Conversations For Our Future with Roy Gori

Welcome to the sixth edition of Conversations For Our Future. In this interview series we’ll be hearing from a diverse set of voices on how we can harness the pandemic to build a new global normal. I’ll be asking each interviewee the same three questions:

1. What one aspect within your sector have you seen transformed due to the pandemic?

2. In your opinion, has/will the pandemic change how we function as a society? If so, how?

3. How do you hope to personally harness the pandemic to create positive change?

My guest today is Roy Gori, the president and CEO of Manulife!


About Roy

Roy Gori is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Manulife, Canada’s largest insurance company, and one of the largest insurance and asset management companies in the world. Appointed in 2017, Roy’s early tenure as CEO has been marked by the introduction of a clear strategy and values that build on Manulife’s strong foundations to include sharper focus on the customer and a shift to digital innovation, in line with the company’s mission to make customers’ decisions easier, and lives better.

As a champion for diversity and inclusion, Roy is the Chair of Manulife’s D&I Council. He is also a passionate advocate for health and wellness, promoting the benefits of behavioural insurance through award-winning products like Manulife Vitality and Manulife MOVE.

Roy joined Manulife as President and Chief Executive Officer for Asia in 2015. In that role, he was responsible for operations in 12 markets across Asia, driving Manulife’s rapidly growing business in the region. Roy started his career at Citibank in 1989, where he held progressively senior roles and was finally responsible for the company’s Asia Pacific retail business, which included its insurance and wealth management business.

Roy holds a Bachelor of Economics and Finance from The University of New South Wales, and an MBA from the University of Technology, Sydney. He serves on the Board of the Business Council of Canada and is a member of the Geneva Association. A native Australian, Roy has worked and lived in Sydney, Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong, and is now based in Toronto.


What one aspect within your sector have you seen transformed due to the pandemic?


  • Digitization. The pandemic has accelerated the already growing customer desire to access more products and services digitally.
  • Modern customers expect and demand digital innovation. 69% of customers expect an Amazon-like buying experience.

63% of customers expect companies to provide new products and services more frequently than ever before.

  • Manulife was already in the middle of a digital transformation before the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s driven us to rapidly accelerate our digitization efforts.
  • When lockdown measures were enforced, we moved quickly to enhance or offer new digital ways to connect with our customers – and we haven’t slowed down.
  • We’ve launched a number of new digital products and platforms that are making our customers’ lives better. A few examples include:
  1. Launching a new concierge chat service to help alleviate customer call volumes and wait times.
  2. Ramping up our process automation efforts to give us additional capacity to manage increasing trade volumes.
  3. Offering access to medical services via virtual consultation.
  4. Deploying tools like Teams and Docu-sign that enable us to work with our customers in a personalized face-to-face way remotely.
  5. In Asia ~ 97 percent of our product shelf is digitally available.
  • Caring for customers and driving innovation in this environment is not easy, and we know it requires our entire global team to make sure they’re looking after themselves first.
  • It can be easy to keep working when the line between work and home is blurred, and there is so much to accomplish, but, it’s so important for people to ensure they’re not forgetting to make time for themselves as well.
  • To be our best selves for our family, friends and each other, we need to carve out time just for us. That might mean reading, exercising, cooking, or playing an instrument. For me, it means an early morning workout or walk around the block with our family dog, Monty.

In your opinion, has/will the pandemic change how we function as a global society? If so, how?


  • I believe this pandemic has forced a lot of people to pause and reflect on what’s important in their lives, specifically, I believe health and wellness will be a big focus going forward as people place more emphasis on living healthier lives.
  • We know that baseline health is an enormous factor when it comes to people’s ability to cope with the COVID-19 virus, and we’re seeing that our society has become increasingly worried about their physical and mental health.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, examples include:
  1. 50% of insurance customers across Asia have found ways to be more physically active following the virus outbreak
  2. 33% of insurance customers across Asia began to track their mental well being following the virus outbreak.
  • With products like Manulife MOVE, we’re trying to help our customers live longer, healthier lives by giving them rewards for healthy habits like exercise and eating well.
  • The pandemic has highlighted the importance of planning for the future, and protecting what matters most in the face of uncertainty and volatility like your health and financial preparedness.

How do you hope to personally harness the pandemic to create positive change?


  • For me, the pandemic, and the fallout it’s created, has emphasized the importance of the work we do and the solutions we provide.
  • At Manulife, our mission is to make decisions easier and lives better. It’s our purpose and defines why each of us comes to work each day.
  • The pandemic has brought into focus the positive impact and change we can make together if we live our mission every day.
  • With our mission driving us, we will continue to take action to support our customers and communities.
  • As long as the world continues to be impacted by the pandemic, we will do our part to be kind to each other and ease the burden on those who are most impacted.

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