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Jul 2024

Life imitating science

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Jun 2024

Life insurance agents in Asia Pacific undoubtedly get to have more face-to-face time with the end consumer than most other segments of the industry.
Looking at how life insurance agents and advisers are adopting and using digital tools could be instructive to others in the industry – both life and non-life.
Some life agents claim to be able to provide almost all of their customers with services using digital tools. Digital tools came to play an increasingly valuable role during the pandemic – and smart agents are combining this capability with remote service platform provided by their employers for greater efficiency.
Add to this the ability to combine the functions of software such as Line that customers already use - sharing and synchronising iPad screens, providing customers with video explanations and so on – allows agents to explain insurance plans to the end user no matter where they might be and no matter what time zone.
Many life agents are also now using remote video for insurance sales and change of payment information as well as contract termination and much more besides. Indeed, some agents claim that they have been able to do 140% more business year-on-year as a result of exploiting digital tools simply because of the efficiencies that they confer.
Some smart life agents in China have picked up on the changing landscape of social media and recognised its rapid evolution and the significant role it plays in shaping consumer behaviours and preferences. This has allowed for the personalisation of retirement insurance products for people born in the 1970s and 1980s, for instance, an increasingly important demographic in China with growing purchasing power.
Digital has also made it possible for agents to build small niche communities of likeminded individuals for the purposes of selling insurance and promoting understanding of what protection can offer – focused on themes such as female empowerment, shared educational backgrounds, sporting interests, parenting support and so on.
Leveraging technology has also been important in improving the time frame for claims settlement, which in turn makes consumers appreciate in a tangible way the immediate benefits of insurance cover.
Many digital-savvy agents in the Asia-Pacific region have also effectively corralled the selling potential of LinkedIn, established personal websites, voraciously used Instagram, TikTok, Xiao Hong Shu, Facebook, WeChat and WeCom and YouTube to reach a wider and wider audience in an engaging and ‘person-to-person’ way that helps lift societal understanding of what life insurance is all about.
Clearly the non-life sector cannot simply implement the same strategies to sell more insurance – but the dynamic thinking behind the growth of digital as the primary driver of life insurance growth can be copied and applied to many other personal lines – especially health and motor.
Recognising that people at different stages of their life require different handling, different products and are receptive to different messages is also a core lesson that many P&C insurers could usefully adopt in their marketing campaigns.
The main lesson that seems to be that digital can make doing insurance business much more personal – rather than less personal – and that could be the biggest secret to future business growth. A 
Paul McNamara
Editorial director
Asia Insurance Review
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