Insurtech on the move ‘19: Bihubao
Insurtechs tend to focus on a specific part of the industry they operate within, but there will always be some exceptions.
Beijing-based Bihubao is one such company and it is notable for its efforts to establish a truly online to offline (O2O) business model.
Founded in February 2015, it has fast become the cornerstone of the Chinese domestic online reciprocal community (ORC) industry.
ORCs offer businesses crucial building blocks to build an online presence. They gather data in order to learn from customers, build trust, increase profit and increase market performance efficiency.
Often referred to as ‘electronic word of mouth’ (eWOM), these communities create opportunities for individuals to interact and connect, and share information about products and services at any time they choose. These factors have a key role in i influencing buying behaviours.
These communities can provide better engagement between organisations and their customers, but as the offline business is developed, so the customer experiences may not prove to be as relevant.
Strong growth and demand
Bihubo is one of the few platforms in China where ORC payments and fundraising have doubled to more than 100 million yuan. Beijing Bihu Technology, which belongs to Bihubao, has contributed capital of nearly 400 million yuan and is committed to become a supplement to the Chinese social security system.
Investment institutions include Cuiwei Science and Technology Innovation Fund (State-owned), Weihun Capital, Luzhou Jianyuan, and Venture Capital and many other well-known institutions.
The core product is personal critical illness assistance and has added innovative businesses in financial insurance, community e-commerce, and health management through collaboration to create a service that covers ORC before and after assistance.
NuoYanChou is an online platform that gathers donations for those with major illnesses who require short-term financial assistance. It has captured more than 100 million yuan between March 2018 and June 2019.
BiHuFuZu steps in where the limited social protection stops. It provides reciprocal assistance services for hundreds of millions of low and middle-income citizens.
By June 2019, BiHuFuZu had connected more than three million people with various types of reciprocal aid programmes and received in excess of 100 million yuan in payments.
Off the beaten path
Bihubao has partnered with including some of Chinese biggest e-commerce and social media companies to provide low-priced and low-limit health insurance to consumers in tier two and three cities.
These cities have previously only been covered by government insurance and personal savings.
Efficiency has been improved with the development of Bihubao Agent, a tool that automates workflow for insurance agents. It contains an intelligent recommendation engine that pre-populates pension assessment and tailored health insurance plans, according to the agent’s input. This greatly reduces the chances of mis-spelling and miscommunication.
Bihibao is also the designated third party administrator (TPA) claims processor for
Alibaba’s Xianghubao health insurance programme, a mutual protection product that provides critical illness cover for around 100 illnesses.
Members contribute evenly (around CNY 0.5) to payouts of as much as CNY 300,000 (£35,000/$42,500) when a participant falls critically ill. Sign up is free, there are no premiums or upfront payments, and disputes over claims are handled by volunteer members.
Bihubao’s approach is reinventing the way consumers interact with health insurance.
New levels of consistency and transparency are being imposed on the agency channel, which remains the most important means of distribution in the market.