World at a Glance – 1Q17
The main themes for the first quarter of 2017 can be summarized by continuous innovation in product design and the inclusion of the latest technology to attract, engage and reward customers.
Wellness programs are expanding to new markets such as Sri Lanka, and insurance companies are creating seamless interactions between customers’ devices, apps and the insurance companies’ own administration systems to ensure the rewards offered are as easy as possible for customers to enjoy. While many wellness programs are comprehensive in design, rewarding customers for various health behaviors and purchasing patterns, there has also been a focus towards simplified programs targeting one behavior only, such as activity.
On the distribution side, technology is an increasingly important aspect of the insurance sales process. From the retail point-of-sale machines in rural India to the use of chatbots in Japan, virtual assistants and gaming devices are providing information and education to policyholders.
”On-demand” accidental death cover with policy periods as short as 24 hours is being offered in South Africa in response to a change in the way customers purchase non-insurance products and other on-demand business models such as Uber and Spotify.
The provision of non-insurance services alongside insurance products is increasingly considered an important aspect of an insurance offer, particularly for health products. Worldwide health coverage is now offered in many markets including Ireland and China.
Companies are also looking for new avenues through which to sell their products, such as pharmacies and telecom branches.
Finally, there is an ongoing interest in offering insurance products to categories of customers previously denied coverage by most insurance companies. For example, diabetics are being targeted with diabetes-specific health and living benefit products, and new life insurance products in the U.K. and parts of South America are targeting people with HIV.