Written by Christopher Khoo Teng Soo on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)
With the growth of digitalization and enhance usage of fintech in our daily life, such instances also involved the introduction of digital insurance technology (insurtech). The insurance ecosystem in Malaysia has always been dominated and overshadowed by agency model and local agent-centric insurance landscape. As such, such consequence contributed to the lacked in innovation and modernisation but nevertheless, the insurance industry is shifting rapidly, with 2021 and 2022 witnessing some of the biggest shifts in recent years accelerated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
As it is overshadowed by agency model and local agent-centric, sales and marketing are therefore overseen by each individual agency while underwriting and claims processing are managed by insurance company themselves where such practices are highly inefficient and bound to be replaced by A.I, big data, and machine learning technology. In time to come, insurance premiums could be appraised based on big data and predictive analytics while sales and marketing are bound to be replaced by interactive aggregators platforms. As the present Covid-19 impacts daily activities, physical distancing and other quarantine measures have altered activities previously considered critical to have in person to digital and remote channels which affect insurance distribution.
As the world circumnavigated the pandemic, particularly in health and safety, more people are questioning about life and health insurance protection while demanding better personalized digital solutions. The digitalisation trend that has been progressively expanding ground in the centuries-old insurance industry also triggered incumbent insurers to work more closely with insurance technology (insurtech) start-ups.
Malaysia insurtech ecosystem focuses on underwriting, predictive analytics, insurance carriers and peer-to-peer which provides great opportunity for start-up to venture into the ecosystem and the government had made efforts to push innovative bounds within the fintech industry with the introduction of various digital initiative.
Additional difficulty which arises include the slow and lagging rate of technology adoption and implementation in the insurance processing and management steps. The soaring cost associated with insurance policy concurrently contributed to the arising difficulties as Malaysia total population comprises majority bottom 40 (B40) group and middle 40 (M40).
Insurance company in Malaysia are expected take measures to deal with impacts of Covid-19 shifting employees to remote setup and developing online customer service channels. Currently, insurers are focused on the next set of challenges, including how to reconceptualize distribution in a more remote world while technology, in the form of automation and personalisation, subjugated the insurance landscape, encouraging insurtech players to further diversify their products and services, and compelling incumbent insurance companies to adapt to technological advancements.
These companies in Malaysia were persuaded and encourage to work with insurtech companies as there were clear prospects to drive collaborations as well as more revenue channels. This has inadvertently and unintentionally created up more opportunities for insurtech players to collaborate simultaneously to co-create and develop products.
Digitalisation and personalization the way forward
In the current digital age environment, insurance companies in Malaysia are seeing a consumer shift towards easy-to-use and convenient interactive digital platforms which is further accelerated by the pandemic that forces companies in adapting such measure. Concurrently, with the rise of personalization and customization, policy holders in Malaysia are expecting companies to offer various needs and demands.
Digitalisation enables the removal of obstacles of time and space, spurred by the pandemic and doing so helps increases higher engagement. Which in turn increase convenient and efficient that makes the process seamless and secure. Instantaneously, introduction of new services such as telemedicine services, Pay-per-use, and bite-sized insurance (microinsurance)
Due to lower cost in infrastructure and cloud implementation in Malaysia, connecting to the cloud-based external ecosystem becomes simpler guided by artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), highly customizable and personalized solution can be tailor suit to individual policy holder.
Moving forward, Malaysia’s insurtech ecosystem could be foster to greater heights based on the improvement of digital banking services for the underserved, better emphasis on financial inclusivity for the B40 community, more cloud-based solutions, improved collaboration between insurtech and incumbents and progress of digital insurance licenses