ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT – MISSOULA TO VIETNAM

By: Sara Smith

I have traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam to meet with several different groups over the next 2 weeks. Today, I met with Ms. Tran Thanh Thao, the Director of the Bancassurance Division at BaoViet. Thao came to Missoula last fall and is my host during my travels. My company, ALPS Corporation, is domiciled in Montana and writes lawyers malpractice insurance in 35 states and 3 jurisdictions. Today, we met with the Underwriting Group at Baoviet. BaoViet is part of the 7th largest company in Vietnam! While ALPS Corporation is a much, much smaller insurance company (I doubt we even rank in the top 10 of large companies in Montana!), we have many of the same challenges. Keeping up with pace of technology and working with legacy software systems are something we both share. Thanks to the way our policy and claims system works as well as our paperless filing system, I was able to show them how our technology makes our lives better. They could see how an underwriter can see all of the information we keep on our insureds. I also demonstrated how the underwriter can see the claims and how the claims staff can interact with the underwriters. The more information one has and collects, the better decisions that can be made.

I also shared a bit about the structure of insurance in the United States as well as the legal environment. There are only 8,000 lawyers in Vietnam, a country of 95 million. There is a rigorous schooling and exam in Vietnam, much like the states, but the culture is so different. People in Vietnam tend not to sue each other, much less their lawyers. It is very expensive to hire a lawyer. Much of the legal battles occur with foreign companies. Thus, the need for any lawyer’s malpractice insurance is very low and there are very few, if any losses.

In the afternoon, I traveled to the Temple of Literature as well as the Fine Arts Museum. I was struck by the images of war in much of the art. I also found a contemporary piece that nearly looked the picture I took of the electrical pole. I am absolutely astonished by the electrical system and the amount of wires.

Tomorrow, I am meeting with the IT Department. BaoViet is working on a massive implementation of a new system. I am looking forward to learning about how a giant company undertakes such a monumental task.

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