Global Insurance Awards 2019

With a number of unprecedented opportunities and challenges sweeping the insurance sector, innovation is the order of the day. If they are open to change, companies within the industry will thrive in this environment


The global insurance sector is undergoing an exciting transformation. This largely traditional industry, which can trace its roots back to the merchant traders of ancient Babylon, has firmly entered the digital age. Over the past two decades, technology has redefined the insurance landscape, opening companies up to new opportunities and challenges.

Digitally savvy consumers have grown to expect on-demand, personalised services from their insurance providers, with smartphones radically transforming the customer service experience. In addition to managing these evolving expectations, traditional insurance companies must now compete with the emergence of highly digitalised ‘insurtech’ firms. Another by-product of the technological revolution, these nimble start-ups put cutting-edge innovation, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT), at the heart of their operations, generating significant investor interest and expanding into spaces previously held only by established insurance behemoths.

To deal with shifting customer expectations and an increasingly competitive market, many insurance providers are branching out of risk-based products and have begun to focus on developing a wide range of non-insurance services to supplement their current offerings. While the insurance industry has historically provided protective products to help clients when things go wrong, the sector’s future may well lie in preventative services that enable customers to identify and avoid risks before they happen.

As these new challenges and changes sweep through the industry, insurance providers must adapt accordingly. The winners of this year’s World Finance Global Insurance Awards have shown that they are innovative, resilient and forward-thinking enough to successfully navigate the testing times ahead.

Tech-enabled services are allowing established insurers to explore new income streams and diversify their services away from the traditional, protective products of the past

Data is power
Technology underpins many of the trends affecting the insurance industry. Digital innovation has enabled insurance companies to not only better serve their customers, but to better understand them, too. The advent of the IoT and AI has given companies access to incredible amounts of useful data, helping them create a better picture of who their customers are and what products will best suit their lifestyles. By analysing records from telematics – devices that collect data from cars – and wearable technologies such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, insurers can create a profile of their customers based on their habits and behaviour, offering them usage-based policies and personalised products that are tailored to their needs.

Of course, it is understandable that insurance providers might feel wary of carrying out such large-scale data collection. Insurance companies must comply with data protection regulations and guidelines or risk hefty fines, as well as a loss of consumer trust and support. But for the companies that successfully tap into big data and analytics – all while adhering to regulations – these new technologies open up a wealth of lucrative possibilities.

Indeed, personalised products are something of a win-win solution for customers and insurers. Customers can enjoy reduced premiums as a result of the data they share, with black box telematics devices being a prime example of this trend. These smart devices can measure a number of factors when driving, such as braking, speed and acceleration, creating a driving profile for whoever is sitting behind the wheel. Sensible drivers could, therefore, be rewarded with lower premiums, which might prove particularly appealing to younger motorists who often face high insurance bills. Meanwhile, the insurance companies behind these data-driven policies can enjoy improved customer satisfaction, while also benefitting from more accurate risk assessment.

New technology is rapidly transforming the insurance sector, meaning established firms need to keep up with the rate of change if they wish to stay profitable in the years to come. This is especially true given the growth of insurtech companies, which are steadily eating into the market share held by traditional insurers. The successful adoption of new technology is undoubtedly the key to future success in the insurance sector, and if firms cannot effectively exploit systems such as AI and the IoT, they risk being left behind.

A relationship for life
As technology continues to redefine customer expectations, it seems that traditional insurance products aren’t enough to attract new clients and retain existing ones. Instead, the future could well see non-insurance services and add-ons, which focus on prevention rather than protection, become the frontrunners.

This shift away from insurance products might seem like an unusual step for insurers to take, but it could yield significant rewards for those bold enough to branch out. According to research carried out by Deloitte, 45 percent of consumers believe that the offering of non-insurance products is the most important factor when choosing an insurer. Insurers have been quick to respond to this burgeoning interest in non-insurance services, and the same study shows that almost a quarter of premium volumes now come from products and services that didn’t exist five years ago.

The majority of these services are technology-driven and help alert customers to potentially risky scenarios that might lead to an insurance claim. When it comes to home protection, for example, some firms now offer to install leak detection kits in their customers’ homes. Some health insurers, meanwhile, have begun to provide customers with personalised exercise and dietary advice. UK-based health insurance firm Vitality has taken things one step further, offering an array of awards to customers who opt-in to wearing a fitness tracker.

These new, tech-enabled services are allowing established insurers to explore new income streams and diversify their services away from the traditional, protective products of the past. By building up these value-added products, insurers can move away from simply being there for customers when something goes wrong. Instead, preventative services allow insurers to have a more active and ongoing conversation with their clients, creating a relationship for life.

Human touch
Even as the insurance sector embraces new technology and digital innovation, it is important to remember the role that good customer service plays at any leading firm. According to Deloitte, 57 percent of insurers believe that access to friendly and knowledgeable staff members is the most effective way to maintain customer loyalty.

