For insurers like Singapore-based Great Eastern Life (Great Eastern), it has seen Covid-19 heighten public awareness of the need for adequate insurance protection for the possible unforeseen circumstances.
Great Eastern has also seen the pandemic situation accelerate the speed of digital adoption to complement a traditional face-to-face business, Colin Chan, managing director, group marketing at Great Eastern tells The Drum.
He believes that in the ‘new future’, Great Eastern’s financial representatives will increasingly engage their customers via digital channels as more of its customers are purchasing insurance products online or through remote channels, especially for simpler and shorter-term products.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been continuously reviewing our existing products to see what will work best for our customers to provide them with greater assurance and peace of mind during these difficult times,” explains Chan.
“With consumers as our topmost priority, we have continued consistent engagement with them throughout these last few months via digital initiatives to deliver simple and effective financial advice, provide quality customer service and relevant propositions. This has translated into our recent initiatives.”
He adds: “It is key that organisations, regardless of the industry, reorient their mindsets in this new future. Marketing has long been much about pushing a brand in front of as many people as possible. Rather, it is all about engaging with the consumer with insightful and relevant messages at the right place and right time on the relevant channels. Within the insurance industry, a traditionally conventional one, we are one of the first to recognise that and shape our interactions with customers around accordingly - and that has resonated well.”
Insurance marketing in the Covid-19 era
In its recent campaign, the second instalment of its #Lifeproof campaign, Great Eastern reiterated its central brand promise as 'The Life Company' and its vision to empower customers to stand ready for all of life’s uncertainties.
Based on the central theme of poignant and really personal questions that people seek on Internet searches, its brand films reinforce the belief that “Life’s questions do not define us. Our answers do”, through examples of life’s many concerns and uncertainties faced by people in different stages of life.
This is a nod to a greater demand Great Eastern is receiving from customers for more personalised and targeted insurance products relevant to the current concerns of consumers, such as personal accident and medical plans to cover infectious diseases such as Covid-19 and dengue.
The campaign also recognised the significant impact of the pandemic on Singapore’s economy and businesses, which has highlighted the increasing challenges and uncertainties faced by self-employed, freelancers and gig-economy workers. While most businesses and activities have resumed in the second phase of Singapore’s reopening, it will likely still be an uphill task for many gig economy workers to regain their pre-pandemic income.
Without the support of employee benefits or corporate insurance coverage, the situation is even more challenging if these individuals are hospitalised due to an injury or illness and their daily income is curtailed.
“To address the needs of this particular group, we collaborated with telehealth provider Doctor Anywhere to provide an affordable insurance product – Great Comprehensive Care – to meet the protection needs of gig economy workers in Singapore,” Chan explains.
“We are offering an additional retrenchment benefit to customers who purchase regular premium investment-linked plans. Customers will receive a complimentary Retrenchment Premium Waiver benefit up to 12 months if they are retrenched during the first two years of their policy. This is to help keep customers’ policies going, while helping them free up expenses for other more immediate needs, at the same time enabling them to invest for the longer term.”
“Additionally, in view of the rising dengue cases in Singapore, customers who purchase selected regular premium life, personal accident and health insurance plans will receive complimentary 12-month Dengue Care.”
The post-pandemic insurance industry
Pandemic or not, it has not changed Great Eastern’s brand purpose as the ‘Life Company’ and its overall ethos to ‘Lifeproof’ it customers and communities around the company, says Chan, pointing out that since February, customers have been able to purchase personal accident plans on its website.
For the more complex insurance plans, Great Eastern customers can engage with their financial representatives on video conference calls, ensured that customers are still able to secure protection solutions virtually and have their queries answered in a timely and responsive manner, while not losing the all-important human connection.
“The company saw the need to go digital some years back as a strategic imperative, as the insurance industry has evolved. This has been further amplified during the pandemic as all businesses are finding that they have to pivot towards digital interactions. Even before the circuit breaker or social distancing measures were in place, we had already started using virtual/remote channels to minimise face-to-face interaction yet continue consistent customer engagement,” explains Chan.
“Our digital initiatives have enabled us to respond promptly to the challenges brought about by COVID-19 and ensure that financial representatives are well equipped to support customers. Through education and ongoing customer engagement, we continue to design products and services that will be relevant to customers’ needs and provide them convenient and seamless access to these products and services. We continue to ensure quality service to our customers, through multiple touchpoints and digital platforms.”