Etiqa Insurance’s Bet On Online Insurance Sales Pays Off
Singapore-based online insurance company, Etiqa Insurance, has launched a new service that will enable consumers to purchase insurance and have their claims processed in record time. The new service caps an impressive year that has seen the insurer grow its online revenue by 200%, in addition to becoming the first company to integrate with Myinfo.
Real Time Claims Processing
The online insurer has collaborated with DBS bank to enable the instant claims payment on its wallet service eWallet. Instead of having to wait for the standard two weeks, customers will now have their claims processed in real time with the new service.
Clients who have opened eWallet, a personal digital wallet, will have their processed claims deposited directly, as opposed to having to wait for 2 to 4 weeks with cheques payment. The wallet can also be used to make online purchases or renew any ongoing policies.
“By allowing consumers to purchase new policies and solutions and encash claims online, Etiqa is eliminating pain points, including long processing periods, to better respond to our consumers’ needs. Our goal is to drive rapid digital transformation within the insurance sector, and in doing so, we hope to significantly enhance the lifestyles of all our consumers,” said CEO Sue Chi Kong.
eWallet on Tiqconnect also leverages DBS Bank’ application interface, DBS IDEAL RAPID, to make it possible for customers to initiate policy cancellation and get the necessary refunds. Head of Insurance at DBS, Benjamin Yeo, expects the integration to help enhance the delivery of seamless digital insurance claims for policyholders. It should also go a long way in supporting the nation’s goal of becoming a smart nation.
The launch of the new service underscores the company’s commitment to accelerating the transformation of the country into a smart nation. It also vindicates the insurance company after coming under criticism on moving most of its operations online in 2006.
Etiqa Insurance is a life and general insurance company, licensed and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. It is also owned by Maybank Ageas Holdings Berhad, a joint venture company which is in turn 69%-owned by Maybank and 31%-owned by Ageas, an international insurance group. Fitch currently has an A- rating on the company based on its financial strength and stable outlook.
Etiqa Insurance became the first insurer to sell products online in Singapore. The journey that began in 2006 is slowly bearing fruit, as seen by the 89.6% market share that the company controls in the space. If the sales figures for its general insurance and takaful insurance business are anything to go by, then the company was right to make the bold move as its competitors maintained a cautious approach.
Integration with Myinfo marks yet another important milestone in Etiqa’s commitment of making it easy for people to access insurance products online. Customers will no longer have to encode government verified personal particulars into forms and supporting documents, when applying for online life products thanks to the integration.
Launched by the Government Technology Agency, Myinfo consolidates personal data from seven public agencies. The consolidation means people will no longer have to key in data already taken by the system, when filling up forms for different services. Before the end of the year data from 3.3 million people will automatically be enrolled in the system as part of the government smart nation initiative
According to Sue, a shift from Offline to online has played into Etiqa’s strength allowing it to become a force to reckon with in the sector.
Many insurance companies overlooked the opportunity of expanding their operations online, over concerns that such a move would make them heavily reliant on intermediaries. To mitigate the problem, Etiqa launched its own online portal dubbed Motortakaful.com
“Our status as the first online insurer to integrate with Myinfo and our efforts to leverage market-first digital capabilities leveraging on Application Programming Interface (API) from DBS further cement our commitment towards improving the customer experience as we capitalise on growth opportunities in the online insurance industry,” said Sue.
Etiqa’s online insurance business has continued to experience robust growth since 2008 after two years of stagnation. Accelerated growth has mostly been fuelled by partnerships the company has inked as well as the launch of unique products that has allowed people to purchase policies via Maybank2u portal as well as MyEG.
Being a first mover in the digital insurance business appears to be slowly paying off as other companies continue to play catch up. Greater awareness among the public about purchasing general insurance has vindicated the company on its investments on online life products if a 200% year over year revenue growth is anything to go by.
Despite the exponential growth, the online business still faces an uphill task on its bid to account for a huge portion of the company’s total revenues. The complexity of the products up for sale and a lack of urgency has been one of the biggest headwinds in the push for accelerated growth.
According to Maybank Ageas Holdings CEO, Kamaludin Ahmad, it is difficult to sell life insurance online, as fewer people are comfortable with buying something for between RM2,000 and RM4,000 a year (S$660 to S$1320 a year).
“The smaller ticket items such as general insurance and travel insurance are easier [to sell]. Perhaps the term life insurance or takaful will entice people to consider buying online but it has to be affordable and it has to be a simple product that is easily understood,” said Ahmad.