To better match the needs of their customers, companies are continuously looking for ways to offer more customized products depending on their demographics age, wealth, life stage and more.
Life insurance products geared towards the millennial generation are designed so that policies can be purchased online – in some instances in less than five minutes. More and more companies are offering mobile apps that allow their customers to service their policies, from issue to claims, entirely within the app. In India, for example, an insurer is offering claims processing via WhatsApp. In addition, health insurance products for the younger generation can now be purchased on digital platforms where payment can be made via Apple Pay, Google Pay, Savvisave and bWallet.
Products are also becoming more comprehensive. A bank in the UK has a mobile-only account that offers pensions, savings and travel insurance. It also offers incentives to customers who demonstrate that they lead healthier lives by using wearables such as Apple Watch, Fitbit and Garmin. The rewards can be cash-back offers, gift cards, discounts from a range of retailers, and coupons or discounts off their telephone bill. Some products combine health and life insurance plans for two or more people so that the entire family is covered, and there are also intergenerational products that enable wealth to be passed on to the next generation.
On the health insurance side, products are becoming more tailored. There are health plans designed for the different needs of women and men, such that the female-specific plan covers the illnesses that commonly afflict women at every stage of their lives, and the plan for men covers male-related medical conditions and procedures. Insurance products for women include savings plans, and critical illness coverage, with some also covering pre-existing medical conditions and mental disorders as well as other gender-specific benefits. In Indonesia, for example, the CIMB Niaga JCB Precious Card is a credit card that offers shopping, health and beauty benefits including free health insurance.
Critical illness policies are available from birth to over 100 years of age. The policies for children can cover specific conditions such as autism and mental health. In Hong Kong, one critical illness policy even extends coverage to the insured’s parents and children, and includes any children born in the future. Insurers, in conjunction with health companies, also offer pregnancy apps to monitor the mother’s health from the moment she discovers she is pregnant. Babylist is a baby registry that has partnered with a large insurer to offer life insurance as an add-on to its baby registry.
Products will be needed to meet consumers’ pre-retirement and retirement needs. For many, leaving employment means the loss of their health and dental insurance. Some insurers now offer a transitioning plan that helps the customer move from a group plan to an individual plan for health, dental and travel insurance.
Many seniors face difficulties when trying to obtain medical insurance due to pre-existing medical conditions and their age. Some health insurance products are extending the age range up to 100 years. And because loneliness and isolation are becoming 21st century health problems, additional programs specifically address the mental health issues of the aged. In Japan some insurers offer dementia insurance where the upper age limit can be up to 90 years, and in the UK there is CI coverage for the elderly that includes “Dementia and Frailcare” as part of its serious illness cover.
Elsewhere in the financial protection marketplace, a variety of retirement plans has been developed, in part because insurance companies have realized they can no longer divide people’s lives into the steady segments of what one insurer had described as Wealth Creation, Retire Smart and Dream Protect. For example, “retire easy” plans let policyholders receive their monthly income payment at 50, 60, 65 or even up to 100 years of age.. Another recent development is the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) movement to live frugally and retire early. People in this movement live as frugally as possible, saving half their income or more during their 20s or 30s, with the ultimate goal of retiring in their 30s, or 40s at the latest, achieving financial independence by building a nest egg that they can live off for the rest of their lives. Insurers will need to simultaneously adapt to the needs of both the world’s increasing ageing population and movements such as FIRE to remain relevant.
Annuities savings plans for the elderly are now being offered up to the age of 120 years. One plan offers the ability to change the insured person numerous times. This feature allows insureds to provide a legacy for their families. Life insurance plans can also include add-ons such as a free online will service, an online deposit box, and an app that connects the user through to 911. Funeral plans include coverage of directors’ fees, coffin, transport, and cremation and burial costs.