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Technology that will change Asia-Pacific insurance

The main goal of the Digital Insurance APAC 2024 conference, according to Zurich Insurance APAC head of operational excellence and sustainability Luz Grande Vega, was to "explore the cutting-edge technologies, best practices and thought-provoking ideas that will hopefully shape Asia-Pacific insurance in the next years".

AI has quickly changed lives over the last years, she believes.

“We have our [children] using AI to do homework. We also have AI … to help us design our homes and as well as to help us to choose our insurance products,” she said.

While some think AI will take jobs away, Ms Vega espoused something “completely different”, positing that it was there to be taken advantage of to help businesses with customers, underwriting, blockchain claims processing and user-centric insurance products.

Bain & Company senior partner, Hong Kong and head of APAC financial services practice Henrik Naujoks said, “We are going through a revolution … and people are comparing it to the invention of fire [and] printing.”

He feels that the changes ahead should not be underestimated and his “best guess” is that we will have “10 to 15 years to adapt to what has just happened”.

He also believes that there will be “a rehumanisation of work”.

“If you take the assumption that most computational jobs can be somehow replaced … about five [or] 10 years out, the question [would be], what makes [humans] different?

“It is not necessarily our knowledge [or] intelligence, but … there will be two main factors for companies to differentiate that will never be replaced by an AI, which is trust and relationships,” Dr Naujoks said.

Insurance in Asia is “very much based on the personal relationship between the agents and our customers”, he said, making trust important among brands.

On the other hand, technology would give the insurance industry “a means to address some of the most pressing challenges”.

“We see a massive increase in risk (and) the world is getting riskier. Not everything can be insured, and we see a dramatic change in the makeup of risk. We will (also) … see new risks coming up,” Dr Naujoks said.

Technology would also allow the management of the data needed to train the models, but also manage risk more accurately.

“This will have a huge impact on operations. I think for each and every insurance CEO, it is a question (of) how [AI can be leveraged] on distribution (and) operations … to be more competitive and profitable,” he said.

He also believes blockchain still has an important role “especially in transparency, to track the wider range of risks”.

“Finally, all is only possible with the digital infrastructure underneath, with the computer power and storage that is needed to basically deploy all these technologies,” he said.

The Digital Insurance APAC 2024 is being held from 26-27 June, in Hong Kong.


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