AIA wants Gen Y to think about life insurance


In a move to take on low customer engagement, AIA last week launched a science-backed wellness program, Vitality, in partnership with South African health insurer Discovery.

The venture uses technology to promote health and well being, and seeks to develop partnerships with service providers to give customers certain wellness benefits like gym memerships, discounts in wearable wristbands and fitness trackers, perhaps making the prospect of an investment in life-insurance more appealing to the younger generation.

According to Tim Tez, AIA’s Chief Marketing Officer in Australia, the program is the only commercially backed wellness program in the world, offering customers a range of lifestyle benefits through online and mobile.

The product includes a mobile application which encourages the user to track their health and fitness, and includes programmed encouragement when customer engagement drops off, as well as rewarding the user with points when health goals are reached.

Tez said Vitality is about changing the way people think with the biggest issue in the life insurance industry being low customer engagement. 
He said life insurance has a relevancy issue, which needs to be addressed by having emotive discussions with customers about getting healthier, with a doom and gloom tactic to be avoided.  

“The way to do that is through the integration of financial services behaviour change technology. We have got siloed systems as a country that do not talk to each other, and the great thing about Vitality is it brings together a lot of different things with six different log-ons into one place where people can track and have a holistic view of their health.”

Technology shift

The product, which had been piloted with AIA’s top 250 advisors is an unusual move for a life-insurance company, that typically offers benefits after death.

Tez added insurance providers will have to change tactic as technology advances, to keep the industry relevant, and technology will be the driver in human behaviour changes.

“Whether we like it or not, it is [about] human behaviour…and whether we like technology or not, we are going to have to deal with that as an industry, and it is better we do that in a positive way that encourages people to have better outcomes and we end up with a more sustainable industry.”

AIA is keeping a close watch on developments in the wearable technology space, including Google Glass and Samsung’s Smartwatch. AIA has already partnered with companies like Fitbit and Polar providing discounted rates and benefits to those who sign on for Vitality.

In Asia, AIA has continued this technology push with the roll-out of the iPos system, which allows agents to conduct business and sales through a tablet device, rather than filling in forms and hauling around large amounts of paperwork.

The iPos was initially rolled-out in Taiwan in 2011 with great success, and has been implemented in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, The Philippines and Hong Kong most recently. 

Sim Preston, AIA’s Group Chief Strategy and Operations Officer says insurance companies need to attract Gen Y agents in order to attract Gen Y customers.

“iPos is a key element for us to attract Gen Y agents as they are tech-savvy and enthusiastic about doing business on a tablet.”   

Preston highlighted consumer expectations, health and wellness, social behaviours, and mobile device adoption as trends in the industry which will require change.