While tackling the protection gap must progress with today’s digital trends, U for Life General Manager Kenny Thing says insurers must not overlook conventional touchpoints as well.
Malaysia’s InsurTech industry is currently in infancy stages, though there has been a notable rise in mobile transactions, masses of connected data and InsurTech startups looking to have their slice of the pie. Among these newcomers is U for Life
, a registered Malaysian Corporate Agent of Tokio Marine Life Insurance Bhd, with the vision of working towards a fully-insured Malaysia via the online space.
But while technology advancements are revolutionising the way industries, societies and governments interact and engage with the public, it is imperative not to neglect conventional touchpoints while embracing digital technologies to drive the insurance digital revolution.
Complement online with offline partnerships
An approach to raising insurance awareness and aiding consumers in progressing with the digital movement, is via an online-to-offline business model to complement its digital play through strategic partnerships. The most recent strategic partnership was the launch of its “Pharmassurance” concept, a partnership to leverage the pharmacy network across Malaysia as a natural distribution point in ensuring all Malaysians are insured. The idea to penetrate the healthcare market was clear for U for Life – customers who visit pharmacies have the intention to understand and take control of their health, which is in line with U for Life’s life insurance policies.
The strategic move also takes consumer health into consideration. While consumer health in Malaysia has sustained steady growth despite the economic downturn, the country is still alarmingly under-protected with 55% of the population being uninsured. Secondly, to combat the standard perception of life insurance policies being complicated and expensive, and hoping to meet the Bank Negara Malaysia’s aim to increase the insurance penetration rate to 75% by 2020.
From a distribution point of view, the pharmacy represents the three links to the supply chain of the pharmaceutical industry – consumers-pharmacists-suppliers, for the ultimate benefit of the consumers.
To date, U for Life has formed strategic partnerships with pharmacy chains across Malaysia, such as IJ Pharmacy, CityCare Pharmacy and Eco Pharmacy, alongside Fintech & InsurTech players such as Jirnexu, the company behind RinggitPlus.com
, a FinTech leader in its own right, and PolicyStreet, an InsurTech leader in Malaysia which has provided us with the opportunity to create dynamic online services and segments together in support of the government’s drive to embrace the digital economy.
Digitisation means much more than cool and convenient apps for consumers; it is a force that is touching and reshaping the very core of the insurance industry and how it engages with everyone today. The current trend has shown that consumers prefer entering into a digital dialogue, rather than face-to-face human interaction and are demanding greater transparency and simplicity to the contracts and policies they are signing up for. People now have greater access to information than ever before; covers and policies have become increasingly commoditised and decisions over its purchase have been on its value rather than just price.
It is with this view that U for Life will continue to expand its reach in the market by finding the right balance of digital and human touch to reach out to the underinsured or uninsured.
About U for Life Sdn Bhd
U for Life Sdn Bhd is committed to work towards a fully-insured Malaysian population and takes pride in pioneering low-cost, instant purchase of life insurance products over the internet platform for Malaysians. All premiums paid are received by Tokio Marine Life who is the insurer of the life insurance policies. Hannover Re is the principal shareholder of U for Life Sdn Bhd. A