The Digital Side of Life Insurance

By Singapore College of Insurance Posted 28day(s) ago Reading Time: A few minutes


Society’s growing reliance on digital technologies is not only reshaping customer expectations, but also redefining the insurance landscape.

We speak to Liam McCance, Chief Marketing Officer at digital insurance firm Singapore Life, about how technology can foster customer-centric approaches and provide better insurance experiences.

Embracing digital transformation is about something more than just technical capabilities. It’s about using technology in innovative ways in order to achieve true customer focus across the entire customer purchase journey.

For insurance companies, this means a shift from a policy-centric approach to a customer-centric one which is defined by a few key elements like:

  • an omnichannel-enabled buying journey that provides self-service options, direct purchasing and a single customer experience across online, mobile and now social channels;

  • the ability to leverage data and analytics across the entire value chain, including product innovation, marketing and sales, new business, servicing, claims, and operations;

  • straight-through processing made possible through simplified products and automated processes.

The Case for Digital Insurance

While consumers might have already warmed up to the thought of buying non-life insurance online and enjoy the flexibility of deciding what and when to insure, they still generally rely on agencies and brokers when it comes to purchasing life insurance.

Singapore Life wants to change that by providing life insurance digitally and focusing on:

  • making onboarding convenient through online sign up;

  • offering customized and transparent coverage;

  • making policy information accessible across multiple devices.

Singapore Life was started in 2014 by former HSBC executive Walter de Oude. The idea behind the company is to cater to the protection, savings, investment, retirement and lifestyle needs of its customers in a 100% digital way.

How Can Digital Insurance Provide Value to Customers?

Traditional insurance products are policy-centric and act as merely instruments of risk management. Digital insurance products, on the other hand, aim to offer a more holistic experience by anticipating the customers' needs and providing them with the experience and value they want, when they want it.

Convenience, customized recommendations and creating lifetime value are key elements of Singapore Life's digital success.

"We think there is merit to being a digital life insurer, and using that space. And I think we have seen that we can acquire customers through digital marketing, without having advisors involved in the journey", says Liam. He goes on to point out that customers interested in a self-service journey are primarily searching for convenience.

"Someone who goes to self-service has a different mindset than someone who goes to a financial advisor. If you take the time to go down to Starbucks and meet your insurance agent and go through the whole process, then, clearly, convenience is not your number one priority, because, you're taking time out of your day to do that."

"The psychology of someone coming through to an online journey is different - maybe they know what they want, or they just want to get what they want fast", explains Liam.

Building a Culture of Innovation

Singapore Life leverages in house technology in order to bring convenience and speed to its customers. Liam explains that the company's ground up tech approach is both scalable and adaptable in that it allows them to load multiple front ends to the platform, look at different opportunities and build different buying journeys for people.

However, innovation doesn't stop at insurance and the technology behind it. Singapore Life also innovates by introducing an element of gamification and engagement to its offering of digital-focused products which ranges from a fitness program, to a chatbot service and flash sales.

"I think what makes us unique is as a willingness to test and try things. We're trying to build and maintain a culture which allows us to bring new things to market, and continue to test, and maybe at times fail", says Liam.

"But I think that means that we will be able to be a better financial solution provider in the long run to customers, rather than just being a pusher of existing products or existing types of products. I think it's really about a mentality difference, about not just copying what's there, but trying to learn and test and build and deliver a better solution for customers."