HSBC Life makes $20 million AI investment

Reimbursing online claims shortened from five days to five minutes

HSBC Life makes $20 million AI investment

Life & Health

By Kenneth Araullo

Hong Kong-based insurer HSBC Life has invested $20 million in artificial intelligence (AI) to upgrade the firm’s tech and introduce new medical insurance services. The investment comes as the special region is experiencing an insurance boom thanks to Chinese clients going back to spending on levels close to those  seen prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A notable improvement, according to HSBC Life Hong Kong CEO Edward Moncreiffe, is the reduction of the time needed to pay out online medical claims. Before the upgrade, claims made this way could take five days, while AI has streamlined the process to a mere five minutes.

“It has taken away all the hassle and inconvenience in Hong Kong,” Moncreiffe said in a report from the SCMP. Last year alone, the insurer paid out HK$1 billion in medical claims, with cancer a leading reason for the payouts.

The pandemic as a driver for awareness

Since 2022, HSBC Life has been focused on expanding its capabilities for delivering better health insurance, with the global pandemic a main driver for the awareness that there is a need for policies that will protect citizens in their times of medical need. The new investment also resulted in Care+, a network of 3,000 doctors and clinics in Hong Kong and Macau that provides payment-free medical services to its policyholders.

Another driver for the investment is the special region’s ageing populace. Estimates from the government project that 3 million people will suffer from various chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease in 2039, in comparison to the 2.2 million who are afflicted with these illnesses as of today. Hong Kong’s elderly population will also double to 2.44 million by 2038, according to a report from 2019.

Swiss Re Institute Asia chief economist John Zhu Yat-ping said that a quarter of residents from the Greater Bay Area still prefer to shop medical insurance from Hong Kong.

“This is because Hong Kong offers more options, such as good quality hospitals and medical services that they may be unable to find elsewhere,” Zhu said. “They can also get better treatment, better hospital rooms, shorter waiting time for operations while certain medicines are more readily available in Hong Kong than in the mainland.”

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