Practitioners and experts in the insurance sector called for an industry-wide promotion of customer-centric family insurance accounts, which would drive insurers to dig further into the value of existing customers based on data analytics.
This would provide families with comprehensive insurance protection and other services in different aspects of their life.
The insurers exploring family accounts will be able to build a family risk assessment model based on the acquisition and analysis of the crucial data from each family.
Those analytics include factors such as the number of family members, the average age, health awareness, and the level of family income. The companies can then offer a portfolio of insurance products, which would cater to the specific needs of each family, said a report jointly issued by PwC and Hengqin Life Insurance Co Ltd in Beijing on Thursday.
The portfolios recommended to families are selected from a wide range of insurance products offered by various insurance companies. If they do not satisfy the needs of a particular family, insurers will then step forward to offer them personalized products, said Huang Zhiwei, co-president of Hengqin Life Insurance.
Using intelligent technology solutions that can track family data, insurers will follow the changes in the composition, financial condition and health status of each family, to conduct almost real-time assessments of the level of risk for the family and provide dynamic insurance services based on any changes to their profiles.
"In the past, insurance companies stressed new customer acquisition, rather than focusing on into their existing customers. Many companies did not have the patience to cultivate long-term customer relationships," said Jimi Zhou, PwC China financial services consulting partner.
"Nowadays, however, the insurance industry faces weak growth of business and the customer acquisition cost keeps rising. As a result, how to create greater commercial value at lower costs by mining the value of existing customers has become a major issue for all insurers in China," Zhou added.
Given the waning trend in China's demographic dividend and intensified competition for customers, promoting family accounts will help insurers realize their commercial value, he said.
Apart from offering insurance coverage for families, the insurers planning to develop family accounts will also build a platform in providing such services as healthcare, parenting and elderly care through cooperation with external institutions.
The idea behind family accounts is to undertake a transition from a product-centric to a customer-centric service model. Such a change in business philosophy is not easy for insurance companies as it requires them to make changes in many areas such as customer profiling, product development and operating procedures, the report said.
Hengqin Life Insurance began using iHome, a smart family insurance marketing instrument, on June 28. With the adoption of big data and artificial intelligence, the instrument conducted comprehensive assessments on family risks from a variety of factors based on their household information and the insurance policies already purchased by family members.
Product recommendations were then put forth by insurers. As of Sept 19, the Zhuhai-based life insurer's family accounts had increased by 80,000.
The shift would also allow intergenerational transfers of insurance benefits among immediate family members, as well as non-lineal relatives, said Jiang Chongguang, executive vice-president of the China Insurance Innovation Institute at the University of International Business and Economics.
Jiang is now looking forward to the evolution of insurance companies into household risk and data managers over the next few years.