Insuretech Connect Asia 2023 Day 2

Insuretech Connect Asia 2023 Day 2

The momentum around Insuretech, the market opportunities and this conference continue to build. There were many who braved the tropical rain to make the day even better than day 1.

A few key learnings jumped out to me from the day, and are fleshed out in more detail via the individual session breakdowns below, are as follows.

1: The immediate need to be laying a platform to focus and engage with future potential customers, especially younger customers and being present and engaging where they are at online. This investment may require longer-term thinking than the traditional investment horizons that some are comfortable with.

2: Insurers need to learn from other businesses and sectors.

3: Insurers need to be present in Social Media to engage future customers and establish their brands

4: For agents, their network is their net worth.

5: Agents are an essential Go-To-Market in social media and when empowered with the right tools and sufficient guard rails to remain human and not robotic.

Omni-Channel Insurance Distribution

Omni-Channel Insurance Distribution

Jay believes that the UK and Europe are more advanced in online distribution. Helpfully and challengingly he commented that "the technology and approach need to be focused on future generations and their expectations - now!"

Sam reminded us of the need for "Phigital models", where we bring together the physical and digital into a phigital model. Enabling agents to navigate online and offline conversations quickly and easily with customers will be critical.

Highlighting even more of the shift to customer-centricity, the panel discussed the need to be putting the user in the driver's seat around what they are trying to achieve and solve. Focusing more on the customer needs and less on pure product development. 

Yusuke illustrated the differences between online experiences that customers face from different service providers. "The most important thing is the customer experience, banking is a daily use, GI is monthly, life even less so". Dai-ichi has "tried to create an app in Vietnam, 50% of customers have downloaded the app, aiming to drive great customer engagement through the application".

Success is about a holistic approach across the sales life cycle.

Not many success stories. Why?

The major obstacle is how to connect online and offline customer data. Two steps forward and one back as a customer goes through the journey. Products may need to be simplified to enable increased digital sales and better omnichannel engagement.

Clarity over the value you are getting through the platforms you engage on is also essential.

The main challenges - Dai-ichi is facing are:
  1. Mindset - as a life insurance company is focused on distribution, and needs to shift to a customer experience mindset approach
  2. Data filtering is important. Across partners to enable improved customer experiences.
  3. New digital tools, with continual contact windows and more information to be made available to customers.

One key enabler to move forward:
  • Srinivasan - data is the critical essence we need data to be available to agents and customers.
  • Yusuke - the importance of the human touch (agents), and great customer experience to drive distribution
  • Sam - mindset needs to shift to customer-centricity around distribution, sales, customer service and complaints.
  • Jay - we need to simplify the payments process for customers. Similar to Netflix, Amazon and Spotify. If we can get payments right, we will unlock the value potential.

Omni channel is about how to build trust in different places and help customers to feel comfortable to engage.

Putting the customer first is essential. To understand their experiences and what they want and are looking for. 

Insurers need to learn from other businesses and sectors.

The Funding Streak in Insuretech…continues?

Shifting back to businesses that are aiming for profitability and growth is a continuing trend. Deep market knowledge and market insight are essential for founders and successful enterprises.

Moving back towards older founders who have been through the business cycles. 

The average age of founders in Silicon Valley is 44.

Why older founders?
  • More capital constraint and discipline
  • More industry expertise
  • More life and business cycle exposure 

We see FinTech as a horizontal piece across multiple verticals. 

E-commerce solution - looks unattractive to investing except when you see the underlying revenue drivers. One such e-commerce example has 80% of revenues driven by parts that are not the e-commerce activities, including:

  • Payments
  • Integration solutions
  • Insurance 
  • Finance 

The investment thesis is either vertical or horizontal propositions that can make different value creation opportunities possible.

Bolttech recently completed their $200m series B raise on the back of a successful $250m series A.  Pretty impressive given the current market trends and the 3 years they have been in operations! 

Why did investors like Bolttech (their words!)?
  • One of the few trying to innovate vertically and horizontally. Both insurance partners and distribution partners. Vertically they are able to offer new products 
  • Doing insurance at scale, now in 31 markets, enables product innovation at scale. That can be developed once and scaled across partners and customers, given the ability to deliver exceptional products due to the economies of scale. 
  • Service capabilities and meeting client needs - Bolttech sitting at over 70 NPS recently. 

