Here's what global executives think of digitalisation in the insurance world

| 13 Mar 2019

Digital transformation and its disruptive and enabling strategies that affect the top and bottom-line of the insurance industry were the hot topics discussed at the 19th Asia CEO Insurance Summit organised by Asia Insurance Review.

Digital disruption is no longer the only strategic scenario in insurance. Organisations are now positioning themselves to face the digital future by harnessing technology to generate new and more business that is still largely derived from traditional products sold via traditional channels.

Speakers and panellists at the CEO Summit comprise global, regional and local perspectives, shared by Executives in the insurance, InsurTech and technology sectors. Here’s what we took away from them on Day 1 of the 2-day summit.

Michael J Morrissey, President and CEO of International Insurance Society, said with technology rapidly advancing, and more organisations utilising and immersing into the digital world, the industry of tomorrow would not just be new products, but new risks arising from technology, economic and social disruption.

In the “4th industrial revolution”, the degree of complexity would only increase over time. With technology used to manage every stage in the business process, there would also be new concepts of insurance.

Customers’ needs

Of course, “strategising for the future is more than just digitalisation”, said Anusha Thavarajah, CEO, AIA Bhd. “It’s evolving to meet the needs of the customer.”

Give customers a choice on how they wish to interact with insurers,” she said. Consumers are modernised in this age and have developed a new buying preference. Consumers seek out ease and convenience and value high efficiency now. So providing mobile-responsive applications which are easy and simple to navigate around will edge over other products which are not easy and simple to navigate.

She summed up that technology is not a threat, but an enabler. Delving deep into the data that technology can provide will help with consumer insights and knowledge. With the right analysis, data collected can help the industry understand consumer preference, how they like to be approached, thus allowing the industry to innovate, create and understand brand perception.

Antonio Cano, Group Chief Operating Officer and Head of Insurance, Ageas, shared “a customer does not want a product, a customer wants a problem solved.”

He said “technology should be used to serve customers better, which in turn can lead to a lower price due to higher efficiency”.

In alignment, he quoted Steve Jobs, “It all starts from the customers’ needs. You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.”

The CEO Summit is not all just insurers and reinsurers. Daniel Wang, Executive Director of Insurance Supervision, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), was cautiously optimistic “insurers can seize the opportunities afforded by digitalisation. However, like other innovations, digitalisation does come with its own risks and it can also lead to an erosion of trust between insurers and consumers.”

He added, “Please prioritise your customers and their interests. More than two-thirds of customers interacting with insurance industries conveyed that their experiences were neither easy nor effective, and this translated to the lowest loyalty retention in any sector.”

Ending his address to the c-suite audience, he said, “Know your customer, and do right by them.”


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