Yet on the same vein, Mr. Littaua believes the pandemic has brought humans together like nothing else in recent history. Yet again, this underscores the triumph of humankind over the worst of the storm. No experience is wasted for as long as we learn from it. If people take stock of their individual pandemic lessons, the emerging future will be one filled with hope and optimism – a steady progression towards a Lifetime for Good.