Asian insurers seek opportunities by enhancing digital capabilities

Life Insurance Company of the Year award for Asia went to AIA

Insurers in the region who executed their strategies amid challenging economic conditions and market volatility came out as winners in The Asset Triple A  Asset Servicing, Institutional Investor and Insurance Awards 2018. The insurance industry in many Asian markets, such as China and India, was fueled by economic expansion and income growth in 2017. Emerging Asian markets show strong potential in non-life premiums, as China's Belt and Road Initiative stimulates demand for commercial insurance.

Regulatory frameworks are constantly changing and political risks abound. Disruption from new technologies and the rise of millennials are challenges. Customers want innovative insurance products and cross-channel digital services are increasing. According to China's National Bureau of Statistics, the total of online retail transactions in China's insurance industry hit 5.16 trillion yuan (US$807 billion) in 2016. Insurers are boosting digital capabilities to create new products. In this context, The Asset announces the winners of the Insurance Awards 2018.

Life Insurance Company of the Year, Asia

The Life Insurance Company of the Year award for Asia went to AIA. The company covers 18 markets in the Asia-Pacific region, serves the holders of over 30 million individual policies and over 16 million members of group insurance schemes. Operating profits have posted solid growth across the region, thanks to its long-term growth orientation, sustainable competitiveness, aligned growth strategy, proven management team and consistent execution.

The company is using new technologies including artificial inteliigence (AI) and machine learning, and leveraging online platforms including its own mobile application, AIA Vitality, plus social media. In China, using WeChat (a social media platform) the time needed to sign up for a policy can be cut to 25 minutes from days. In Korea, the company offers an AI-enabled customer service. In Australia, the company attains over 99% accuracy on claims eligibility and a 40% reduction in turnaround times.

Malaysia

In Malaysia, the winner of General Insurance Company of the Year award was Etiqa Insurance and Takaful, and the winner of the Life Insurance Company of the Year award went to Prudential BSN Takaful.

In 2017, Etiqa enjoyed robust growth in online sales via its e-Channel. In 2017, the company's website remained the most visited insurance site of Malaysia and grew online sales by 1,000%, outperforming industry growth of 277%. With the diversified distribution channels, Etiqa has 3.9 million retail customers. The company has a programme called Etiqa Cares showcasing its commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Prudential BSN Takaful retained its position as the number one family Takaful operator in Malaysia with 31% market share as of December 2017, per Insurance Services Malaysia. In November 2017, PruBSN introduced a new plan called PruBSN Anugerah, the first in the market to offer a comprehensive entry-level life protection plan with rider options for medical and critical illness coverage.

Taiwan

BNP Paribas Cardif TCB Life Insurance won the Life Insurance Company of the Year award for Taiwan. Committed to long-term development, it has maintained steady growth in assets under custody (AUC) since 2011 and mainly invests in fixed income assets. It plans to develop niche markets such as unit-linked and credit insurance products. The company has folded environmental, social and governance (ESG) into its investment strategy and internal corporate governance.

Thailand

The Life Insurance Company of the Year award for Thailand went to Krungthai-AXA Life Insurance (KTAXA). Following the market trend of moving from saving products towards unit-linked business and annuity products, the company remains a key player in Thailand by total assets. An innovator in Thailand, the company has an exclusive partnership with LINE Pay, a payment platform via social media, enabling LINE users to buy KTAXA's products using LINE.

MPF Provider

The MPF Provider of the Year award for Hong Kong went to Manulife. As one of the first financial institutions with pension management business in Hong Kong dating back to 1936, the company serves about 1.4 million MPF customers (end 2017). Manulife had a 22.5% market share in 2017, with its MPF assets under management (AUM) exceeding HK$189.6 billion (US$24.17 billion). The company's mobile application, the MPF/Pension Mobile App, was enhanced in 2017 to provide fingerprint login.

For a complete list of winners, please click here