n a 2019 Insurtech report by KPMG, the insurance industry is on the brink of a major revolution as adoption of insurtech enters a new phase. Data and technology have been the driving force for innovations in the industry, coupled with changes in consumers’ lifestyles and behaviour. Insurtechs and technology start-ups continue to redefine customer experience through innovations such as risk-free underwriting, on-the-spot purchasing, activation, and claims processing.
As digitisation continues to impact not only businesses, but also the consumers’ lifestyle and behavior primarily on how they consume information, there is a vivid shift on insurance players from an arcane policy-led industry into one that places the customer at the heart of everything it does. Undoubtedly, the digital revolution will challenge insurers as even the most traditional among them will have to embrace new technologies if they wish to remain competitive.
The ’Now Generation’
As Gen Z and millennials continue to drive consumer demand, a ‘digital-first’ urgency is sweeping across the industry, offering easy, on-demand and lifestyle-customised access to protection based on data, automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Gen Z and millennials are known as the “Now” generation. They are a major driving force and a significant influential group in our economy and the risk of neglecting the demands of the Now Generation for customer centric services is that the other companies take the lead.
A survey by Morgan Stanley-BCG with global insurance consumers in 12 countries revealed that more than 50% of consumers were willing to switch insurers to have a better online interaction. Digital channels therefore enable insurers to give their customers the quick access, response and personalisation they need, enabling them to provide on-demand coverage with ease. But what exactly is on-demand coverage?
On-Demand Insurance & Coverage
2019 revealed two visible global trends amongst insurance customers. Those who are insured and wanting to be actively protected and those wanting to pay only when they have used the service. On-demand insurance addresses these demands and is becoming increasingly popular globally as it fits the needs of customers looking for a more personalised policy as opposed to a typical “one-size-fits-all” type of coverage.
Within the insurance industry, China ranks tops in the implementation of digital technology. With nearly 725 million mobile internet users, a measured regulatory approach that supports innovation, and the continuous development of new, disruptive services by digital giants like Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent, digital platforms have become integral to everyday life in China. Its insurance industry has kept up with this rapid pace and, as a result, enabled insurers to engage directly with their customers in developing offerings that target their unmet needs.
The Lifestyle Shift
Taking customer connection to a new level became the mantra. For protection, consumers are encouraged to look beyond the basic life and health insurance and consider other forms of coverage depending on their individual lifestyles. Taking for example a sports enthusiast, seeking additional protection against accidental injuries, medical expenses and sports equipment damage gives a more comprehensive cover.
The surge in travelling has made travel insurance more innovative, affordable, and accessible for avid travellers. Expedia revealed in an online survey that Malaysia ranked as one of the top 5 global ranking countries where Malaysians took an average of 5.5 flights yearly with an astounding 83% checking into flights online or via mobile, though this information is pre-COVID-19.
For aspiring travellers, cost, and affordability ranked high in their travel plans as the airfares and accommodation costs weighed in heavily making travel insurance a low priority in their travel checklist. While making travel insurance more affordable, insurers took to establishing partnerships as well to incorporate travel insurance as part of the booking fees to provide travellers the ease and ability to purchase travel insurance instantly.
The availability of data enables insurers to offer on-demand protection through digital channels and empowers them to be creative and innovative with their products and services to meet the changing lifestyle demands of consumers.
Written by: How Kim Lian, Group Chief Financial Officer of Tune Protect Group Berhad