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Market research can inform public policy change

Market research can inform public policy change

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This post is sponsored by Spire Research and Consulting.

As populations grow in tandem with rapid development, public organisations walk a tightrope: balancing ever-changing social and economic variables, while they serve the public.

Market research and consulting services can complement today’s policymaking efforts by helping government agencies, social and industry associations, and even non-profits, cast their nets further and wider. 

“Partnering with a market research firm such as Spire in policy formulation, advocacy and enhancement efforts can bring fresh approaches based on data from the ground,” said Japnit Singh, the firm’s chief operating officer (pictured below).

japnit singh spire

“We have extensive experience in consulting to public organisations. Our evidence-based insights and actionable takeaways do not just address clients’ specific issues. We also consider the larger economic and social impact, and how they can benefit the groups they serve.”

He shared two examples of the firm’s work with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.

Regulating insurance claim surveyors

Insurance claim surveyors are professionals who estimate the cost of damages incurred from an accident, and play a key role in the accident insurance claims process. In Singapore today, surveyors for motor vehicles are unregulated.

In recent years, Singapore has also seen an increase in the number of disputes over vehicle accident estimates. This trend hurts the motor vehicle repair industry because prolonged and escalated disputes are costly.

The client wanted to explore if regulating surveyors was a viable option. They appointed Spire to conduct a study on how other global markets regulate their insurance claim surveyors for motor vehicles and advise which frameworks Singapore could adopt. The client was interested in how degrees of regulation affected cost disputes, and whether dispute resolution mechanisms could improve Singapore’s current system.

To understand the effects of varying types of regulation and dispute resolution mechanisms, Spire interviewed experts from Australia, Japan, the UK and the US. The analysts spoke to crucial industry stakeholders in these markets, including experts from trade associations, insurance companies, workshops and experienced insurance claim surveyors for motor vehicles.

Singh explained, “We found that regulation, accreditation, and dispute resolution frameworks can and do lower the number of legal disputes. Discrepancies are reduced by creating industry standards, and using prescribed estimation methodologies accepted by the whole market.”

Also, a dispute resolution framework can prevent unnecessary legal escalation by providing a fair, trusted, and less costly avenue outside the courts. Overly strict regulation, on the other hand, created its share of problems.

Informed by the data, Spire recommended various approaches to the regulation and accreditation of motor vehicle insurance claim surveyors that could strike a balance between the two extremes.

The study also benchmarked how the real estate industry in Singapore implemented licensing and regulated its professionals. This real-world reference point helped the client foresee implementation challenges.

Raising awareness of free trade agreements

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) make businesses more competitive globally, and businesses are encouraged to take advantage of them.

Spire was commissioned by a business chamber to track how firms here utilise FTAs, and to gauge business owners’ awareness of the agreements. The study was part of a feedback exercise to improve the client’s activities in raising awareness of FTAs to complement its existing outreach programmes.

A qualitative phase was added to the study: focus groups with business leaders from various industries. Focus groups can provide deeper insights beyond survey findings, as they allow participants to elaborate on their reasoning and build on each other’s answers.

During the Spire-led sessions, executives shared their experience of utilising FTAs and their wish-lists of trade policy and customs improvements.

The client used the insights from Spire’s research to develop more tailored information packages that could be easily understood by businesses. Feedback was also shared with relevant government and industry stakeholders that could inform future FTA negotiations.

The policymakers’ advisor

Ultimately, public organisations must take into account many viewpoints, experiences and needs from the various segments of the public they work for.

“Beyond just hard data, policymakers should be able to include genuine feedback, and most importantly, actionable information that captures the grey, nuanced or even overlooked areas in policy formulation,” Singh said. 

Market research firms such as Spire, with a solid track record straddling both the private and public sectors, can complement and enhance public planners’ efforts to improve citizens’ lives.

About Spire

Spire Research and Consulting ( is a global market research and business consulting firm serving Fortune 1000 firms, governments and public organisations. We provide holistic market research services, with a specialty in emerging markets.

We were founded in 2000 in Singapore by our chairman, Leon Perera, and we have since grown our network across 53 countries. In 2016, we were acquired by Yamada Consulting Group, Japan’s leading business consultancy that is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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