Markets throughout Asia are in the midst of a dramatic demographic reorganisation. Elder populations in developed countries are surging while developing nations are coping with rapid urbanisation as well as emigration of younger populations.
Technologies on a range of life and health-related fronts are also developing and evolving rapidly. The ongoing explosion of data is requiring increasingly sophisticated storage and analytic competencies. The resulting novel capabilities, such as interactive devices and bots with integrated artificial intelligence, are changing how humans live and engage with the world.
Mix in with these trends the ongoing shift in long-held cultural values in Asia. Younger generations are increasingly unavailable to care for their elders, leaving many older people without resources or provisions for their own later-in-life care. Elder healthcare costs in the region are projected to reach approximately US$20 trillion by 2030, which will place substantial economic and social stress on healthcare systems, social security, the public infrastructure, and labour forces.
All of these factors are having profound effects on so many aspects of life and health for Asian seniors – and on the region’s insurance industry, as well.
Redefining and innovatingFor insurers in Asia, fundamental questions are emerging about the current contours of the senior market, such as: What is the senior market today – how should it be defined, how is it evolving, and how should it be served?
More Asians than ever are living past 80 with reasonable health, and the age at which a person becomes “old” is occurring far later than in the past. Additionally, the increasing volume of people who are “seniors” has grown to the point that the long-lived are no longer just one market.
“Seniors” have already become at least two distinct cohorts with their own specific market characteristics: those of ages approximately 55 to 70 and those older than 70.
These two groups present several levels of physical, mental, and financial health – all of which must be taken into account. Indeed, financial health as one ages can be just as important as physical and mental health – sometimes even more so. Even for those who have done well during their working lives, insufficient means to support themselves during retirement can deteriorate health through poorer nutrition, increased stress and, not infrequently, depression over their circumstances.
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