Insurtech (insurance technology) innovation is happening almost imperceptibly in the Philippines, and in numerous steps by different companies. Here below are some of these insurtech innovations.
East West Ageas Life
ON May 28, 2019, East West Ageas Life, under its brand name TROO, launched its online Customer Portal under brand name “GoTroo.” In this portal, the client can view and download a copy of his insurance policy, including the signed application form and sales illustration. For newly released policies, a free look period notification will remind the client of the free look feature. A summary of the policy’s features such as the coverage, benefits, beneficiaries, payment information and investment history may also be viewed. Personal and policy related information may also be updated in the portal. Claims may also be filed through this portal by uploading claims documents. Reinstatement of policies may also be done online.
Manulife will launch in 2019 its “iNotice,” which is an electronic service facility through which customers can receive their billing statements and other notices through their e-mail. This innovation will afford customers with faster, more secure communications system. The billing notices sent to the customers 20 days before due date are password-protected to secure customer information. Under this innovation, notices will be sent electronically and paperless unless the client requests for the paper option.
Philam Life (AIA Group)
IN 2014, Philam Life introduced the very first interactive Point of Sales. iPoS is an iPad-based application used by the company’s financial advisors to facilitate smooth transactions with clients. The sales innovation will allow the agents to perform needs analysis, underwrite contracts, and complete transactions, and facilitate payments electronically with ease and convenience. In its Australian office, the company is already using artificial intelligence to run its operations.
Singapore Life will be entering the Philippine market soon. Singapore Life (Sing Life) is not your typical insurance company. It is a technology-based, online insurance company start-up. It aims to pursue the insurance business 100 percent digitally (or digital-only) in direct competition with the tradition insurers. There are others with the same business model such as CXA Asia. Singapore Life was founded in 2014 by Walter de Oude, a former banker from HSBC. In July 2019, Sumitomo Life Insurance of Japan acquired 25 percent of Sing Life for $90 million. Earlier, strategic investors include Aberdeen Standard Investments for $13 million and US insurer Aflac for $20 million in December 2018. Aberdeen Standard is a Scotland-based asset management firm with 50 offices worldwide, and hopes to bring its asset management expertise to the Asian region. Aflac is listed in the NYSE that quickly sealed a reinsurance agreement with Sing Life. In May 2019, Hong Kong-based asset manager Ion Pacific invested $7.3 million in Sing Life.
These investments brought Sing Life’s valuation to $358 million, as of July 2019. As a company embracing insurtech, its CEO Walter de Oude described its thrust as “mobile-first ambitions.” According to de Oude: “Consumers today have access to thousands of financial products and services, yet none are fully integrated and compatible to their mobile-first lifestyles. Singapore Life was founded as a response to this—to encourage people to take action on their insurance needs.”
In justifying its digital-only approach, de Oude added: “People deserve a better partner for their life insurance needs—one who can reduce the complexities in the purchase journey, and offer efficient, transparent and flexible solution.”
Sing Life first secured its license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore in 2017. In Singapore, it is the first local insurer, with no foreign partners, to be licensed since 1970. In 2018, it acquired the business portfolio of Zurich Life Singapore worth around SG$6 billion and involving around 5,000 policies. From its launch in Singapore, it intends to capture Southeast Asia through the Philippine market. Today, its products include life insurance, endowment plans, wealth portfolio services, family coverage, and others.
Dennis B. Funa is the current insurance commissioner. Funa was appointed by President Duterte as the new insurance commissioner in December 2016. E-mail: email@example.com.
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