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Mobile is first point to purchase of insurance in APAC

It will make more sense for the banks and insurance agencies in the Asia Pacific to start looking at the mobile channel to target the insurance customers. In a recent survey by IDC Financial Insights it was seen that mobile devices are increasingly becoming the popular point of contact for customers to learn about various insurance products.

The survey further showed that 60 percent of insurance customers across Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) use more than one interaction point to purchase their insurance policies. Li-May Chew, associate research director at IDC Financial Insights Asia/Pacific said, “With mobile telephony being one of the fastest-growing technologies and such devices becoming more commonplace and affordable in emerging countries like India and the Philippines vis-à-vis better Internet connectivity, insurers cannot choose to neglect the mobile distribution channel.”

In fact consumers today prefer to have a choice of interaction points and often do not hesitate to switch insurers if their preferred channels are not available or operating efficiently. There is a growing demand amongst consumers today for the convenience of having several touch points to interact 24×7. This means that insurers in the region increasingly need to have a multichannel distribution policy. “The advent of electronic channels and the emergence of a tech savvy consumer generation are radically changing the distribution strategies of insurers. Alternative distribution models — predominantly the Web portal, and increasingly the mobile channel — are being utilized to supplement (and in some instances, even replace) the traditional agency channel and cater to divergent buying preferences of policyholders,” explained Chew.

According to the experts at IDC Financial Insights mobile technology can actually help the insurers grow their business in a better manner. “The mobile technology can help them remain competitive by offering them a medium that allows them to be more regular and timely with their promotions and special offers to policyholders. It will also help the insurer become more efficient by giving the customers the convenience of self service capabilities,” Chew informed. Some examples of self-service capabilities include the ability to submit requests, claims or complaints and receive acknowledgement; status updates via mobile devices; tracking of policies and premiums; performing fund switches; payment of premiums; and, resolving queries in real time using Web-enabled mobile handsets. Going further Chew said that in future insurers can also look at multimedia communication capabilities in the mobile devices. “Using that insurers can offer more advanced features like on-the-spot digital photos submission to the workshop from vehicle accident sites to obtain same day repair cost estimates and machine-to-machine technology such as telemetry that enables insurers to introduce pay-as-you-use policies,” she informed.