Invitation to the Asia Pacific insurance CIO survey

Celent is conducting its seventh annual survey of Asia Pacific insurance CIOs. The survey focuses on trends in IT strategy, budgetary issues, and emerging technologies.  If you are a CIO (or in a similar position such as IT Manager) in the insurance company in Asia Pacific,  we invite you to participate in the survey. The survey will take about 20 minutes to complete. All responses will be treated as confidential, and no respondent or company will be cited by name.  After our report is published, survey participants will receive a complimentary PDF document with consolidated survey results. Please click the link below and complete the survey online: Celent Insurance CIO Survey APAC For your reference, please find the Press Release of former Celent Asia Insurance CIO survey reports by click the links below: Insurance in Asia 2014: The CIO Perspective  Insurance in Asia 2013: The CIO Perspective 2012 Asia Insurance CIO Survey 2011 Asia Insurance CIO Survey Asia Insurance The Year Ahead: The CIO Perspective (2010) Trends in Asian Insurance 2009: A Business and Technology Outlook Based on a Survey of Asian Insurance CIOs If you have any questions, please contact me by email:

On the cusp: regional integration in Asia

It’s 2015, the mid-point of the decade and a good time to start looking at major trends in Asian financial services over the next five to ten years. One of the major themes will be regional integration, which is another way of saying the development of cross-border markets. There are at least two important threads here: the ongoing internationalization of China’s currency, and the development of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in Southeast Asia. RMB internalization is really about the loosening of China’s capital controls and its full-fledged integration into the world economy. And everyone seems to want a piece of this action, including near neighbors such as Singapore who are vying with Hong Kong to be the world’s financial gateway to China. The AEC is well on its way to becoming a reality in 2015, with far-reaching trade agreements designed to facilitate cross-border expansion of dozens of services industries, including financial sectors. While AEC is not grabbing global headlines the way China does, we see increasing interest in Southeast Asia among our FSI and technology vendor clients. From Celent’s point of view, both trends will open significant opportunities across financial services. In banking, common payments platforms and cross-border clearing. In capital markets, cross-border trading platforms for listed and even OTC products. In insurance, the continued development of regional markets. Financial institutions will be challenged to create new business models and technology strategies to extract the opportunities offered by regional integration. It’s the mid-point of the decade, and the beginning of something very big.

Nominations for the Fifth Annual Celent Model Insurer Asia Awards (2015 Awards) are now Open!

