Agency continues to dominate, online offerings need to be integrated

| 03 Jan 2018

The insurance market will still be dominated by agency models, however insurers will have to do more to figure out how to best integrate their offerings online.

Life insurance distribution is at a crossroads as can been seen in the variety of emerging channels as well as changes in traditional ones. Customer expectations are influenced by experiences offered in other industries, and which has drastically evolved due to digitisation.

So while agency models continue to dominate, insurance companies have to integrate their offerings online to meet customer expectations.

“The most dramatic changes will be how easily insurance can be purchased with digital at the heart of it. Currently, the insurance sector in Asia is dominated by agency and bancassurance channels, but digitisation is fast becoming an important third way to reach clients,” said Mr Claude A Accum, President, Sun Life Financial Asia.

Having an effective omni-channel approach that provides ease for consumers will be key as insurers look to become better-rounded in their distribution capabilities.

“We believe we have set the right foundations for distribution through our ‘Most Respected Advisor’ programme aimed at uplifting the professionalism of our advisers to provide clients with a quality experience. At the same time, our digital capabilities will allow us to operate in a different way, serving our clients that want to interact digitally and extending our reach to help more clients,” he added.

Ms Irene Ng, General Manager Life/Health at Gen Re (Singapore), believes that insurers can no longer put off constructing a viable digital proposition for much longer, and points to success stories in China as a way forward.

“The insurance industry has come to a stage where we can no longer ignore the new alternative distribution channel of the digital platform. Although many life insurers remain somewhat sceptical whether life insurance will ever be successfully sold via digital platform, a number of insurers have already proven successful in this space.”

“This is seen especially in China, where the names of ZhongAn, PingAn, Tencent, Alibaba, etc are names many are looking to for their success story and formulae.”

This is an extract from Asia Insurance Review’s “Insurance comes to life for consumers” article. (Log in needed.)

3rd Asia Trusted Life Agents & Advisers Awards launches the with support of Philippines Insurance Commissioner Nominations open now!