5 Lessons from Insurance Companies: Dealing w/ a Public Health Crisis

May 1, 2021 9:58:00 PM

No one could have predicted the impact of a public health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic on the business sector. But one interesting case to survey is that of the insurance industry.  While some market segments within this sector—like the travel insurance market—have experienced a drastic decrease in customer enrollment, other markets have been busier than ever, thanks to the need to address a new wave of customer interest in products like health insurance and variable universal life insurance policies.

Insurance is an industry that deals with financial risks and rewards, and customers rely on successful insurance coverage to vastly improve their quality of life or the way they’re able to manage risks. That holds true especially in difficult times like these. Therefore, insurance companies based in the Philippines have quite the challenge to live up to. Luckily, many of the industry’s most well-known players have stepped up to the plate and adjusted their business models for the times. 

It would be good for fellow business practitioners, even from other fields, to learn the lessons that their contemporaries in the insurance world have. Here’s a roundup of five important ones collated by our experts here at PayMaya Enterprise, a fintech company that offers modern payment solutions for insurance businesses. 

Find New Ways to Reach Your Customers

One lesson that insurers had to learn even before the COVID-19 public health crisis was that they needed new ways to reach out to customers. This lesson was further taken to heart as the pandemic raged on and as traditional marketing methods, like face-to-face meetings, became almost impossible. 

The Philippines’ Insurance Commission has encouraged the use of digital tools so that insurers could conduct new ways to market their insurance products and experiences. Insurance carriers took the cue to go beyond their traditional methods and tapped other channels, like social media, to attract customers. This is the first lesson others can learn from insurers: there’s value in reaching your audience in a new way. 

Adjust Your Business Strategy to the Imminent “New Normal” and Ease into New Modes of Delivery

Second, like many players from other industries, insurers had to take a crash course in conducting business for the “new normal.” Insurance agents had to find ways to perform tasks, like offering quotations and underwriting from a remote setting. Insurers also had to find ways to accommodate customer queries and payments from a safe distance in order to curb potential exposure to illness.  

Many key players in the insurance industry took the opportunity to move operations to a digital platform or to scale up their arsenal of digital technologies. To date, there are many new business technologies that insurers and other companies can use to their benefit. For example, there’s the option  of incorporating a comprehensive checkout solution into one’s company website for the purpose of accepting insurance payments and other fees from clients, not in person but online. Such a solution, like PayMaya’s own Checkout payment gateway, essentially solves clients’ number one concern during the pandemic, which is to avoid close physical contact with other people when completing important financial transactions. Customers have been grateful as well for the opportunity to pay insurance bills with PayMaya or with other convenient e-wallet payment solutions,

Indeed, during the pandemic, a large portion of customers taking out insurance policies seek end-to-end insurance delivery online, through both desktop and mobile platforms. While some insurers may have launched their own dedicated websites and mobile apps so that customers can check their plans, pay, and renew all in one place, it’s also worth looking into solutions afforded by third-party providers.

In brief, the second lesson to be learned is to find ways to adjust to new paradigms of doing business, especially since there are now technological solutions that can  help both companies and individuals  do so. 

Appeal to a New Generation of Customers with Different Priorities

Even before the pandemic hit, insurance companies faced the challenge of courting a new generation of policyholders—that of Filipino millennials. Today’s youngest income earners are growing up in a world that’s very different from that of their forebears. Perhaps they’re interested in getting insurance, but can only invest so much of their income because the cost of living is so high. Given that kind of situation, how have insurers responded?

A third lesson that has served insurers well is the need to rethink the insurance experience to resonate more with a younger clientele. To noticeable success, some insurers have offered lighter, more affordably priced insurance products that are quite different from the all-in-one packages of yesteryear. And so others should take this into account: the market changes, and today’s customers have different needs. It’s up to businesses like insurance companies to respond to those new needs.   

Never Forget Your Business’s Core Values

One last lesson that can be learned from insurance industries is the importance of keeping one’s respective brand values alive. The most successful insurance businesses are the ones that can adapt their philosophy for the insurance experience to the pulse of the era. 

The company’s insurance business may hinge on serving businesses or individual Filipino income earners. Its cornerstone values may revolve around affordable policies, convenience during transactions, or insurance products that are tailored to a particular way of life. Regardless, it’s another lesson others can learn from insurers; that there’s value in staying true to one’s mission and vision and making sure these live on in difficult times. 

There are three things that characterize the insurance experience: acquiring wealth, preserving wealth, and growing wealth. This wealth should tide the policyholder through a rainy day and help them and their loved ones unlock better opportunities in life. There’s no doubt that this industry will continue to be a busy one as people pay more attention to their health, savings, and estate. Let’s learn what we can from insurance professionals about the things that truly matter in times of crisis.