While Thailand appears to be unprepared at present to conduct a sophisticated regulatory sandbox-type experiment for FinTech, the country’s insurance industry is gradually changing to absorb insurance technology (insurtech), according to the law firm Tilleke & Gibbins.
The changes are taking place predominantly in four areas:
• Access to insurance products via websites, online channels, and personal devices is becoming more direct and easier. Premium benchmarking can now be easily done through personal devices through a simple click. Insurtech is bringing new technology intermediary players to the Thai market (eg, web aggregators and online
• Communication via technology is more accessible to the public. Customers no longer need to rely on customer call centres or refer back to paper policies. All product information (and their advertisements) is readily available via websites, applications, smartphones, and personal devices. An application called “Claim-Di” is already facilitating communication and claims between drivers and insurance companies through mobile applications without the need for surveyors.
• Advanced analytics from the effective data collection of customers are being used to assess their risks and behaviours using wearable technology to evaluate the wearer’s health habits and assess the insured customer’s risk. This results in better premium rates especially in personal insurance products.
• Innovative technology products are being introduced to the market. “Pay-as-you-go” motor insurance was recently introduced into market, and cyber insurance will be available in the near future.
In addition, some Thai automobile insurance providers are already using telematics, to monitor customers’ driving habits and calculate insurance premiums based on customers’ individual risk, while incentivising safe driving with lower premiums.
As the personal market becomes more disaggregated, Thai insurance companies may move to commercial markets or niche markets. Thailand should modernise its regulatory framework for the insurance industry to ensure that these technological disruptions will benefit both consumers and the industry as a whole, Tilleke & Gibbins said.