Both the direct-to-consumer channel, and partnerships and traditional agents, will have an important role to play for the foreseeable future depending on the type of products offered and the consumer market dynamics, according to FWD group managing director (emerging markets) and chief distribution officer Binayak Dutta.
FWD Group is the insurance business arm of Mr Richard Li’s Pacific Century Group, which started operations in 2013 when it acquired ING’s businesses in Hong Kong, Macau and Thailand. Since then, it has rapidly expanded to Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Japan, offering life and medical insurance, general insurance and employee benefits.
Speaking with Asia Insurance Review recently, he said that FWD is ‘channel agnostic’. FWD operates in agency, bancassurance, independent financial advisors, direct marketing, retail assurance, affinity and corporate benefit channels. FWD ensures that the channel mix is tailored to how the customers in each country are likely to purchase insurance.
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“Typically general insurance and commodity-based products – like maid insurance, travel or personal accident – do well online.
“So advice-based distribution remains important, but it is also important that you use technology to transform it and make it relevant to customers, while at the same time exploring the newer forms of distribution channels out there.”
FWD dedicates 45% of its IT budget to digitalisation efforts, and it has also invested $60m into InsurTech initiatives. It currently has more than 2.7m customers across eight markets in Asia.
Asia Advisers Network is an initiative of Asia Insurance Review which is dedicated to Asia’s insurance industry. Subscribers to AIR can read the full interview here.
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