TOP sales people from the Lippo Protective Life Insurance Company could find themselves heading to Rome in November for a special 'Founders' Conference'. As part of its commitment to staff, the company will take all of its top sales team to Italy's capital for a sales conference. 'Rome is the home of many champions and we view our best sales people as champions and it will be good to reward them in this way,' Elroy Chan, the company's chief executive, said. 'We have even given our conference the title, Heart Of Champions, because this is how we want our people to feel. 'We hope this will give an incentive to our people to put all the excellent training they have had into practice and to achieve concrete results as the venture gets underway.' As well as taking in the scenic delights of one of Europe's most beautiful cities, the lucky agents or managers will be given demonstrations by marketing experts from America. From the American arm of the joint-venture company, the Protective Life Corporation, the experts will demonstrate the techniques that have made them a success selling the tailor-made universal life insurance policies in America since 1907. 'Our people are extensively trained of course, but extra programmes like these will help to make our best people even better and that, ultimately, means a better service to the customer,' Mr Chan said. 'We say in this company there is training, more training and then even more training. If you are selling an excellent product with excellent technical back-up then it is vital you have the people who are properly equipped to complete the operation. 'Our products are new on the market in Hong Kong and will be new throughout most of Asia as well, so our people have to be able to get the message across and explain the benefits of the policies and sometimes that can be to people who are not too keen on life insurance. 'This has been the case in Hong Kong where a lot of people have been reluctant to tie their money up for a long time in what they see as an inflexible investment. 'Our new approach will change that but, as you see, we have to get the message across precisely and with skill and we can only do that if we invest in our people,' he said. The philosophy at the Lippo Group has always been that professional standards of excellence and integrity are paramount and the same is true of the new partnership firm. 'People have been worried about the commitment of some firms in Hong Kong because of 1997 and this, too, has led some to avoid policies. 'But, with Lippo, they know we have the integrity and the commitment to Hong Kong for years to come so things should change,' Mr Chan said. 'People know our group and they know the Lippo name and they know when they come to us they will get expertise.' The Hong Kong life insurance market is said by experts to be 99 per cent traditional. It is based on long-term fixed policies in which one aspect of the policy fixes all others and once the policy is set up it can not be changed. If a customer wants to have additional cover or decrease or increase payments, this can only be done by drawing up new policies. Lippo aims to circumvent this with its new Dragon 2000 policy which is a fluid scheme allowing for as many changes as any customer wants to make. This policy is the one which managers at the new company believe will help them break into previously slumbering or uninterested markets.