HONG KONG - Hong Kong's life insurance sector has finally taken a step forward with the launch of the city's first fully digital life insurer, joining the ranks of Singapore where the online selling of life insurance has been around for a few years.
Aviva Hong Kong on Wednesday (Sept 12) launched the group's first pure digital life insurance brand called "Blue", which is backed by Chinese tech titan Tencent Holdings and investment management firm Hillhouse Capital.
Aviva and Hillhouse each have a 40 per cent stake in the venture, while Tencent owns the remaining 20 per cent.
Currently, the new digital insurer offers a flexible term life insurance plan as well as a simple critical illness product, which are cheaper than what is available on the market.
Insurance plans sold online cut out the middleman or agents, so costs are lower.
Products offered by Blue will do away with the need to fill up paperwork and consumers only have to answer a few questions to make their purchases.
Said Mr Charles Hung, the digital insurer's chief executive: "Blue is the first digital life insurer in Hong Kong and brin
gs together three industry leaders to revolutionise the insurance industry. We strive to provide solutions catered to customers' needs, and offer consumers anytime-anywhere accessibility in Hong Kong to purchase insurance online, giving them simple, flexible, and affordable protection at their fingertips."
Asked what other products are in the pipeline, the digital life insurer said it will "continuously explore opportunities to build a product line-up that addresses customers' needs".
In an interview in December 2015, Mr Chris Wei, executive chairman of Aviva Asia and FPI, and global chairman of Aviva Digital, had talked about the group's plans to modernise and digitalise its operations.
The challenge with selling life insurance policies online is that many of these plans are complex.
At that time, Mr Wei said simplifying product design to meet customers' needs would be the key to getting around this issue.
The launch comes in the wake of the Hong Kong government's huge tech push and it has, among other things, rolled out measures to help insurers use technology to improve claims processes.
Singapore joined the digital life insurance bandwagon about three years ago, counting Etiqa, FWD and Singapore Life among the pioneers.
But the take up rate of life insurance products online remain small. In the first half of the year, life products sold without intermediaries only made up 5 per cent of total weighted new business premiums, based on data from the Life Insurance Association Singapore.