UAE’s insurance sector hastens digitalization amid COVID-19

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
InsurTech
Representational Image

The insurTech sector is all set to boom following the disruption brought in by startups and the aggressive adoption of technologies by traditional insurers. The outbreak of pandemic has accelerated insurance digitalization to meet customer demand, according to World InsurTech Report 2020. 

The report which draws on research insights from the traditional insurance and InsurTech firms shows that around 67 percent of insurers want to collaborate with insurTechs. And 85 percent of insurTechs want to partner with technology providers. More than 60 percent of insurers and insurTechs are looking forward to partner with big tech firms.

According to the CEO of UAE-based car insurance firm hala, Walid Daniel Dib, “COVID-19 was a wake-up call for incumbent insurers in the UAE, who now have no choice but to build the bridges needed for digital customer acquisition. Long gone are the days of physically visiting an insurance company’s branch to get insured.”

Sridhar Subbaraman, founder and owner of insureatoasis.com, a Dubai-based online insurance provider believes insurTech can hasten the digital journey rather than reinventing the whole wheel again, added to this mix is the aggressive insurTech industry from Israel looking to collaborate.

“2021 will see almost the entire industry adopting insurTech, all retail insurance both life and non-life products will go digital. Most importantly insurance will be more embedded across various industries. Data collection will play a big role and will be leading the way industry shapes up in the coming years. An area that needs to be focused next is the service aspect which is the backbone of the industry,” Mr. Subbaraman added.

Last day, Abu Dhabi-based AXA Green Crescent Insurance Company (GCIC) formed a partnership with Policybazaar, one of the Middle East’s leading insurance comparison platforms, to enable UAE customers to buy a comprehensive term life insurance plan directly via Policybazaar’s aggregator portal. 

The first product available through the Policybazaar platform is Life Protect, an innovative solution that targets to motivate customers to protect themselves and their family from financial hardships that they might face in the event of death or illness. 

Other protection products to be launched in the first half of 2021 includes Simple Life which is a yearly term life product and Hospital Cash which provides a cash payment and medical reimbursement in the event of hospitalization.

Neeraj Gupta
Neeraj Gupta
CEO
Policybazaar – UAE

“At Policybazaar, our ethos has always been to bring more consumer-focused products on the platform. Since the beginning of this year, we have seen a significant increase in demand for term insurance. The current pandemic is forcing a change in the consumer attitude towards pure protection insurance plans. This is a positive development that will increase pure term life insurance penetration in the UAE, which currently stands at around 0.7 percent.”

Similarly, the gulf region arm of global insurance provider MetLife partnered with Munich Re Automation Solutions to support digital transformation in the region. The agreement will implement the ‘Allfinanz’ feature to allow life insurance brokers, agents and Bancassurance partners to offer a more organized service to their customers in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Oman.

Commenting on the partnership Paul Donnelly, executive vice-president EMEA at Munich Re Automation Solutions, stated, “The shift from paper-based processes to digital is the way forward globally and our partnership with MetLife will cement our position as a key proponent for this. ALLFINANZ will provide intermediaries with capabilities to have one-and-done conversations with customers instead of multiple forms and questionnaires, allowing them to work swiftly and respect their customers’ time.”

The wider financial services industry is evolving and progressively shifting from paper to digitized processes. Munich Re Automation Solutions’ provision of its digital underwriting software further reaffirms this evolution within the insurance industry, as customer-centricity becomes increasingly essential for life insurance companies.

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