Many insurers have set up innovation labs to test ideas and such labs would be more effective operating with a dedicated profit and loss statement, rather than be subsumed under the group's consolidated income statement, said InsurTech evangelist George Kesselman.
Mr Kesselman, President of InsurTech Asia Association, an independent group that seeks to accelerate the digital transformation of the insurance industry in Asia, said that insurers of the future would have to increasingly adopt the mindset of a venture capital when innovating and that includes placing greater accountability on innovation labs.
By doing so, it ensures that innovation labs operate efficiently and would be seen as credible partners rather than be viewed as a “side project” of the organisation.
And within that VC mindset, insurers should also be nimble enough to collaborate effectively with external partners and have access to be the best teams when doing so.
In trying to adopt a digital identity moving forward, insurers should strive to simplify their products and processes. That would mean a changing of mindset where product offerings are viewed through the eyes of the consumer, along with their specific needs and preferences, rather than through the prism of actuaries and underwriters.
Further, he added that insurers would also have to think of ways to embed their offerings within the wider digital ecosystem, rather than just operate within their current silos.
He also added that insurers should explore introducing more low-cost products, or “nano products” which can be embedded within other forms of service offerings.
Staying on the theme of collaboration, Dato’ Sri Hassan Kamil, Group CEO, Syarikat Takaful Malaysia, touched about the importance of affinity partners as part of an effective digital strategy. As companies seek to boost their online presence and traffic, they should be mindful of costs to optimise their products on platforms such as google and facebook.
Based on Takaful Malaysia’s experience, it could amount to a similar cost as maintaining an agency force. Hence it would be prudent to build a network of strategic partners with sizeable customer base, said Dato’ Sri Hassan.
Empowering the customer
In the era of greater customer-centricity, Mr Vincent Lepez, Deputy CEO, SCOR Global Life Asia Pacific, spoke about the importance of reducing friction points among customers as much as possible.
In the health space, one of the ways to do this is leveraging on wearable data in order to better understand a customer’s risk when underwriting.
He said that surveys have proven that other methods of acquiring customer information, such as through online questionnaires and face-to-face with financial advisers, have not been as effective and have led to perceptions that it is time-consuming and lack privacy.
He added that the increased use of wearables points to a strong link to healthy living aspirations, and something which more health insurers should leverage as a risk-assessment tool as it addresses traditional product pain points.
For example, it has proven to be much simpler and more accurate, as well as provide an opportunity for a tailored approach through continuous risk assessment which may potentially lead to premium discounts.
He also added that it would allow for more regular customer interactions and improve the overall engagement between insurer and policy-holder.
Political risk manageable
Earlier in the day, Mr Steve Vickers, CEO Steve Vickers & Associates provided a positive geo-political outlook where most economies are expected to see a period of stable growth over the next 18 months. However, the main risks on the horizon include a tightening of US monetary policy, rising political tensions on the Korean peninsula and territorial claims in the South China Sea.