Zhong An shows the art of the possible today. It had a clear advantage of not having a legacy and entering into a market it knows well that is growing.
Legacy insurers / reinsurers need a plan. Not tomorrow but today. Only 10% of existing players admit to having a long-term plan.
The challenge of commoditisation and legacy technology means that revenue is reducing and costs are going up, and at the same time inefficient middle and back office costs combined with high commissions cut into the bottom line.
A potential answer is to create a "full stack distribution and digital chain" that runs a parallel insurance entity so it does not need to worry about its legacy. It can then eat itself and others to grow revenue whilst reducing cost and risk.
In fact non-traditional entrants to the markets (who have been around for a while) such as VCs and Hedge Funds can replicate Zhong An model.
Combining insurance knowledge with a technology specialist strategic partner that collaborates effectively for successful outcomes to deliver not only capital, products, a customer centric digital experience and the technology, but also to bring this together into a seamless platform that buyers want to come to.
Commenting on the launch of Zhong An, President of the Insurance Institute of South Africa, Peter Todd, says that it is interesting to note which companies are behind the new online insurance firm. “These are not traditional insurance players, yet they obviously see an opportunity in insurance. This is significant, considering the distribution challenge in China, where a population of 1.5 billion is spread out across a wide geography. Digital technology would be a good solution to overcome this challenge if they can get it right.”