Covid-19 Idea Pulse Alerts: Week 4
INSURER ACTIONS BETWEEN JUNE 12 AND JUNE 26, 2020
The Idea Pulse series on COVID-19 monitors innovations and insurer strategies that are being shaped in response to COVID-19 and the impact on people, businesses and economies. These are some of the noteworthy developments across the global insurance industry in the fortnight of June 12 to June 26, 2020.
|Key Takeaways this fortnight:|
New Products and Solutions
Employee health insurance has become both, a priority and a necessity for small business in the US, to protect employees as the pandemic rages on. More than 50% of small businesses are considering new health plan options for 2021. Health insurers Cigna and Oscar have announced Cigna + Oscar, a new affordable and consumer-first health insurance for small businesses in the US. The fully insured health plans include benefits such as no charge, 24/7 virtual doctor visits, access to multiple Cigna networks of hospitals and physicians, access to behavioural health services through Cigna Behavioral Health’s specialized coaching programs and a 24/7 crisis helpline.
Social distancing requirements have led to an increase in live streaming of events that were previously scheduled at physical venues. Specialist insurer Beazley has launched a contingency policy designed to cover event organisers if a transmission failure disrupts or cancels a virtual event. Event organisers’ success relies on technology platforms delivering uninterrupted transmissions to their audiences. The coverage offered by Beazley is available on a global basis and offers limits of up to $10 million. Even with lockdowns easing, Beazley expects the trend of virtual events to continue both in business and leisure as people continue to avoid unnecessary crowds.
US trip and travel insurer Seven Corners is among the few firms offering medical travel insurance that covers coronavirus. The new Liaison Travel Plus plan covers treatment for policyholders if they contract COVID-19 while travelling outside their home country. The COVID-19 treatment benefit offered under the plan covers up to $100,000 in medical expenses for COVID-19, SARS-Cov-2, and any mutation or variation of SARS-CoV-2. The plan also includes an additional $500,000 for emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage, when medically necessary.
Japanese insurer Mitsui Sumitomo Aioi Life Insurance Co. is offering a novel form of contactless distribution from this month, at over 20,000 Seven-11 convenience store outlets nationwide. Customers can apply for cancer insurance through a multi-function copier at any Seven-Eleven outlet and complete payment with a store cashier. Customers can also complete most of the process online before visiting the store. Qualified agents are available via phone to address any inquiries about the product before purchase, avoiding the need for home or in-person visits.
Manulife Hong Kong has announced the launch of a virtual face-to-face agency sales platform for all Manulife individual insurance products in Hong Kong, except investment-linked assurance schemes. The insurer is among the first wave of insurers approved by the Insurance Authority through its Insurtech Sandbox in the Hong Kong market. The Virtual Face-to-Face sales solution makes use of video conferencing, screen sharing, e-signatures and document sharing via a secure encrypted network. The process is also recorded in real-time for record-keeping, with customers’ consent. Per Manulife, clients can buy even the most sophisticated long-term insurance policies through the company’s individual insurance agents through their virtual sales platform.
Notwithstanding remote working, business travel will be inevitable as countries eventually re-open international air travel. In response, global travel risk manager Healix International is launching ‘COVID Travel Safe’, a layered COVID risk assessment tool that has been designed to enable business travel within a pandemic. The tool provides instant assessments of the medical and logistical risks posed in a proposed trip. The tool methodology takes into consideration sub-risk factors including pandemic trend and COVID testing access, travel bans and curfews. The assessment outcome is an instant, downloadable “Risk Score” that also advises travellers on mitigation plans, should they proceed with the trip.
Multiple life insurers have rolled out simplified products and digital processes. Insurtech Breeze and Assurity Life have teamed up to launch an API-driven disability insurance product with a digital application and underwriting process. Applicants receive a personalised disability insurance quote and complete a secure application process online in 10-15 minutes.
Canadian life insurer SSQ Insurance has announced three new life insurance plans (Simplified Term, Simplified Whole Life and Guaranteed Issue Whole Life). The three products together cover the most common needs of life cover for their customers. Customers can apply for and get coverage in under 60 minutes for these simplified products. Advisors can also sell the products remotely making use of a secure electronic application, e-signature and sending the digital contract via email.
Insurtech Partnerships (Commercial Insurance)
The commercial property and casualty sector is faced with the challenge of conducting effective claims assessments and settlements in the upcoming hurricane and flood season. UK broker Mason Owen Financial Services has partnered with rapid-payout flood insurtech FloodFlashand Qlaims Insurance, to offer parametric cover with expert repair project management for commercial property owners. FloodFlash installs mobile-connected sensors at the client’s property that report water levels and trigger a pre-defined payout in the event of a flood. Through the partnership, customers who purchase a FloodFlash policy from Mason Owen will be also offered a Qlaims plan, through which Qlaims’ expert loss adjusters will provide project management and oversight of damage remediation work. Qlaims will also assign an expert in major flood losses to the case.
Insurtech Hippo which offers homeowners insurance has expanded its claims capabilities via two new partnerships, with Handdii and Westhill, to match claimants with top-tier contractors. Hippo Insurance aims to increase the efficiency of its end to end customer claims handling while offering high-quality repair and reconstruction services for clients. Per Hippo, claims are closed in an average of 14 days inclusive of mitigation and reconstruction, compared to the 40-day industry average, through Handdii, which is focused on minor repairs such as exterior wind damage, water leaks and general equipment breakdown. Westhill’s digital platform is designed for medium to large-sized property claims fulfilment.
As businesses seek to re-align expenses while continuing operations, new usage-based insurtech powered solutions are entering the market. UK insurtech Zego has partnered with telematics company ABAX to offer a new usage-based fleet insurance policy. ABAX’s telematics solution gathers data on vehicle usage and also provides value additions such as vehicle tracking, accurate business mileage claims for tax deductions, driver behaviour insights and live, real-time insights such as accidents, for optimizing fleet allocation and productivity.
Broker Marsh’s Sharing Economy and Mobility Practice has partnered with AXA XLand telematics company Arity to launch deliveryPRO, a usage-based commercial auto liability solution. DeliveryPRO manages risks of last-mile delivery, a service which is being increasingly provided by furloughed and gig workers using their self-owned vehicles. Per Marsh, this usage-based insurance model which tracks drivers on active delivery can help save retailers, restaurants, e-commerce companies, sharing-economy companies, delivery network companies, grocers, and other businesses on their non-owned auto liability costs. The standalone policy that clearly delineates when coverage starts and stops also helps to isolates businesses’ exposure and insulates other parts of their casualty program.