Western Insurers do not exploit the value of data held internally (never mind externally) unlike Zong An which expertly joins disparate data to gain context and offer products that customers want and customer experience that delights.
Yet the product mix is different- more niche products and insurance on demand than the bread and butter insurance of auto, home and contents pets et al that western customers demand.
There are lessons to learn though- experience shows that insurers only access up to 20% of the data stored in data and system silos. The result of years of M&A across different countries resulting in unconnected systems and geographies. The opposite of the expertise Zong An applies in China.
Yet they have to do likewise if they are to remain in the top 5 in each market. Take a leaf out of Zong An's "big data" success combined with wrapping a digital platform around inflexible but vital core systems of record.
That will overcome an embarrassing failure for most insurers- they rarely deploy digital transformation projects across countries, products and geographies. They achieve partial success in the HW region and have neither the time, budget nor resources to deploy elsewhere.
Some have found an answer however. See "The Claims Director"
And add the data analysis and decision making capabilities of Zong An for an unbeatable combination.
More broadly, however, we think that micro-products should be more in focus by insurers. We were recently talking to a client about opportunities in insurance for startups. Traditional insurance thinking immediately steers towards professional indemnity insurance and other established product lines. However, in reality, the biggest fear of a startup founder is likely to be something like a coffee spillage on a laptop. Insurers should move away from existing product definitions and – like Zhong An – think about the specific risks that worry people.