LIFE INSURANCE NOW OFFERED ONLINE
Source: The Edge Online, 18 November 2013
Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) released its life insurance concept paper to promote a diversified delivery channel, such as online and walk-in, has been seen as something new, but it has to be pointed out that two local insurance firms already offer life insurance products online. A few months ago, Hong Leong Assurance (HLA) launched hlatouch.my, an online insurance platform to buy life insurance. This was the first online life insurance portal in Malaysia allowing customers to read and understand the benefits of the plan. Recently, AXA Affin Life Insurance launched the AXA 100 Cancer Care project, in collaboration with the National Cancer Society Malaysia. This marks the first and only online portal in Malaysia that allows people to sign up for a plan aiming to provide support and care for critical illness patients, especially patients diagnosed with cancer. The life insurance products offered online share a common trait — they are simple, straightforward, affordable and provide coverage up to 20 years. Customers can now purchase insurance without the hassle of a medical check-up and filling up forms. All they have to do is to register and get a quote, provide compulsory information, answer a few simple underwriting health questions and pay. It is not certain at this point if other big players such as Great Eastern, AIA, and Allianz will venture into offering life insurance online as well. Prior to the two launches, the online platform of insurance in Malaysia was limited to general insurance such as travel insurance and the like. However, for life insurance plans, where things may get complicated [in making claims], there will be “no one to service you if you were to buy online,” an insurance company manager commented. “Agents still have an important role to play with regards to life insurance policies,” added an official of an insurance company. It is understood that the Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) is obtaining feedback from the public, and will liaise with BNM on the findings. Consumers should educate themselves and understand what is best suited to them. In fact, in one of its initiatives for diversified distribution channels to widen outreach, BNM stated that this would enhance options available to consumers to access their life insurance and family takaful needs in a way most convenient to them and promote healthy competition in the market.