Standard Bank has just launched it’s industry-leading online long-term insurance interface, making it simpler than ever before to purchase personal risk insurance from the convenience of your home.
South Africa’s more than 15.6 million income earners on average have a combined disability and life insurance cover shortfall of more than R2 million each, which translates to an overall insurance gap of around R35 million. In South Africa, this gap is ascribed to three main reasons: a lack of disposable income, the lack of an insurance culture and a lack of access to products. Of these, the lack of access to products is regarded as the most important factor, which is mostly due to the nature of the traditional life insurance model in South Africa.
The launch of Standard Bank’s online long-term insurance policies (life cover, salary protection, disability cover and serious illness cover) is a major step towards addressing this shortfall. Leaning into its 150-year legacy of providing millions of South Africans with financial products, Standard Bank’s long-term insurance policies are underwritten by Liberty Group Limited, one of the country’s most established and respected financial providers, and serviced by Frank Financial Services on behalf of Standard Bank.
Presenting a range of individual risk products that are attractive, easy to understand and access, while also being affordable, Standard Bank’s latest digital offering completely removes the traditionally complex and layered insurance model. The life insurance market in South Africa has long been skewed towards older and wealthier clients, often due to commissions tied to the premium size of products being sold. Its cumbersome distribution model, predominantly through face-to-face methods via financial advisors and brokers adding to the complexity. In a low-touch high-tech covid world, this old way of providing insurance products was due for an overhaul.
Creating the solution required managing a process made up of many moving parts and a number of role-players. Taking the lead was Digital Product Consultancy Urbian, Liberty Life’s digital transformation partner of the last three years, who plotted the customer journey, developed the API and built the website for Standard Bank’s latest innovation in personal financial management. Louis Bester, Product Owner at Urbian, explains that the goal was to essentially shift a customer journey that was traditionally off-line, in-person or telephonic via a call center, to an online journey.
> Accelerated by the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, the online insurance interface completely cuts out the need for face-to-face meetings with an advisor and also does not require call centre interaction. The result, a customer journey that took at least 45 minutes has now been reduced to just 10 minutes, with none of the challenges of having to schedule times that are convenient or the hassle of multiple interactions.
Bridging the gap between clients and distribution channels, Standard Bank’s online long-term insurance journey ensures easy access at a fraction of the cost of traditional channels. This digital solution makes it much easier to reach unserved clients, previously marginalised because of an unwieldy distribution model.
South Africa’s relatively low insurance penetration rate, currently sitting at less than 17%, also presents a real opportunity for growth. As the working and middle class continues to grow, financial literacy improves, access opens up and premiums reduce, the insurance industry will need to continue providing products, services and value to clients who have ever-increasing options and are significantly more empowered and tech savvy than in previous generations.