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Consumers 'want improved digital service' post-COVID

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A Swiss Re survey has found consumers in Australia and other Asia Pacific markets have made a “significant shift” to online purchasing during the pandemic, with the trend set to accelerate even after the public health crisis is over.

For insurers this is an opportunity to revamp their entire value chain from product design, underwriting, distribution, claims and after-sales management, the reinsurance giant says.

“Insurers should continue to invest in digital innovation and strengthen their data analytics capabilities,” Swiss Re says in the survey report. “Traditional underwriting models rely on risk assessment at the point of customer entry.

“With expanded data sources and engagement models, insurers can now access policy holders’ lifestyles and risk profiles more frequently, while still complying with data privacy regulations.”

While the survey of 7000 consumers in 12 regional markets including about 500 from Australia focused on life and health insurance, a spokeswoman for Swiss Re says the findings on buying trends are relevant for non-life insurers too.

According to the survey, one in two respondents are interested in purchasing through insurers’ online websites and apps in the future.

In the past six months, 39% of total transactions completed were through insurers’ online website and apps.

“Going forward, we expect digital insurance purchases to continue to see an uptick in [the region], with 50% of respondents interested in purchasing through an insurer’s website or app in the future," Swiss Re says.

“As such, the insurance industry will need to continue to apply digitalisation throughout the insurance value chain to remain relevant and connected to customers.”

Consumers in the region have become more proactive in reaching out to insurers for their protection needs and increasing numbers expect ease of online access to improve further.

“With the entrance of non-traditional players into the insurance market and surging demand for online transactions, it is imperative that insurers offer digital engagement across all distribution touchpoints,” Swiss Re says.

“When asked what areas of improvement could be, the most often-cited were acceleration of claims processing and payment, more flexible cover and easy digital access.”

The other 11 markets included in the survey are New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and South Korea.

Click here to access the report.