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Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman is our official partner for the APAC Insurer Innovation Awards.

Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting. With offices in more than 70 cities across 30 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation.

The firm has more than 5,000 professionals around the world who work with clients to optimize their business, improve their operations and risk profile, and accelerate their organizational performance to seize the most attractive opportunities. Oliver Wyman is a business of Marsh McLennan [NYSE: MMC]. For more information, visit www.oliverwyman.com.

Arthur D. Little

Arthur D. Little has been at the forefront of innovation since 1886. We are an acknowledged thought leader in linking strategy, innovation and transformation in technology intensive and converging industries. We navigate our clients through changing business ecosystems to uncover new growth opportunities. We enable our clients to build innovation capabilities and transform their organizations. Our consultants have strong practical industry experience combined with excellent knowledge of key trends and dynamics. ADL is present in the most important business centers around the world. We are proud to serve most of the Fortune 1000 companies, in addition to other leading firms and public sector organizations. For further information, please visit www.adlittle.com

FINNOVATING

Finnovating is a Matching as a service platform that enables X-Techs from all around the word to connect , collaborate and get the funding they need to grow from investors and corporations globally. The Finnovating platform is a space were the key players of the Tech industry can connect together easily and boost global Tech innovations.

SØNR

Sønr is the world’s most comprehensive source of innovation intelligence. It is a subscription platform used by some of the best known insurance companies globally.

It tracks millions of companies around the world and provides insight on the latest market trends, the startups and scaleups reshaping the industry, and intelligence on how other big insurers are innovating.

Sønr includes a suite of tools designed for teams to better collaborate and connect. From recording meetings to capturing and sharing Notes, to being able to track and share activity across the company using Watchlists and CRM boards.

The platform is backed up by a team of consultants, researchers and analysts who support clients in discovering and creating new business opportunities.

Interview: Haifei Li, Sino Conflux Life

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This month we speak to Haifei Li of Sino Conflux Life, a regional life insurer in China’s North Eastern province of Liaoning.

Q.1 In the face of increasing competition in the Chinese insurance industry, how can western insurers compete with Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent (BAT)?

The size of the market means the insurance industry in China will always have stiff competition. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are now moving away from traditional online activities and towards financial services e.g. Alibaba with Ant Financial and Tencent with WeChat (WeBank, WeSure). Clearly, Alibaba and Tencent are expanding globally, and this supplies a great opportunity for strong global insurers to partner with the BAT. So co-operation can be built on expertise and IP, with lower investment, but more rapid income, through revenue sharing and minority stakes in the niche market collaborations.

Q.2 Which will have a bigger impact on the insurance industry, blockchain or AI?

These technologies can be considered separately and also together. First, AI has already begun to change the simplest most repetitive tasks previously done by call centers. Customer service and claims are a significant cost for insurers and the emergence of decision tree based chatbots and claims processing will impact retention rates and profitability. Blockchain is earlier in its development and still unproven. For blockchain, there are still questions around security and the exact use cases for insurers. However, there are several parametric insurance products that can be independently authenticated with the use of blockchain.

Q.3 The notion of an ecosystem seems especially relevant in China (Ping An Good Doctor or China Life retirement homes). Why do you think we don’t see the ‘ecosystem’ phenomenon in the West?

The insurance industry in China is at an early stage. The public health system is also immature. This makes it possible for larger insurers to enter multiple fields adjacent to their core business. The concept of end to end ownership is appreciated in China, as the big tech companies have all been built around the idea of a platform. Many insurers now see the chance to jump into healthcare delivery instead of waiting for private hospitals and clinics to establish themselves. Ping An is the best known example, but there are others including Taikang, China Life and An Xin that are all moving into healthcare delivery and directly employing doctors.

Q4. Several InsurTechs are leveraging WeChat to market low premium reimbursement based health insurance products, what do you think of this model?

Many people in tier two and tier three cities are unable to purchase standard life/health insurance. Although the old tradition of saving money in case of serious illness or injury still exists, this model presents a lower price point for people not living in wealthy east coast cities. I think the challenge for this model will be whether it can convert enough customers to real policyholders. As the market matures, retention will also be an issue as western companies with unrestricted licenses will begin to compete with local players.

Q.5 The China Banking Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) is imposing strict regulations on the development of digital insurance in China. Do you think there is a risk that CIRC could stifle innovation through too many rules and restrictions?

I don’t think so. Digital insurance is still a relatively new thing with many uncertainties. A cautious attitude is actually beneficial to the long-term development of digital insurance. Even though CIRC have enacted rules and restrictions, it doesn’t mean they want to limit its development. Both insurers and the regulatory committee need time to discuss and explore its most suitable development path and the appropriate business models. I believe the CIRC will open up the industry when the time is right.

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