Taikang Online occupies a unique market position in China as being the only life insurer with an internet insurance license.
Recognizing the importance of the internet, Taikang moved early to equip its 250,000 agents with a dedicated app to facilitate lead generation and agency management.
Established in 2014, Taikang Online is the latest installation of Taikang’s online presence, a stand-alone unit that represents the final piece of the end to end integration, providing digital signature authentication, digital underwriting for short term products based on rules-based decision-making, e-policy issuance, and OCR based claims settlement.
Although Taikang Online only sells short terms personal accident insurance, critical illness insurance and motor insurance, it has successfully transitioned a high percentage of its 50m policyholders to Taikang Online in addition to anchoring its offering on the two core features:
The first is an emphasis on O2O services. Although Chinese healthcare apps are plentiful, Taikang has embraced an ‘Online Insurance + Health’ mantra that includes doctor/patient consultation, chronic disease management services, O2O integration with hospitals, and prescription drug fulfilment – all supported by the relevant Taikang Life policies that can be tailored to individual user risk profiles.
Taikang’s healthcare app includes personalized offers for members and integrates with Taikang’s other health offerings; Guaohao, Baibo Dental Group.
The second tenet of Taikang Online is an emphasis on AI based use cases includes intelligent recommendations, facial recognition based customer authentication and online claims settlement. Taikang Online has also embraced several AI facial recognition features to enable customer authentication and payment processing purposes.
Taikang has also pioneered several chatbot use cases spanning distribution, policy management and claims which have both been integrated in Taikang’s apps, its WeChat official accounts, and even life-size offline service bots. These online bots operate from public places and offer a range of financial services, in addition to integrating with real-time consultations with Taikang if needed.
Taikang is a rare example of a legacy life insurer that appears to have successfully transitioned to the digital era through a careful combination of equipping its offline agents with digital tools in addition to embracing WeChat as its core B2C channel. However, it is worth noting that of the four licensed internet based insurers, three of them including Taikang Online suffered a net loss in 2017. This reflects the high loss ratios exhibited by many lines that are typically sold online in China (personal accident, critical illness) in addition to the channel fees that many internet insurers need to pay in order to access customers.