It seems that as investment levels come down a little, there is, as always, value and capital for good businesses.

From Insurer to Platform: Transforming Insurance Business Models in the Digital Age

Transformation requires a portfolio approach when developing products. There are products you've developed that haven't worked and you need to move on from them to find ones that do work.

Grab - insurance is an enabler for the driver and merchant partners due to the challenge of the insureds have had in being understood and served by traditional insurance partners. Grab aims to bring together new partners to match them with underserved clients - as simply as possible.

Customer experience, hyper-targeting and segmentation come to mind. You need to understand the reason to connect with customers and deliver them value. Data and access are the keys to driving effective innovation. Accumulate and use data to serve customers.

Differences across a diverse APAC environment. Desktop research appears similar online, however, offline there are unique ways of interacting with customers and potential customers. In Thailand and Vietnam, customers require more hand-holding compared to the Singapore market.

Shift from innovation labs and building internally, to finding and partnering with external partners to deliver increased value and capabilities.

Income and Snack Insurance partnering and embedding into Grab to deliver win-wins when partnering.

The key to success is to have a strong customer value proposition. If there is no real customer problem to solve, you don't have a market.

Social Media: The New Key Players in the Customer Acquisition Game

Social media can be intrusive and can impact mental health, just because we can engage, should we?

When we don't go on social media we don't engage with social communities. In some markets, social media is the internet. So yes, as consumer-facing businesses you need to be on social media.

Tailoring the message to the right channels and not looking to drive fake friends or even focus on friend count, likes and follows etc. Although I wonder how you drive organic distribution if you don't cultivate a large engaged audience?

Prashant at AIA mentioned that people have always mixed business and pleasure. For companies powered by purpose, social media is a more relevant space to operate. Then there are natural openings for commercial conversations. Social can be overused and we need to be careful.

People are there so we have to be there. There is no escape.

Country-specific requirements.

Affiliate marketing opportunities exist with influencers and online shops on social media platforms. Key question is, do they, influencers and online shops, need to be regulated and authorised? Agents do when operating online. What is the difference? How do you manage that tension?

What are the appropriate ways to use social media and what should you not be doing?

You can't replicate the same message across channels. You can't just copy and crop. You message needs to be channel specific. 

Micro-influencers are being engaged to create content, however, big brands are preferring to host the content on the brand's social media channel. Experimental phase with Reels and TikTok etc and still learning what works and what doesn't. 

Different messaging channels - WhatsApp, Line, WeChat, Facebook Messenger - needs to be country-specific and needs to be supported well internally to deliver a good customer experience. 

AIA believe in the Robo process, that customers will Research Online and Buy Offline. No desire to disrupt the offline agent channel which is a strategic competitive benefit. Not preaching online, but are doing more content in entertaining ways.

Liberty - adapt to your existing proven distribution models. If you're driven by agents, then you need to use your agents as your digital distribution channels to carry your messaging channels.

Rise of social media as content / claims service channels. Customers want help when they need it most.

Google search estimates of around 170m outside of China for "life insurance" related terms. I'm unclear about the countries included in this stat or the time period, but I'd imagine annual figures are possible. 

The key to winning with social media is to enable a mechanic that makes social connections natural online. 

Cost per acquisition is increasing online over time, not decreasing so you need to be cognizant of your cost per engagement metrics and how to maintain efficient business processes.

Quick fire tips:
Facebook pixel is less useful, you need a conversion pixel that is tied into your CRM.
Connecting your CRM enables you to do proper remarketing efforts.

The current approach to engaging customers and how they flow through their engagement phases:
1: Brand - leading with a clear strong and trusted brand proposition
2: Price - need to have and highlight a competitive pricing option
3: Service - remarketing messages around service help to nudge potential customers over the line. 

There is a shift in perception internally from brand owners to brand curators. With agents you teach them how to keep out of trouble, you need to give them lots of flexibility and not lose the humanity of agents. The importance of good guard rails that enable them to flourish online is critical. 

For agents, their network is their net worth. Training them pays off, but can be seen over the longer term and requires consistent investment.

Welcome to ITC Asia 2023

ITC Asia is a great conference that brings together the leader across the Insurance industry and technology. 

There is a lot of opportunity for smart new product offerings, new paths of distribution and increased efficiencies to be realised with the support of AI.