Every year, Celent recognizes the effective use of technology in the Asia Pacific region through its Model Insurer Asia Awards program. The nomination period for 2014 has already open. If you know of an insurance company which exhibits best practices in the use of technology, please click here and complete the nomination form. Submissions are being accepted until 31 October 2014. Through our Model Insurer Asia Awards Program, Celent recognizes the year’s top technology initiatives. Past winners received their recognition through outstanding implementation of technology areas such as agent portals, document management, claims, billing, distribution management, and policy administration. Past winners include Max Bupa Health Insurance, Ageas Insurance Company (Asia), AXA Asia, Birla Sun Life Insurance, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance, Yingda Taihe Property Insurance, and Cathay Century Insurance, to name a few. Celent’s Model Insurer research is designed to try to answer the deceptively simple question: What would it look like for an insurer to do everything right with today’s technology? Obviously, the question is not as simple as it appears. The terms “everything” and “right” will mean very different things to different companies. The approach that Celent has taken is to tease out high level best practices in the use of technology across the product and policyholder life cycle and in IT infrastructure and management that a Model Insurer would use. On the back of the global Model Insurer research by our colleagues in North America and Europe, we at Celent Asia are conducting an Asia Pacific specific program to identify the potentially unique Model Insurer solutions that have been recently deployed in our region. Of course, there is no such thing as a Model Insurer Asia across the board. Therefore, we focus on specific real world examples of individual technology initiatives in the Asia Pacific region. These case studies are presented at Celent’s annual Model Insurer Asia event and represent key themes: •Legacy and ecosystem transformation: Legacy technology can hinder innovation, since insurers must typically offer backward compatibility. Insurers must not only modernize, but also transform their internal systems and how they interact with customers, counterparties, and regulators. This theme recognizes projects related to core system replacement or transformation including policy administration, billing, claims, and rating/underwriting. •Digital and omnichannel technologies: Digital transformation is moving from person-to-person interaction toward person-to-machine or machine-to-machine. Integrating and coordinating among disparate and siloed delivery channels will be critical to satisfying ever-increasing customer expectations. Using the definition that digital automates complex tasks, allowing them to be mastered, then reproduced and distributed at no cost, this theme recognizes projects such as online customer portals; industrialization of processes; engaging user interfaces; online sales with STP; integration with business partners; leveraging social networks; and the use of mobile technology. •Innovation and emerging technologies: Celent defines innovation as fundamental changes to products, services, or business models that break existing tradeoffs and provide value to the customer. New hardware, software, and network technologies feed insurance innovation. This theme recognizes projects such as the expansion into previously untapped markets due to technology; the use of technologies not previously used in the insurance industry; or the development of an innovation culture within an IT organization. •Data mastery and analytics: Data has become a key source of competitive advantage for identifying profitable niches, managing risk, and improving service. New external data sources, data derived from devices, and new techniques for interpreting data are pushing the competitive boundaries for insurers at an accelerated rate. This theme recognizes projects such as predictive analytics (claims fraud, underwriting, pricing, climate analysis); prescriptive analytics (triage, sales automation, “next best action”); and virtualization (dashboards and heat maps, catastrophe management, network analysis, geopolitical risk analysis). •Non-core implementation best practices: What does it take to safeguard investments in technology and answer the inevitable question, “What’s next?” This theme recognizes projects such as successful reuse of technology for new initiatives; implementation of a non-core system such as illustrations, document automation, electronic applications, or agency management systems; or finding successes in new methods and processes for distribution and sales. An important note is that a Model Insurer Asia Award is recognition of an insurer’s effective use of technology in a certain area or theme, not necessarily a statement that the insurer is Best in Class. Model Insurer Asia success highlights the insurer’s ability to improve performance and meet market demands when tackling issues facing the industry today. To nominate an initiative at your company as a Model Insurer Asia, please use the brief form on here: Nomination form. Please note that vendors are welcome to assist their client insurers with their nominations, however vendors/suppliers are not qualified to receive an award. All nominations MUST include insurer contact information, and all follow-up will be done primarily with the insurer, not the vendor. Guidelines for Celent Model Insurer Asia Award Submissions: This information will assist you in completing the nomination form. Below are generalized criteria that are considered by Celent when evaluating submissions. General submission and award criteria: •The initiative has been implemented in the Asia Pacific region at an insurance company, a company that takes on risks under the policies it sells in return for the payment of premiums. MGA, TPAs or self-insured companies are not eligible for nomination. •The nominated initiative is LIVE (in production) and functioning at the insurance company. Pilot programs are not considered live and in production. •The nominated insurer has been involved in the submission and is willing to be actively involved in the post submission evaluation process which includes follow up emails and interviews, and possible inclusion in the Celent Model Insurer Asia report. •Quantitative success metrics are measured and provided. Nominations without quantitative success metrics will not be accepted. •Quantifiable results from a pilot program are acceptable however it must be noted that the results are from a pilot. Full production results are preferred. •The initiative has not been submitted for another Celent 2015 Award, e.g., Model Insurer. Quality of Nominations The importance of the quality of the nomination itself, and of the supporting information, cannot be overemphasized. The nomination should be as specific, accurate, and complete as possible. It is imperative that the true merits of the initiative be conveyed through this information. Keep in mind that in most cases those involved in the selection process will have no personal knowledge of the nominated initiative and will lean heavily on the information provided below for the information they need to make reasonable judgments. In some cases, Celent will check publicly available information to augment or substantiate the information provided. The deadline for nominations is Friday, October 31, 2014. Once submitted, all communication will occur between Celent and the insurer, however Celent will acknowledge the receipt of the submission with both the insurer and, if applicable, the vendor partner.

