How the insurance industry has leveraged technology and other trends for growth – Gulf Business

Wilson Varghese, GM and head of operations, Zurich insurance

How has the insurance business performed across the board since the particular pandemic and post-pandemic? Are people now more aware of the importance of purchasing a critical illness protection plan and/or life insurance to safeguard a person’s financial future in the case of an emergency?
The pandemic has transformed the particular insurance market with differing impact on the general insurance and existence insurance segments. Within life insurance, Covid-19 was the second highest cause for life cover claims in the past year, highlighting another area where the pandemic affected the community. The pandemic also brought into sharp focus the particular importance associated with our health plus immunity, and the need for us to make prudent lifestyle choices plus investments to help reduce preventable health risks. Consumer interest in critical sickness insurance solutions could potentially be derived from this place of awareness but there is no hard data confirming it.

However, there is a direct correlation between financial preparedness and health risks. Drawing from the YouGov ‘Critical Illness Survey’ that we had commissioned earlier this 12 months, we are able to understand in quite some detail how people would cope financially if faced with a severe illness. More than six out associated with 10 respondents were very or extremely worried about falling victim to a serious illness in the future. That is not a very positive trend given that each individual is talking about their own health here, which you would expect them to be quite conscious of. More than half of the respondents believed they might only be able in order to manage financially for up to three months in case faced along with a serious disease, again this is their response to their own financial circumstances.

How will be the insurance sector leveraging technology both in terms of operations as well as customer service?
With the aim of anticipating and meeting client needs, the strong driver in our customer service success story offers been the particular adoption associated with human-centered design powering our own technology options for customers and partners.

Putting the customer at the heart of the design, we have fully enabled an end-to-end digital advice journey, digital onboarding process plus an omni-channel solution in order to managing their own policy changes online through their mobile or connected devices. For instance, all of us introduced tele-underwriting for mortgage protection policies and a digital solution that underwrites almost half of our new business portfolio. This provides clients with the seamless, engaging and intuitive journey that is also sustainable. Technology is furthermore being leveraged in the flow of information among our companions, providers and even the particular regulator.

What are some of the key health trends (telemedicine, increase in preference for holistic medicine, etc . ) that have impacted the industry within the UAE?
Technology adoption skyrocketed during the pandemic, delivering not just new models of work, but also changing how we consume information. This particular also extends to healthcare information. Concepts such as telemedicine that were a novelty pre-pandemic have now become a norm.

Digital transformation throughout industries provides resulted in more information-seeking customers and higher expectations of service. People today are usually increasingly conscious that they can gain more control of their health and well-being, the earlier they take action.   We are seeing more clients keen on improving their quality of lifestyle and preventing the onset of way of life diseases.

How do you see the insurance coverage industry in the UAE evolving in the particular coming years particularly with regulations getting more stringent?
The latest developments and initiatives by the government and policymakers are concrete steps towards improving the business potential and overall quality associated with life for the community. For example , businesses within the UAE are today attracting the world’s best talent due to the brand new visa measures.

Other steps such as the end-of-service benefits scheme and unemployment benefits with regard to expats will definitely keep the particular talent right here for the long-term, also supporting industries such as the insurance policy sector.   As the particular market landscape evolves plus new regulation and initiatives are introduced, my belief is that modifications will be based upon active dialogue and data with the aim to benefit the community which in turn will expand the market as trust and confidence increase.

Where do you see the challenges and opportunities in the critical insurance plan and life insurance coverage, critical illness and insurance coverage policies within the UAE?
There continues in order to be challenges when it comes to awareness plus education.   There is a clear distinction in between medical insurance and critical sickness protection offered by living insurers, yet community-wide awareness of associated benefits needs in order to increase. Commonly, people think that if they have medical insurance then they don’t need critical illness protection – when in fact these people serve very different purposes.   With regard to example: Your medical insurance is often tied to your employment plus

At a good innovation level, there are continued opportunities in the insurance coverage industry to do more to educate, simplify our own offerings and to have empathetic and ‘human’ conversations along with customers.

Finally, there is usually more we all can do to improve the believe in people have within the industry in general. That’s why the annual advantages paid report is important; this serves to share info transparently on how many statements we pay, the quantum, claims payout service levels etc., so that people can act with confidence to protect themselves and their loved ones.

How has Zurich Insurance, particularly your own division, performed in 2021 and the Q1 2022?
The year 2021 was one of our strongest monetary years ever. Our achievement can largely be attributed to a clear customer focus, simplification, investment in digitisation and prudent risk management. In the region, we furthermore did exceedingly well, meeting our consumer satisfaction, employee experience plus financial targets for the year. This trend is continuing into 2022 so far.

Another example of our growing role is in our own work because the administrator from the DIFC Employee Workplace Savings (DEWS) scheme, helping reshape the particular employee benefits landscape regarding this country. Since July this yr, it has expanded to include the expatriate employees of Dubai government entities.

In terms of difficulties, the past two years have also been humbling and provided considerable insights plus learning experiences, allowing us to navigate a fast-evolving landscape and turn to innovation to identify new solutions and products to meet the customers’ developing needs.

Any new products that will you’ve launched?
Our Critical Illness Protection offering is a new product to this marketplace, one that was co-created by our community.   It does away with the need to also purchase life insurance as the mandatory benefit and meets the bespoke needs associated with people with no dependents or life cover needs, but accounts intended for those who perform need a safety net for an unforeseen crucial health problem that would impact their income and finances. Other direct-to-consumer products released recently includes YourLife that will is an instant life insurance policy solution without the need for a medical.   YourCare is a critical illness insurance plan solution on the same lines. Fully digitized, these products can be purchased online along with coverage starting from just Dhs3 per day, ensuring that essential illness safety and lifetime cover are usually more accessible than actually.

How is the insurance sector building trust and transparency among customers?
The most fundamental way to ensure trust is by honouring our own promise of protecting customers and themselves in important times plus paying promises while providing a great experience. Second, since insurers, we must also continue to simplify the offerings and elevate the customer experience.

Financial advisors play a critical role in helping clients identify their particular protection plus investment needs and providing them with the right advice and regular reviews. There’s a critical need for high quality and professional financial guidance to build trust.

Lastly, part of creating trust is definitely also self-reporting and providing insights that can ensure collaborative builds from other industry participants.   An example is our Customer Benefits Paid Report based on living and life cover advantages recently released in its seventh edition and live on our website.   With this particular report, we seek in order to raise awareness about the particular requirement for existence insurance and critical disease protection to ensure greater economic preparedness plus security.

From our experience associated with supporting a lot more than 230, 000 customers across the Middle East region and managing a cover of $58bn, we would like to believe that our reports are a barometer of providing an understanding of health problems faced from the community, supporting governments, healthcare providers as well as the wider population with rich and tangible insights.