Calvin Teng, Country Manager of Qoala
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic sent most of us into isolation, it brought risk and insurance to the forefront.
“I should have bought insurance.”
“What is a pandemic exclusion?”
“I need to manage my expenses.”
Stuck in our homes, we went online. A 2021 Zurich survey1 found that now, most Malaysians (43%) are using online portals to renew their motor insurance and takaful.
Going online is a global trend. Even before the pandemic, a 2019 GlobalData survey found that in the UK, 39% of consumers purchased their motor insurance directly with an insurer, and 31% through an insurance aggregator.
Current outbreak situation can be a turning point for all the industry insurance players in tracing back the overall efforts and adapting their product and services to the present situation. Insurance industry has been adapting well with the unpredicted pandemic over the past 2 years through the emergence of insurtech and insurance aggregators.
However, as the future is always unseen, insurance players must be able to constantly prepare for the adjustment and keep being proactive to build products and systems that are compatible with market situations.
Where we go from here
An often-repeated quote goes—” The future is already here—It’s just not evenly distributed.”
Consumers want to transact online. A 2021 Google, Temasek and Bain & Company survey2 found that 81% of Malaysians have at least made one purchase online, primarily at e-commerce marketplaces and online travel agencies.
For insurance, the transition from offline to online sales happens when our products are no longer sold but bought. Pricing, while important, contributes little—you cannot convince a person to buy something he doesn’t want just because it’s on sale. It’s important to understand the market needs and provide products that meet those needs.
A report stated by EY3 mentioned supporting ecosystems will be essential to help insurers make the shift to proactive, personalized offerings and cross-channel experiences. In some cases that are currently happening, the existing ecosystems could be in the form of insurance aggregators, as well as e-commerce platforms and could be any available platform in the future. Through harnessing the power of the omnichannel platform and digital ecosystem, insurers can be assisted in being more proactive and offering personalized service to their customers. Insurers can focus on building their business and brands. The region’s insurers cannot make the shift to proactive, personalized offerings alone. Through these ecosystems, insurers can focus on their strengths while using external expertise and capability to arrange future insurance offerings and offer complementary services.
Specifically talking, Insurance aggregators benefit from, and are a natural outcome, of our decades of investment in financial literacy. As insurance is a part of financial planning, the right approach would be by giving understanding to the people on how important financial stability and planning is, including building their safety which is followed by insurance as their personal and asset protector.
We’ll take it further. As an example, Qoala, where I work, invests in making insurance products understandable and accessible through our website, is followed by tens of thousands via our social media channels, and reaches millions monthly through our educational articles.
This is how we all win.
Calvin Teng is the Country Manager of Qoala.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Bank Negara Malaysia, the organizer of MyFintech Week 2022.
 Zurich Malaysia (2021). 59% of Malaysian motorists are still not covered for flood damage. https://www.zurich.com.my/-/media/project/zwp/malaysia/docs/about-zurich/zurich-in-the-news/2021/20211123_zurich-malaysia_impact-of-pandemic-survey-on-motor-vehicle_website.pdf
 Google, Temasek and Bain & Company (2021). e-Conomy SEA 2021
 EY (2021). How Southeast Asia’s insurers can seize growth in the next decade. https://www.ey.com/en_id/financial-services-asia-pacific/how-southeast-asia-s-insurers-can-seize-growth-in-the-next-decade