Online Insurance - from kiosk to supermarket

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  • Sep 23, 2014

Along with the influential development of e-commerce, online purchase is becoming more and more familiar to many people, especially the young and white-collar workers. For the Vietnam insurance industry, in spite of fairly late entrance the online insurance transaction methods showed the high professionalism.

Among the non-life insurance companies who distribute insurance online, Insurance corporation under Bank for Investment and Development (BIC) and Liberty Vietnam are pioneers. Despite official deployment from the third quarter of 2011, up to now, these companies have set up a full process of selling products online - from customer information declaration, product selection, premium payment to insurance certificate issuance for customers. The implementation of electronic signature and certificate issuance via email is a major technological development step toward customer's buying process completion. Thus, each online purchasing website can now be considered as a real online kiosk of insurance company. This becomes a pretty popular trend in many countries in the Asia-Pacific region over the last few years. The products which are distributed through this channel are mainly retail products because of simple terms, premium as well simple underwriting and policy issuance such as car insurance, travel insurance, health insurance and home insurance...

However, revenues from new distribution channel currently account for a very tiny proportion in the structure of premium turnover of above – mentioned businesses. This partly because of limited popularization but other reason is that majority of customers are acquainted with insurance buying practices through agent channel which is not easy to change overnight. Furthermore, each insurance company designs tailor-made website so customers can only find out its product information and selection. In other words, online insurance kiosks can only provide a limited number of insurance products to consumers within their scope and ability. This blocks product comparison and option for customers.

 

Therefore, the introduction of "online insurance supermarkets" in order to meet the diverse needs of customers is essential. Instead of searching online insurance kiosks one by one to find out and compare product feature among companies, now just by a few clicks customers can go shopping in the space of the supermarket with a lot of insurance products of different insurers. Thus, if insurance kiosk is a major step for marketing process: from the face-to-face selling to online selling, the presence of online insurance supermarket will be helpful for customers.

However, online purchase function should be further improved so that customers can easily interact as well as enjoy after-sale customer care such as product updates, policy information management, claim submission etc ...

Vietnam has young population structure and increasing Internet users:  according to the Vietnam Internet Network Information Center, the number of Internet users by the end of June 2012 occupies 35.40% population. Against the backdrop of current fierce competition, opportunity is opening for insurers, insurance brokers, insurance agents continue to leverage power of internet to develop high potential online insurance distribution channel.

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