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The Insurtech scene in Singapore

By July 16, 2020April 13th, 2022No Comments

Since the launch of Surer, many, from users to potential partners, have asked our team members about our views of the InsurTech scene in Singapore.

As such, we thought to write a commentary piece on this, to share our thoughts and opinions.

The TL;DR of it is that the scene in Singapore is vibrant and remains optimistic. However, more can be done – especially in helping intermediaries and their clients, when it comes to more complex commercial lines!

The InsurTech scene in Singapore

The InsurTech scene has evolved tremendously through the years and it is now an exciting space with much more activity and startups, like Surer, trying to solve problems.

One such change or evolution that has already taken place and has integrated into our lives, is the rise of consumer facing policy aggregators – a new sales or distribution channel for insurers.

What these aggregators have done is added to the volume of activities and interests in InsurTech.

This has sparked a rejuvenation in the industry – to drive more conversations around applying technology to the arguably, traditional systems and processes that the industry has been built on.

We have also observed that these conversations are also arising organically, from people who are part of this system, as they now start to recognise the challenges they or the industry have been facing.

However, in our opinion, more can be done to focus on creating solutions to problems that intermediaries and insurers are facing. 

The aim should not be to disrupt for the sake of it… while ‘disruption’ is always a sexy term to use, we need to think back to the fundamentals of introducing new technology. 

Simply put, it should be leveraged, to deliver the proposition better. 

This means leveraging technology to support and supercharge an existing process – the process that has been built over many years, with multiple nuances involving complex human relationships, trust and empathy. 

Post-pandemic world

We have been asked a lot as well about what a post-pandemic world will look like. 

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to harass our daily lives, it is now more apt than ever to introduce such technology to supercharge processes.

While the industry has arguably weathered the storm of Covid-19 (although we are definitely not in the clear yet) there was a shock wave that hit all parties; truth be told, many were scrambling to manage the processes in the traditional way and realised how handicapped they were due to the lack of digitalisation. 

Here at Surer, we saw this first hand with one of our beta users.

This intermediary has an admin staff to help manage deal processing manually, offline, via spreadsheets saved locally on his laptop.

When the lockdown in Singapore hit, his admin staff, a Malaysian, was back in Malaysia on holiday and was there, while his laptop was in Singapore. 

This intermediary is now one of Surer’s most active users.

It is stories like that that leads us to believe that in a post-pandemic world, mindsets about technology will change (or have changed) – there will be less fear in leveraging it; an openness to adopt it and ultimately a world where the true value of parties in an insurance deal or case is in knowledge, advise and digital collaborations. 

Rudimentary processes will be left to automation and industry silos will be broken down.

In a post-pandemic world, the role of the intermediary should evolve from one that is less an ‘order taker’ to that of an advisor. 

When it comes to more complex products, for example, solutions for SMEs, we realised that the potential policyholder still needs a trusted advisor – a human, the intermediary, who can understand their business, and at the same time have the knowledge of the marketplace to match them with a suitable coverage. 

They want the safety in knowledge that when they have any questions, that someone they can trust is on standby to assist. This is especially true in the region.

Communication is not an issue – we have seen how teleconferencing delivers the same outcome as a face to face meeting (like our interview right now!)…

It is what is done, post-communication that will improve.

That is the space Surer seeks to supercharge these intermediaries in. 

A connected platform that automates processes and communication so a deal can be done with literally the click of a few buttons.

Challenges and opportunities

There are InsurTech companies – the aggregators like gobear or policypal – who have entered the scene and positioned themselves as a new distribution channel, going direct to the consumer. 

However, the problem and solution, specifically for the General or non-life insurance seems to be much more than that.

Reports in the US and Europe have shown that specifically for commercial lines in the General Insurance industry, over 70% of transactions still happen offline.

While there have been solutions built around highly commoditised insurance products; for example, short-term travel insurance, it is the complex ones and the parties involved that now need to be supercharged.

This, thus is the challenge and the opportunity at the same time.

Intermediaries are spending over 70% of their time on administrative processes. Only 9.9% of licensed General Insurance agents have fully utilised the 3 insurers they can represent.

Technology can free intermediaries of the time they spend on such tasks and also drive network collaborations – essentially, with Surer, we can create a world where the intermediaries are spending minutes, not days on such tasks. 

A world where actions do not have to be repeated. 

A world where scaling their business is not going to be a worry anymore.

What this does is then ensuring that policyholders have an intermediary who is even more focused as an adviser, and ultimately more deals that are closed for the Insurer, with even greater – a ‘triple-win’ situation via a connected platform like Surer.

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