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Metropolitan Life's chief exec bows out

By unknown | Mar 13, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

In Peter Doyle's 10-year tenure as chief executive of Metropolitan Life, the group has performed some interesting experiments.

Last Easter, for instance, the company offered "pay as you go" life insurance sold by cellphone SMS to people travelling on the roads that notorious weekend.

Doyle, who steps down at the end of this month, said last year's "Easter special" won't be repeated.

"We found we had to educate low-income customers too much," Doyle said.

His successor, Wilhelm van Zyl, is likely to focus the insurance company on providing services to middle-income earners.

Unlike most of its competitors, Metropolitan is not associated to one of the big four banks.

"This has forced us to be more creative about our retail network.

"We work closely with the cellphone networks and retailers like the Edcon group."

One of the key changes Doyle made was using third parties to sell Metropolitan's products instead of the company's sales force.

He also expanded the group geographically into seven other African countries, and into related markets like medical aid and asset management.

Doyle said he planned to take a sabbatical, but would remain active in the professional actuarial associations.


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