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A Digital Approach for Insurance Companies in APAC

By James Maudslay, Global Head-Insurance, Equinix

James Maudslay, Global Head-Insurance, Equinix

1) What is the current scenario of the Insurance industry in Asia Pacific region?

Today, the insurance industry in Asia Pacific region is proliferating. Insurance companies understand the importance of protecting their data and are taking significant steps to adopt newer technologies in their businesses. Considering the importance of life and health insurance in the region, there are few reasons why insurance industry will continue to evolve in the coming few years.

2) How is technology giving the business edge to insurance companies?

Earlier the way the insurance company operated, the customer interaction was limited in numbers. Customer touchpoint only happened at the time of policy renew or if there was any particular event. However, today, technology has helped the insurers to have a better understanding of their customers, which helps the insurer to personalize the offers based on individual customer preferences.

With new technologies coming into the market, CRM has considerably advanced for insurers, allowing them to have great understanding of their customer. This is not possible without true interconnection because the rise of technology, and the rise of customer intimacy is driving insurer to enrich their products and attach special offers with their products. For example, when a customer has a car insurance or motor insurance, possibly there are some special offers attached to it as the cost of maintenance can be too high if done manually. Therefore, digitalization has become an integral part of insurance companies to make their products more flexible and appealing to buyers.

3) How is an interconnection of technologies playing an important role in mass customization in APAC region?

When we talk about the interconnection of technologies, it is about getting a broader understanding of the customer's lifestyle and the way they transact their businesses.

There are various analytic engines that insurers depend on highly. The first is real-time analytics--that addresses certain things like a hoax and interring things like credit ratings. Second is the deep level analytics that will cover things more deeply and finally its insurance telemetry. The insurer needs sufficient amount of data to develop agreements that are independent and profitable. A situation like this requires deep analytics that will use a slew of functions and finally the client can have on the spot analytics. So all of these things together are going to lead substantial interconnection for assisting in real-time analytics.

4) How are insurance companies benefiting themselves in spite of the challenges they are currently facing?

The biggest problem with the general insurance is the legacy systems— if we look at the spread of the insurance company, they are not new. There are lots of arguments on why insurance companies are ready to struggle but not indulge themselves with new technology which is agile, flexible, and can cut down the risk for insurer when it comes to value change. When a company has a legacy system, they struggle to install a new product. They test new products they introduce and break something that is already there that could damage an existing policy somewhere. Therefore, I think the new technology is going to be extremely helpful. A company having a legacy system can build a satellite system around their existing legacy models, and those satellite systems give them the capability of leveraging new technology and take things forward. The new technology is going to enable them to become agile and more responsive.

5) How do you see the future of Insurance industry in Singapore and rest of the APAC region?

The insurance company is about knowing your customer because once you understand your customer; you will be in a position to provide them with products that excite them to buy something. There are certain areas, which need to be focused, however. The first one is digitalization and Omni-channel—a company investing in technology and insurance that is Omni-channel will go ahead. The second is big data and analytics– insurers understand that big data would enable them to have meaningful insights into the businesses that could be a huge turning point. The third is understanding the complexity of dealing with the legacy system, and the fourth is the ever-growing issue of cybersecurity. The final part is the blockchain–insurance companies are trying hard to disrupt the value chain and work efficiently when it comes to providing a service. In APAC regions, banks are highly regulated organizations where regulations are increasing. That is going to be a massive disruptor of the value chain itself. In coming years, we are going to see insurers investing heavily in technology. Many insurance companies in this region do not have stable statistics, and blockchain can bring transparency to that. For this, the company has to be interconnected because until they make ecosystem partners, they are going to struggle while offering products through their cloud.

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