The way to customer-centric distribution which caters to consumers' needs and demands is to embrace an open approach to how distribution evolves, according to Mr Chris Wei, Global Chairman, Aviva Digital and Executive Chairman, Aviva Asia.
Traditional distribution – certainly agency and bancassurance – has been very prevalent in Asia. “These are important channels, and they play an important role in terms of introducing insurance to customers. That will always have a place and a role in our industry,” said Chris, who was recognised as Personality of the Year at the 21st Asia Insurance Industry Awards.
“Having said that, Aviva’s own strategy is a bit different. We are looking to bring choice to customers and also to bring greater value. The only way we can do that is by embracing a really open approach to how to evolve distribution,” he added.
Aviva works with Financial Advisory partners – a mixture of Aviva FA to fully independent FA. “We are number one in regular premium sales in FA. We are absolutely committed to the channel.”
It is helping FAs to be more customer-centric and giving them digital tools to make them much more efficient, “and frankly, they shouldn’t have to fill up paper and send in forms”.
He said: “But if customers want to do simple things themselves, they should have the opportunity to do so. It doesn’t mean we don’t value our distribution relationships and partnerships.”
For the segment of customers that want to self-serve, Aviva works with a variety of different digital partners.
“With Amazon in the UK, that extends to a frictionless claims experience where one can get Amazon credit literally in seconds if the customer chooses to settle a claim that way. If the customer is an Amazon Prime customer, one can get the replacement product delivered to one’s door next day, or potentially even within hours if it is in stock. And that partnership has worked really well in delighting customers,” said Mr Wei.
Among others, Aviva also works with Tesla in Canada, Uber in Singapore, and its joint venture in Hong Kong with Tencent and Hillhouse Capital Group.
Be where insurance is needed
It is about embracing the different ways customers choose to engage, finding opportunities for “when they need something, we are there”, ready to serve with simple and effective insurance products.
The customer will always have a choice as to where they want to go. “If we own enough of the value chain and make it very obvious to customers and partners why they should choose Aviva because of a better experience, then I think naturally they will come to us,” said Mr Wei.
“The big macro trend is insurance companies need to embrace new ways of engaging customers, they need to understand the value of open source data and more importantly to understand that data control sits in the hands of the customers. It’s happening in Europe. I’m pretty sure it will happen in Asia at some point in time, where we need to convince customers that it is a great idea for them to share their data with us because we are delivering enough value. And that is not an entitlement attitude. We have to earn that trust, we have to earn that right. I think that ups the game for our industry and we should be prepared for that.”
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