The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) will study and deliberate the viability of online-only insurance companies, according to the chairman of the regulatory agency, Mr Wellington Koo, has said.
Risk management tops the list of concerns surrounding online insurers, he said. Property insurance firms would have a better chance than life insurance companies, he added.
However, as there are many property insurance companies in the sector, online-only property insurance companies might not be able to compete with them, he said.
If, in the future, technology can offer irrefutable biometrics like voiceprint, and online insurers are booming overseas, it may open the door to life insurers to invest in online insurance, Mr Koo said. Then, Taiwan is indeed likely to open up to pure online insurance companies.
The Insurance Bureau has started researching biometric identification using finger and voiceprints, as well as facial and retinal scans, he also said.
At the same time, the FSC is looking at the question whether online-only insurance companies are needed because consumers can already purchase insurance products online, he said. At present, 14 life insurance companies and 15 property insurers carry out online insurance activities.
However, currently, there are few insurance products offered through the online channel. They consist only of accident injury insurance, term insurance, travel insurance, and annuities. The FSC has asked the insurance associations to discuss the issue. Mr Koo said that it is necessary to make a prudent policy assessment of online-only insurance.
If insurance companies offer a certain degree of innovation in online insurance, they might have a higher chance of gaining permission for online-only operations, Mr Koo said. He added there are still many technical problems to overcome, such as online signatures, etc.