The world is changing, and so are our customers

Senior executive stresses the need to adapt to fast-evolving business environment shaped by customers’ outlooks

The world is changing, and so are our customers

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

A respected insurance leader believes that adapting to the changing times is imperative for the industry, as the breakneck pace of technological development has shaped not only business processes, but also customers’ expectations.

“Insurance companies will have to be nimble in 2017 to confront a marketplace that is changing more drastically than perhaps ever before,” Alan J. Wilson, regional chief executive officer of MSIG Asia, told Insurance Business. “Besides macroeconomic, social, technology and regulatory changes, the insurance industry is adapting to longer-term, disruptive trends.”

Wilson cited the cases of technology trailblazers such as Amazon and Uber, whose innovations have awakened new industry models and greatly influenced customers’ expectations. The emergence of various insurtech players has also driven the momentum for change for the insurance industry. He said that firms that can rise up to meet the challenge are better poised to survive by building greater customer loyalty, cutting costs and improving profitability.

“We will continue to invest in and enhance our IT infrastructure and e-commerce capabilities to provide a seamless digital experience for the connected customers of today,” he said. “We also have in place plans to train our employees for them to better understand the impact of technology in their roles as well as tackle a more complex environment encompassing technology. Only then will we be able to continuously innovate in our roles and remain agile at adapting to the changing business climate.”

One such step MSIG Asia took in this direction is the launch of the MSIG SpeeDi mobile app in Thailand in April. The app allows MSIG’s customers that encounter motor mishaps to report the incident and receive assistance within 60 seconds. The service will also summon a motor insurance surveyor to the site of the accident within 30 minutes. Contact information of hospitals, auto dealers, and affiliated auto repair shops are also available at customers’ fingertips.

“The mobile app was necessary for us to engage and serve our customers better, because customers are increasingly becoming tech savvy and demanding immediate assistance in times of need,” Wilson said. “Before SpeeDi was launched, customers involved in accidents had to call up the call centre. With the app, we can now detect their whereabouts, contact them and assign a surveyor to attend to them at the incident site.”

He added that MSIG is looking to launch more products and services, including usage-based motor insurance for consumers in Singapore, as well as a companion app for home insurance policyholders in Malaysia.

Wilson, who has over 30 years of experience in the general insurance industry, had worked with Allianz and Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance Group in different Asian markets before joining the Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, where he was the first non-Japanese executive officer. He also holds chairmanships or directorships in 13 companies under the MSIG umbrella.

In addition, he offered some veteran advice to members of the insurance industry, especially those just starting out.

“Service excellence is key in the insurance business as essentially, we are building trust with our customers, assuring them and ensuring that we will always be there during their times of need,” he said. “One tip that I would give those starting out in the insurance industry is to have a good attitude and develop strong empathy, which will come a long way in serving the customers and helping them in vulnerable moments.”

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‘Exponential change’ to impact the industry
The only constant in reinsurance is change

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