AIA expects digital to make up 50% of sales by year-end
AIA Thailand expects insurance sales via digital channels to reach 50% by the end of this year, up from 40% at present, spurred by work from home and social distancing during the pandemic.
AIA chief executive Kris Chantanotoke said the challenge is to encourage agents to adopt digital tools.
"About 40% of our new policies were sold through iSign, an online digital platform that sells insurance without video and sound recording. However, these new policies were sold by about 20% of total agents. This means we have to encourage the remaining 80% to adopt digital sales channels," he said.
Mr Kris said the age of customers is not an obstacle in the adoption of online sales channels. The oldest customer who purchased insurance through the platform is 72 years old.
The pandemic affected sales through agent and bancassurance channels as customers avoid face-to-face meetings.
Meanwhile, the recruitment of new insurance agents has been postponed as testing centres are closed.
The issuance of new agents' licence codes is also likely to drop in the first half of the year. The company has to provide training for online sales channels to existing agents and online exam preparation for new agents, a number that is growing quickly, Mr Kris said.
He said the outbreak has boosted demand for health protection, leading to the company's growth in Thailand. In the first quarter, AIA Thailand's performance ranked second in the region, following its counterpart in China.
Future challenges for assurance businesses include integrating digital tools with every product and service, creating a strong ecosystem and partnership to create seamless digital services, and becoming a "proposition provider", not only a service provider, said Mr Kris.
The company is developing an application called Alive to provide telemedicine or online medical advisory services to the public. Another app called Service serves existing customers who want to pay insurance premiums, download relevant documents, update policy information, or switch funds online.
He said in the second half of the year, the company plans to focus on technology as well as data and artificial intelligence investment, which is considered key for the company's future and its strategy to maintain a leading position in the industry.