Customers are increasingly choosing to communicate with their insurance providers online, and these virtual interactions must be as successful as any that happen over the phone. In today’s digital world, clients expect around-the-clock customer care as standard, and are demanding transparency, speed and efficiency in their interactions with insurance providers – right down to their communications with company chatbots on social media. With consumers expecting rapid responses and personalised care, insurance firms must ensure that customer service remains a priority. We might be entering a digital future, but insurers can’t afford to lose their human touch.

Against this backdrop of rapid transformation, some firms have emerged as clear industry leaders. The World Finance Global Insurance Awards 2019 celebrate the industry’s most innovative players, shining a light on the insurers that are helping to drive the sector forward.

World Finance Global Insurance Awards 2019

General – MetLife
Life – MetLife

General – IAG
Life – Zurich Australia

General – UNIQA Group
Life – Vienna Insurance Group

General – Gulf Union Insurance
Life – Bahrain National Life Assurance

General – Nitol Insurance
Life – Popular Life Insurance Company

General – Ethias
Life – Baloise

General – Allianz Brazil
Life – Brasilprev

General – Armeec Insurance
Life – UNIQA Life Insurance

General – RBC Insurance
Life – Canada Life

General – Guardian Group
Life – ScotiaLife Financial

General – ACE Seguros de Vida
Life – SURA

General – China Pacific Insurance
Life – Ping An Life Insurance

General – Liberty Seguros
Life – Seguros Bolívar

Costa Rica
General – ASSA Compañía de Seguros
Life – ADISA

General – General Insurance of Cyprus
Life – Eurolife

Czech Republic
General – Komercˇní banka
Life – Allianz pojišt’ovna

General – Tryg
Life – Danica Pension

General – Allianz Egypt
Life – Allianz Egypt

General – Fennia Mutual Insurance
Life – Fennia Life

General – Covéa Insurance
Life – SCOR

General – Aldagi
Life – Aldagi

General – Ethniki Hellenic General Insurance
Life – NN Hellas

Hong Kong
General – China Taiping Insurance
Life – Habib Bank Zurich (Hong Kong)

General – Allianz Hungária
Life – Magyar Posta Életbiztosítás

General – ICICI Lombard
Life – Max Life Insurance

General – Asuransi Jasa Indonesia
Life – Asuransi Jiwasraya

General – Harel Insurance
Life – Clal Insurance

General – UnipolSai
Life – Poste Vita

General – Middle East Insurance Company
Life – Arab Orient Insurance Company

General – Nomad Insurance
Life – Kazkommerts-Life

General – CIC Insurance Group
Life – Britam

General – Kuwait Insurance
Life – Al Ahleia Insurance

General – AXA Middle East
Life – Bancassurance

General – AXA Luxembourg
Life – Swiss Life

General – Etiqa
Life – Hong Leong Assurance Berhad

General – GasanMamo Insurance
Life – HSBC Life Assurance Malta

General – GNP
Life – Seguros Monterrey New York Life

General – ABN AMRO
Life – ING Netherlands

New Zealand
General – Tower Insurance
Life – Asteron Life

General – Zenith Insurance
Life – FBNInsurance

General – Tryg
Life – Nordea Liv

General – Oman United Insurance
Life – Dhofar Insurance

General – Adamjee Insurance
Life – EFU Life

General – ASSA Compañía de Seguros
Life – Pan-American Life Insurance Group

General – RIMAC Seguros

General – Standard Insurance
Life – BPI-Philam Life Assurance

General – UNIQA Group
Life – MetLife

General – Allianz Seguros
Life – Grupo Ageas Portugal

General – Qatar General Insurance
Life – Q Life and Medical Insurance

General – ERGO Group
Life – Allianz-Tiriac

General – AlfaStrakhovanie
Life – Renaissance Zhizn Insurance

Saudi Arabia
General – Al Rajhi Takaful

General – Generali Osiguranje
Life – Generali Osiguranje

General – AIA Singapore
Life – AIA Singapore

South Korea
General – Samsung Life
Life – Hanwha Life Insurance

General – BBVA Seguros
Life – Seguros RGA

Sri Lanka
General – HNB General Insurance
Life – Ceylinco Life Insurance

General – Trygg-Hansa
Life – Folksam

General – Helvetia
Life – Swiss Life

General – Cathay Century Insurance
Life – Fubon Life Insurance

General – The Viriyah Insurance
Life – Thai Life Insurance

General – Zurich Sigorta
Life – Anadolu Hayat Emeklilik

General – ADNIC
Life – ADNIC

General – AXA UK
Life – Legal & General

General – Progressive
Life – Lincoln Financial Group

General – Uzagrosugurta
Life – O’zbekinvest Hayot

General – PVI
Life – Fubon Life