Online platforms more disruptive than insurtech, says executive

These large firms hold the edge in customer engagement, which is among the most important aspects of digital business

Online platforms more disruptive than insurtech, says executive

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Chris Wei, executive chairman of Aviva Asia, is of the opinion that large online insurance platforms are more likely to disrupt the insurance industry than insurance technology start-ups.
In an interview with A.M. Best, Wei said that despite insurtech startups being more attention-grabbing, these are still smaller operations that do not have many customers. It’s the large companies’ online platforms that have the potential to make major changes to the industry, he said.
Wei named Google, Facebook, Wechat, and Alibaba’s ANT financial as some of the large online platforms that Aviva is worried about. It’s these companies, he said, that have the luxury of millions, or even billions, of customers wanting to return daily and engage with them.

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He added that innovation, digitalization, and technology are driving the transformation of the insurance industry, and it moves at a very fast pace.
Wei said that a search engine optimization expert looked at his company’s strategies and concluded that it was seven generations behind what Google was using.
“If you have a large existing traditional business, it is really difficult to innovate, and I would say that is the situation in most of Asia,” said Wei. “It is also about engagement now and about the customer experience. As we think about optimizing communication strategies and building products that are going to be actually applicable on a digital format, it requires a fundamental rethinking as to how we operate as an insurance company.”
Engagement is vital, he said, and insurance companies must learn to listen to their customers.
“If we believe that consumers will embrace digital and that there will be digital disrupters rethinking that model, then we have got to build products that are really simple, really transparent and deliver good value, not with your traditional penalties and lockups. That requires, again, a fundamental rethinking,” he said.

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