Insurance - - INDUSTRY UPDATES -

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 hla­, 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.

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