Working with the right partner for employee betterment

Katoen Natie’s Janet Lim details the unique set of challenges providing benefits for her workforce, with help from Howden.
By: | January 30, 2024

In an era where organisations are shifting towards a human-centric take on policies as well as missions, it becomes imperative for organisations to seek ways to give their employees benefits that are relevant to their needs.

This is the goal of Janet Lim, Chief Human Resources Officer at Katoen Natie Singapore, an international logistics service provider and port operator present in 36 countries across five continents. One of the things Lim realised when she first joined Katoen Natie back in 2009 was how their Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) policy premium amounts were exceptionally high, as the insurance broker that they had been working with had not done any marketing exercises for them in a while.

She got in touch with her contact, Janet Koh, a Senior Director in the Employee Benefits team at Howden Singapore, to see just how they could work together. The results of the collaboration could be seen as soon as Howden came on board to broker benefits for Katoen Natie Singapore’s employees, saving as much as 60% in premiums in specific policies after re-marketing efforts.

“Howden has helped me reduce my premiums, just as I had requested.” Lim shared with HRM Asia. It is a testament to Howden’s efforts to advocate for the good of their clients, especially with the changing needs of the organisation in the face of a fast-paced world.

What Howden supplies to their clients is dedication and a strong working knowledge, whether it be an understanding of the clients’ organisational workforce to the new governmental changes that can shape any upcoming policies within the organisation. This was something prized by Lim, who shared that Howden’s understanding of the way Katoen Natie Singapore operated was detailed and clear, with the Howden team taking time to go down to the organisation’s premises to shadow and learn about the procedures.

“Just like any recruitment partners who work with us, you need to know my business, you need to know my operations, even in my own HR team,” she said firmly.

This quick ability to dispense knowledge and understand the changing priorities any organisation would go through came in handy for Katoen Natie Singapore, which had in recent years been trying to find ways to support their rising ageing workforce. Katoen Natie’s location on Jurong Island presents a few challenges for Lim, such as attracting new and younger employees, and consequently the workforce within the organisation is largely an ageing one. With Howden’s help, they have been improving the benefits that their retiree employees get without any significant impact on their premiums.

“While our industry is akin to the construction industry, we still have employees of up to 70 years old who are still fit and well-suited to their jobs,” Lim shared, “I make sure that the company takes care of these employees, as they have been with us for very long.”

“[Katoen Natie Singapore has] a significant group of senior employees that they are always looking for ways to take better care of,” shared Koh. “Leveraging our strong relationship with insurers, we managed to enhance their Group Term Life policy to include even retirees all at the same rate regardless of their age group, with coverage that protects their retiree employees even after they have retired and left.”

“Client centricity is 100% something that I look for in an insurance broker. In any two-party relationship (between insurance broker and their clients), both parties must have the same synergy and values to move forward and work together.” – Janet Lim, Chief Human Resources Officer, Katoen Natie Singapore.

Benefits like these help to encourage older and suitable employees to stay at their job, while also providing the employees’ families some protection should something happen to them.  “It helps brand us as an employer and sets us apart from the rest,” added Lim.

The work that Howden has done with Katoen Natie Singapore is a testament to the elements that brokers are strongest in: knowledge and research in finding out the needs of their clients; a strong relationship with their insurers; a fast engagement in client service. Revolving around the importance of listening, Lim attributes Howden’s success to their great rapid-response rate as well as their ability to problem-solve and create seamless solutions to any issues.

READ MORE: Humanising HR: Putting people first in the modern workplace

“Client centricity is 100% something that I look for in an insurance broker,” said Lim. “In any two-party relationship (between an insurance broker and their clients), both parties must have the same synergy and values to move forward and work together. Anything less between either party would result in a less effective working relationship.”