Digital drive boosts insurtech prospects in UAE

85% of insurtechs want to partner with technology providers

  
Dubai skyline. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

Dubai skyline. Image courtesy Dubai Media Office Twitter handle.

UAE - Insurtech is all poised to boom given the disruption brought in by startups coupled with aggressive adoption of technologies by traditional insurers. The challenge to capture the customer’s needs in real-time and to deliver the same is something that the industry has been venturing into for quiet some time. While the digital drive will ease the processes for the players the question is will it make life easier for consumers?

Covid-19 accelerated insurance digitalisation to meet customer demand, according to World InsurTech Report 2020. The report draws on research insights from two primary sources – surveys and interviews with traditional insurance firms and InsurTech firms. The primary research together covers insights from over 175 plus executives across 26 markets including the UAE.

Around 67 per cent of insurers want to collaborate with insurtechs. And 85 per cent of insurtechs want to partner with technology providers, while 83 per cent want to collaborate with insurers. More than 60 per cent of insurers and insurtechs are interested in collaborating with big tech firms.

Walid Daniel Dib, co-founder and CEO, hala, said: “Covid-19 was a wake up call for incumbent insurers in the UAE, who now have no choice but to build the bridges needed for digital customer acquisition. Long gone are the days of physically visiting an insurance company’s branch to get insured. The winners will be the ones looking for ways to be disruptors rather than to be disrupted.”

Dib launched hala, which is the UAE’s first car insurance venture that rewards policyholders hala coins for driving safel and which can be spent on meals, discounted gym memberships, and hotel stays.

Sridhar Subbaraman, founder and owner of insureatoasis.com believes insurtech can hasten the digital journey rather than reinventing the whole wheel again, added to this mix is the aggressive insurtech industry from Israel looking to collaborate.

“2021 will see almost the entire industry adopting insurtech. All retail insurance both life and non-life products will go digital, motor insurance will start seeing technology disrupting the current domain big time. SME will be enabled. Most importantly insurance will be more embedded across various industries. A big thumbs up to the industry for responding very well and quickly adapting to the new world order. Telemedicine has become mandatory and lifestyle digital ecosystem will rearrange the way medical insurance is being bought, priced and serviced. Data collection will play a big role and will be leading the way industry shapes up in the coming years. An area which needs to be focused next is the service aspect which is the backbone of the industry. Digital will continue to be focus, it’s not disruption anymore. It’s the new normal,” said Subbaraman.

On Wednesday, AXA Green Crescent Insurance Company (GCIC) formed a ground-breaking partnership with Policybazaar, one of the Middle East’s leading insurance comparison platforms. The UAE customers will be able to buy a comprehensive term life insurance plan directly via Policybazaar’s aggregator portal. Adel Benachour, head of Life at AXA GCIC, said; “We are delighted to partner with a market leader such as Policybazaar, which shares our passion for delivering innovative solutions. Together, we developed a first of its kind automated assessment approach to allow customers to buy and access their policies immediately without needing to visit a medical facility.”

The first product available through the Policybazaar platform is Life Protect, an innovative solution that aims to encourage customers to protect themselves and their loved ones from financial hardships that they might face in the event of death or illness. Other protection products also due to be launched in the first half of 2021 including – Simple Life (a yearly term life product) and Hospital Cash (provides a cash payment and medical reimbursement in the event of hospitalisation).

Neeraj Gupta, chief executive officer of Policybazaar UAE, said; “At Policybazaar, our ethos has always been to bring more consumer-focused products on the platform. Since the beginning of this year, we have seen a significant increase in demand for term insurance. The current pandemic is forcing a change in the consumer attitude towards pure protection insurance plans. This is a positive development that will increase pure term life insurance penetration in the UAE, which currently stands at around 0.7 per cent.”

Similarly, MetLife Gulf partnered with Munich Re Automation Solutions to support digital transformation in the region. The agreement will implement ‘Allfinanz’ to enable life insurance brokers, agents, and Bancassurance partners to provide a more streamlined service to their customers in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Oman.

Dimitris Mazarakis, general manager, MetLife Gulf, said: “MetLife is committed to simplifying interactions with our customers through innovation and digitalisation. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Munich Re Automation Solutions and enhancing our levels of service for our customers in the Gulf.”

The wider financial services industry is evolving and progressively shifting from paper to digitised processes. Munich Re Automation Solutions’ provision of its digital underwriting software further reaffirms this evolution within the insurance industry, as customer-centricity becomes increasingly essential for life insurance companies.

Paul Donnelly, executive vice-president EMEA at Munich Re Automation Solutions, said: “The shift from paper-based processes to digital is the way forward globally and our partnership with MetLife will cement our position as a key proponent for this. We’re committed to helping make life insurance processes as seamless as possible in the region. ALLFINANZ will provide intermediaries with capabilities to have one-and-done conversations with customers instead of multiple forms and questionnaires, allowing them to work swiftly and respect their customers’ time.”

 

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