We spoke to Ashish Kenath, the Regional Lead – New Markets and Business Development at Prudential Insurance Growth Markets. Ashish has 15 years of experience in the insurance industry including a posting in the US where he worked for Aetna in Hartford, CT. He received his MBA in HK and then joined Prudential.
He posited that one of the current trends for InsurTech ins Asia was the adoption of APIs to integrate legacy systems with non-traditional distribution partners to increase customer reach and become part of digital ecosystems. Ashish also also noted that another trend was insurance companies offering bite-size products. This micro-Insurance is about customer acquisition. Potential customers are also used to personalization and customization from the other mobile apps they use and the other ways they shop on their mobile devices.
We talked about how Ashish’s personal view is that InsurTech startups are not really viewed as challengers but more like entities they can work with to enhance the customer proposition. Part of this is driven by the fact that the insurance industry as a whole is quite capital intensive and regulatory-driven, which puts a bit of a moat around the incumbents.
We went back to this idea that there has been a shift in customer expectations when it comes to their interactions with mobile apps. It is no longer the case that insurance apps are being compared to other insurance apps. They are now being compared to Amazon and Grab. Customers have shorter attention spans and have higher benchmarks for customer experiences and services.
The onset of 5G on mobile devices means that even more service integrations will occur and will need to be part of the insurance digital ecosystem as well for these companies to survive. If 5G lives up to its expectations, the ability to provide hyper-personalized products and services should explode. These factors will help accelerate the shift from insurance companies providing only risk management to risk prevention.
Insurance penetration still remains problematic in Asia and we asked Ashish what types of things needed to change, besides the distribution mechanisms to attack this issue. Bite-size products is one thing for sure, but more importantly, overall product innovation that simplifies the policy terms and makes it easier for clients to understand the products they are buying. On top of that, it is also necessary to raise awareness of insurance products in general.
Trust and engagement also matter. As it stands now, most insurance clients feel like there is a sales process, a policy purchase and a claims process and nothing in between. Insurance companies are trying to build engagement with their clients to close that gap and also hope that that leads to higher penetration numbers through increased trust.
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