Better together: how Singtel and Great Eastern are coping with Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital interfaces by customers, allowing two of Singapore's most well-known brands telco Singtel and insurer Great Eastern coming together to form a partnership as a way to make insurance an accessible and value-added offering to consumers.

In a conversation with The Drum, Ryan Cheong, managing director for digital for business at Great Eastern, points out Singtel is a trusted telco brand, while Great Eastern is an established insurance company in the region for 112 years.

“There are several synergies in what we seek in a partnership - operating with a digital mindset, the willingness to experiment for innovation, and being data-driven, agile and responsive in responding to market opportunities with customers first in mind,” Cheong explains.

“With the evolving market landscape and the rise of a digitally connected generation, brand partnerships will be more important as avenues to grow our businesses and to elevate customer experience to offer personalised and innovative offerings to customers on new and existing platforms. This is how we see the new future for insurance. We have steadfastly pursued a digital affinity partnership strategy and built complementary relationships with future-proofing in mind.”

He continues: “Ultimately, we believe that a wider distribution ecosystem will benefit both partners and our customers as we can make insurance available through new distribution channels and augment existing offerings to our customer bases by reaching out to them through platforms they are already familiar with.”

The partnership will see both brands jointly launching general insurance products spanning home, motor and travel to serve Singtel’s mobile and broadband subscriber base of more than 60% of all households in Singapore.

One of these products is the Singtel Home Protect, a home insurance first that provides coverage for both telco bills and home contents. It bundles both home contents and broadband as home owners typically sign up for or re-contract their broadband services when they shift or renovate their homes.

This is not the first time both brands are partnering each other. In 2019, Great Eastern worked with Singtel to offer GREAT Getaway Cover (travel insurance) for new and existing Singtel Dash members to provide insurance solutions to new consumer segments taking reference from their increasingly digital lifestyles.

Elvin Too, vice president for consumer digital at Singtel says the telco is always on the lookout for new ways to enrich its customers’ digital lifestyles. He explains brand partnerships with the likes of Great Eastern go a long way in allowing to innovate and expand the services that Singtel to provide new experiences to its customers’ daily lives.

“Covid-19 and the ensuing safe distancing and stay home norms have also given new importance to this approach, as our reliance on technology and these digital services to stay connected have increased. We definitely see an opportunity to excite our customers with more digital lifestyle products and services beyond just traditional connectivity,” he says to The Drum.

“Through our engagements with customers, we recognised the lack of insurance offerings in the market that address consumers' digital needs. We're pleased to partner with Great Eastern to co-create customised insurance products with telco-centric benefits and enable our customers’ digital lives with more innovative offerings.”

He adds: “This collaboration draws on both of our strengths – Great Eastern’s expertise in general insurance and Singtel’s complementary lifestyle services combined with insights from our customer base.”

The new normal in Covid-19 has seen customers want more convenience, value and a seamless experience, especially with their growing reliance on tech since the shift to work and study from home. Many have also made home improvements such as acquiring new devices or boosting their entertainment systems in order to create a more conducive environment.

That means brands like Singtel and Great Eastern can join forces to better meet these customer needs by enhancing traditional insurance with telco products that speak to customers’ digital lifestyles and make it easier for them to discover and purchase these products online.