Quotes from the Innovation Roundtable

They said it couldn’t be done, but we held the latest installment in Celent’s series of innovation roundtables in Tokyo recently. Our innovation roundtables put the focus squarely on interactive discussion among the participants. This is a relatively untried model in Japan, where events typically take the form of conventional conferences with presentations. We’re glad we tried it though, because we got a very interesting line-up of firms. Participants included the whole spectrum: banks, capital markets firms, and insurers; Japanese and foreign firms; traditional mega-institutions and alternative new entrants. The discussion was lively; below are some quick notes I took of some of the more interesting comments made, to capture a bit of the flavor of the day. Why Innovate? “Innovation is not the goal, it is a method and a tactic.” “We need to innovate because it has become difficult to differentiate us from our competitors.” “In today’s environment, innovation is necessary if you want to stay profitable.” Paths to Innovation “Incremental innovation is an axymoron. You can’t innovate by increments; innovation requires a big bang change.” “It might be possible to rearrange existing elements to create something new.” “When to innovate? If our clients think a new service is interesting, we try and create it for them and see if it succeeds.” “Innovation needs to be business driven.” “Financial institutions need to have an innovation division; an incubation unit that accumulates ideas from throughout the company.” IT and Innovation “IT is not the impetus for innovation, but because IT inevitably evolves, that creates need for innovation.” “Legacy is a barrier: it is hard to throw things away.” Cultural Challenges “We need to justify ROI on any investment each fiscal year. It is hard to show this on an innovation project.” “If you think about it, financial institutions don’t even have R&D departments.” Quote of the Day “Changing company culture is really about changing oneself. I personally enjoy innovation and change. Innovative culture is about getting a bunch of people together who enjoy change.”

Relationship between Offline and Online

Nowadays, financial institutions have the opportunity to utilize both online and offline channels for their marketing tools. An example of offline marketing might be prominent advertising on the street and online might be use of social networking services. Lifenet Insurance, one of Japan’s online insurers, is a good example of how to leverage both the offline and online marketing approaches. As online-only insurers people might think that they mainly do marketing online, but they extensively do marketing offline too. Their executives often step up to the podium to not only explain their business but also speak about topics unrelated to insurance. Their goal in these offline activities is to generate awareness of Lifenet, both its products and its management. Lifenet asserts that their offline activities expand into online by means of social network posts by their “offline” audience. Therefore, they don’t care how large of an audience comes to their seminars. They believe that offline marketing is closely linked to online marketing. It might be nonsense to treat offline and online marketing separately because what happens offline can expand very quickly by means of online social networking. It is true that face-to-face voice still has a strong power to convey some messages better than online. So, it is important to do marketing utilizing the advantages of each. Financial institutions, particularly in Asia, might be reluctant to expand their activities through social networking quickly because of the risk that the social audience might focus on issues unfavorable to the institution. However, they should not ignore the potential for expanded use of SNS activities to create good opportunities to grow their business.

A Challenge for Korean Insurers: Enabling Paperless Policies

I recently published the Celent report “Electronic Signatures in South Korean Insurance: Enabling Paperless Policies”. Actually, at first I intended to write a report about e-business in the South Korean insurance industry. (I will get to that topic next year …) However, I found that South Korean insurers sell more than 80% of their products through sales agents. Furthermore, I found that there is a new trend for sales agents: the adoption of e-signatures for policies.

Adoption of e-signatures has significantly changed the work flow for insurance sales agents in South Korea. With a paper-based insurance contract, a sales agent must visit the home or other location of the policyholder at least twice; however, with an electronic contract, the sales agent only has to visit the individual once to complete the transaction process—from explanation to signing the contract.

Another merit of this so-called “smart insurance” is that it eliminates the need for the sales agent to input customer data after returning to the office because after being e-signed the contract is sent directly to the server. Smart insurance also obviates the risk of losing a signed paper contract before inputting the data—a risk that has until now been a part of doing business on paper.

To determine exactly what benefits the industry expects of e-signatures, Celent conducted a survey of insurers in South Korea. The salient points articulated by interviewees are listed below.

• Streamlining and heightened efficiency throughout the contract process. • Reducing costs such as paper and storage expenses. • Enhanced customer satisfaction. • Realizing green IT.

I will write a report on direct insurance channel including e-business in South Korea in early 2013. Don’t miss it!

E-Signature in South Korea’s Insurance Industry

South Korea’s insurance industry experienced a significant change at the beginning of 2012: regulators made it possible for insurers to accept e-signatures as legally binding on policies. In South Korea, most sales are through the agent channel. E-signatures are expected to change their work style, in that they can now process policies for customers in a more efficient way.

