HK rides InsurTech wave amidst ageing population.
FWD Hong Kong, for instance, has committed to invest HK$500m in the development of proprietary InsurTech solutions.
When the banking industry started embracing the fintech revolution, the insurance industry thought twice about going all out for InsurTech. Product diversity enables the banking industry to reach out to almost all age levels, but the insurance industry’s traditional business models are proving it more challenging to hop on the digital bandwagon. After all, there’s an age-old stereotype that insurance, especially life, is for the elderly.
However, with the growing number of insurance products and the increasing wealth of the Hong Kong population, insurance has become a primary option for professionals, young or old. The city has one of the most developed insurance industries in the region and has for years attracted the world’s top insurance companies. HKTDC Research economist Kenix Lee cites Hong Kong as amongst those with the most developed insurance markets, with the per capita insurance premium standing at high levels.
Hong Kong’s connection to China is a welcome factor, as global insurers and reinsurers are particularly attracted to China and the many opportunities for insurance in the mainland. HKTDC Research reports that the Chinese mainland recorded a year-on-year growth of 32.18% in premiums income to about US$32.3b from 1Q16 to 3Q16, with long-term insurance business and general insurance business growing by 37% and 7.8% over the year respectively.
Major mainland insurers which have been listed in Hong Kong include China Life Insurance (largest commercial insurance group in mainland China), Ping An Insurance of China, and The People’s Insurance Company (Group) of China (PICC). Lee also says the region has seen the growth in multi-channel distribution for insurance products.
Traditionally, these products were primarily distributed by insurance agents. However, there has been a rapid growth in bancassurance penetration, where the distributors of insurance products are banks. InsurTech’s role As for InsurTech, insurance companies have been exploring the varied distribution channels that are available in the digital dimension.
FWD Hong Kong believes that InsurTech will be the buzzword for 2017 and has committed to invest HK$500m in the development of proprietary InsurTech solutions, more than five times the investment in this area over the past three years.
After launching iFWD, its digital commerce platform, the company has become the market leader in direct sales of life insurance products in Hong Kong as of 3Q16. Beyond offering digital platforms for customer engagement and sales, insurance companies have been exploring mobile services, the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as big data analytics.
For mobile services, insurance companies are looking at integrating their services into social media like Facebook and Instagram. Several of these companies have already gone out of the box and introduced mobile applications customers can use to access their policies, pay their premiums, and engage with customer relations.
AIA International takes the lead in Hong Kong Business’ 50 Largest Insurance Companies with a gross premium of HK$71,368,836,000 from the previous gross premium of HK$64,422,448,000. From 3rd place, Prudential (HK) Life went up to 2nd place with HK$68,609,458,000 in gross premiums after accumulating only HK$49,027,667,000 in 2015.
Last year’s 1st placer, HSBC Life, went down to 3rd spot with gross premiums of HK$61,919,115,000 from HK$66,166,888,000.
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