Insurance

AIA enters insurtech arms race with snappy 3-minute-to-buy online platform

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2018, 1:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2018, 2:41pm

AIA, the largest life insurer in Hong Kong in terms of market share, has launched a new online sales platform that will enable customers to buy insurance products in three minutes, the company announced on Tuesday.

The development comes in the wake of a push by the Insurance Authority in September to encourage insurers to use insurtech, or technology such as big data to reduce costs and enhance services. Last month AIA introduced a robot called Andy to answer insurance-related questions from customers.

In January, Manulife introduced electronic methods to receive claims. Meanwhile, MetLife Hong Kong in October started using big data to analyse the behaviour of customers to determine medical premiums, while Allianz has started using big data to determine motor vehicle insurance premiums.

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“Recognising that digital technology has become an integral part of our daily lives, we have been investing in the development of fintech. We are committed to supporting our products and services with digital technology where it can make a material difference to customer experience,” said Peter Crewe, chief executive of AIA Hong Kong and Macau in an interview with the South China Morning Post.

Known as AIA iShop, the platform will allows customers to search nine simple insurance products. The products include life, medical and personal accident cover. Customers can access the platform via their smartphone or desktop computer.

The claim process has also been shorted by two working days if the documentation is submitted electronically.

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Crewe refused to reveal how much investment went into the platform, nor the company’s target for sales. Crewe however is confident the online move would not affect its sales team. The firm has 15,000 agents, which is the largest sales force in Hong Kong.

“We want to reiterate that at AIA Hong Kong, our financial planners will always play an indispensable role in our business. We strongly believe that a robot is no match for a caring and experienced financial planner,” he said.

He said the digital tools allow customers to handle simple administrative tasks, and hence enables financial planners to focus sophisticated and tailor-made services to customers.

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Insurtech is a fast-growing sector globally, particularly in the US and Europe, yet the Asia-Pacific region is catching up. Data from venture capital database CB Insights indicates that insurtech investment globally totalled US$1.7 billion in 2016, double that of 2014.

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