Contrary to the oft-heard call for insurers to make insurance a product that is bought and not sold, my-insurer managing director Regine Lai emphasised that insurance ‘needs to be sold’ to the consumer.
The rationale that people are generally reluctant to buy insurance is due to the fact that consumers are unable to see where the value lies in such an intangible product.
As such, Ms Lai highlighted that the value proposition in insurance lies not in the product, but in the service – advisory and claims – to be rendered by an insurance company’s sales force.
“When it comes to insurance distribution, agents remain the primary channel with the highest penetration. They bring about tremendous value creation to consumers who are still unmotivated to buy insurance, and prefer to be hand-held through a complicated and long-term purchase commitment,” she said.
Insurance buying does not just come down to simpler products.
“There’s only so much you can simplify a life product. What is essential is a trusted advisory channel,” she added.
However, when it comes to industry players’ digitalisation goals, she noted that most insurers choose mainly to develop direct customer acquisition platforms, with little resources dedicated to enhance in-house customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.
A robust CRM platform is able to provide multiple touch points between agents and their customers and prospects, she said, allowing insurance intermediaries to nurture and build stickiness in relationships post acquisition. “In fact, an ideal tool would be one that can eventually be scaled up to an ecosystem that can enable agents to promote, build their business, and acquire customers – and is insurer-agnostic. To do this, insurers can leverage InsurTech solutions to optimise, rather than replace their existing infrastructure,” Ms Lai added.
Matthias de Ferrieres has more than 15 years experience in the insurance industry in Asia.