The insurance industry has lived through many global pandemics through the years, such as the Spanish Flu in 1918 and the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Because of this, there are expectations that the industry—and the world as a whole—has already prepared for and can respond properly to a new disease before it spreads. Unfortunately, the novel coronavirus has caught everyone off guard.
The unexpected heath crisis
The scope and gravity of the COVID-19 outbreak are unprecedented. In fact, the situation that the world is in today is widely recognised as the largest insurance challenge for the industry as well as the most expensive event in history.
To contain the disease, domestic and international travels were stopped, physical business operations had to be closed down, millions of people lost their jobs, and the economy as a whole became bleak. During this period of financial difficulties, people were also seen asking for support from insurance organisations.
Massive pressure and responsibility then fell on the world’s richest and most powerful nations and their healthcare systems, which are significant players in this battle against the disease.
While insurance organisations have undertaken various steps and utilised their resources to address this crisis, it’s essential to remember that its impact on the economy, societies, and governments are likely to be long-lasting and far-reaching. We may be able to put an end to the disease soon, but we will then have to face another challenge: picking up the pieces and building the economy back.
How digital innovation is revitalising the insurance industry
Digital innovation in the insurance space is now inevitable. To keep up with the new normal and adapt to the limitations of today, digital payment programs and channels are being launched by banks in many countries. Governments have also expressed their support to boost the digital adoption of payments through their schemes.
Moreover, as we are still advised to stay at home and follow home quarantine measures, digital engagement, digital payment mechanisms, and digitised delivery in the industry have also been on the rise. With all of these operations and functions taking on a more electronic approach, the number of customers shifting from physical to digital is expected to rise significantly.
Virtual engagement models are also gaining popularity these days caused by the change in people’s social and behaviour patterns amidst the outbreak. In the past months, workers have been forced to work from their own homes, which will naturally increase the demand for cybersecurity and data protection. Consequently, this will give non-life insurance companies the chance to expand their product offerings despite the present economic difficulties in all parts of the world.
While remote working options are strategic during this time, work-from-home protocols must be secured to ensure that the data is secure and that the operations will continue. Lastly, digital onboarding and underwriting, as well as remote sensing and drone technologies, are also expected to increase.
Although we have a global health crisis that no organisation or government has imagined or prepared for, it is a chance to bring together societies and governments to rise to the challenge and collaborate for the common good. After the pandemic is over, however, businesses must be quick to get back on their feet to resume operations and bounce back.
The insurance industry seems to have started on the right note with several digital innovations already underway. Yet, insurance companies and leaders must continue to find multi-dimensional strategies to help both their staff and their clients get through this critical time.
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