We expect e-signatures will become an important “channel” in insurance distribution. It is an attractive point for both customers and sales agents that the sales cycle can be completed in the filed with “one-stop.” Utilizing tablet computers, sales agents can now complete the entire sales process, including binding, in the field, without needing to return to the office to print out quotes or policies.

E-signatures will impact Korean insurers in the following ways: • Process efficiency for policies • Cost reduction for paper and storage • Green IT • Improvement of customer satisfaction level

Insurers will be able to achieve some of the expected benefits in the short-term, but others might take a long time to produce results. Insurers therefore should consider the e-signature as a long-term initiative and not focus too much on short-term ROI. For more details, you can read our upcoming report, which will be published in Japanese shortly and in English in November.

Open for Model Insurer Asia 2013 Nomination

Nomination for Model Insurer Asia 2013 is open. Nomination form on: Through our Model Insurer Asia Awards Program, Celent recognizes the top technology initiatives in the Asia Pacific region. Past winners include Calliden Group (Australia), PICC Health (China), IndiaFirst Life Insurance (India), Nextia Life Insurance (Japan), Prudential Life Insurance Company of Korea, Baoviet Holdings (Vietnam), PT Prudential Life Assurance (Indonesia), Union Assurance (Sri Lanka), to name a few. To find all names of winners for Model Insurer Asia 2012: ) To find all names of winners for Model Insurer Asia 2011: Deadline for Nominations of Model Insurer Asia 2013: November 30, 2012. For any inquiry, please send email to

Thailand’s Growing Insurance Market

Thailand’s Insurance market is small but one of the fastest growing in the Asia Pacific region next only to China & India. The country is relatively underdeveloped both in terms of insurance penetration and insurance density as compared to some of the developing countries with in APAC region. Both insurance density (Thailand USD 199, world average USD 267 in 2010) and insurance penetration (Thailand 4.3 percent, world average is 11 percent) is considerably low. Life insurance premium constitutes about 2.6 percent of GDP and non-life insurance premium about 1.7 percent of GDP. In Asia, Taiwan’s insurance market’s contribution is the highest accounting for about 18 percent of GDP, followed by Hong Kong, Korea and Japan contributing 12 percent, 11 percent and 10 percent respectively in 2010. Growing number of young population, new pension policy and inadequate health insurance are some of the growth drives in Thailand’s insurance landscape. Life and non-life insurance in Thailand are mainly sourced by insurance agents. However, other channels, such as bancassurance, are quickly catching up. The number of insurance players in Thailand doubled from 12 in 1995 to 24 in 2009. As the insurance market is introduced to new players in terms of foreign ownership, capital requirements, and solvency ratios, it is likely to see mergers and acquisitions in the years to come. Thailand’s life insurance market is highly concentrated, with the top five life insurance players holding nearly 70 percent of market share, and the remaining 19 players fighting for the remaining 30 percent. Thailand’s property/casualty insurance business (US$2.8 billion) is nearly 4 times smaller than the life business ($9.5 billion), which experienced negative growth in 2009 due to the financial crisis. Property/ casualty insurance in Thailand is highly fragmented, with 71 non-life insurance players operating in the space. The top five players held nearly 40 percent market share, with over 40 additional players possessing less than 1 percent market share. IT investment by Thai insurance companies in 2009 was estimated to be US$413 million. Due to the impact of the financial crisis, IT spending in 2010 was limited to maintenance of existing systems. Celent expects IT investment in the market to reach US$1.5 billion by the end of 2013.

IT Spending Trends in the Japanese Insurance Industry: 2011

Celent published a new report “IT Spending Trends in the Japanese Insurance Industry: 2011” which is the updated version of IT Spending Trends in the Japanese Insurance Industry: 2010 ( In March, Japan was rocked by one of the largest earthquakes on record. Despite the massive scale of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the insurance industry has weathered the disaster well. Celent forecasts that insurance IT investments will grow from USD 7.84 billion in the fiscal year ended March 2011 to reach USD 7.98 billion in the fiscal year ending March 2015. The March 11 earthquake will accelerate change in a number of areas, including prompting the industry to revisit business continuity planning (BCP) and reconsider the adoption of green IT. In terms of the latter, the disaster will spur companies that have been dragging their feet to study the introduction of technologies such as cloud computing and SaaS solutions.