China In-Depth: Ecosystems with life/health
Although Ping An and Zhong An are widely recognised for their ability to establish end-to-end operations and move upstream to secure new distribution channels, these efforts have largely been confined to property insurance and short-term personal accident lines. Indeed 93% of Zhong An’s gross written premium is e-commerce return cover, travel insurance, credit guarantee insurance, with an average premium per user of $1.70.
Despite the short comings of online distribution, several startups are working to bridge the gap between the availability of traffic online with the conversion rates for life/health insurance offline. One of these pioneers of O2O distribution models is Bihubao, a Beijing based startup that has developed several WeChat based solutions to address the systemic issues within the life/health industry, namely the agency channels struggle with agent churn, and the low customer retention rate of online life insurance platforms.
Through a focus on user education, and partnering with legacy life insurers such as Met Life China by providing an agency management portal, Bihubao has established itself as one of China’s true O2O insurtechs, and it’s ability to optimize the conversion rate and renewal rates for life/health insurance has differentiated it amongst hundreds of online brokers in China.