19 February 2018

How SCOR Global Life transforms reinsurance through technology partnerships in Asia Pacific

Health
Daniela Kianickova
8 min
Chief Executive Officer Craig Ford discusses how SCOR Global Life is working to transform its reinsurance by merging and investing in new solutions in A...

Reaching €14.8bn of gross written premium in 2017, SCOR is a global tier 1 reinsurer, offering life reinsurance, property and casualty reinsurance, with an exceptional asset management business. SCOR Global Life covers life biometric risks such as mortality, longevity and morbidity, both long and short-term.

Having joined SCOR Global Life in Asia Pacific in 2010, Chief Executive Officer Craig Ford has been behind the company’s growing innovative solutions, where the business remains committed to providing transformative ideas, insights and knowledge in order to further support and propel its insurance clients’ businesses forward.

Noting that consumers are no longer content with standard insurance products, services and procedures, SCOR continues to innovate its proposition (including products, underwriting, claims, risk and distribution solutions) in order to support its clients in giving its consumers increased ease of access, execution, visibility and control, through the adoption of sophisticated engagement processes, from start to finish.

“Customers want more than simply pay and be financially compensated when issues strike. We want to enable our clients to provide consumer wellness and health support, along with engagement throughout the process. We want to help our clients access more consumers and help them to lead longer and healthier lives,” Ford says.

This shift in demand has led the business to create new distribution solutions, service and product propositions to extend the clients’ reach through the implementation of digital tools across Asia Pacific, particularly in China.

“In markets such as China, the new generation of consumers have leapfrogged the use of email and conducts their communication and transactions through interactive channels such as WeChat. They therefore want the ability to receive offers and execute transactions through mobile devices and similar platforms,” he says. “It required us to provide slicker propositions and engagement tools that consumers can understand and respond to readily.”

Consumers' demand to receive continual, real-time information and advice about their policies and health links with Ford’s belief that ‘health is the new wealth’ within the insurance business, which is integral to SCOR Global Life’s solutions. 

Growth of health and wellness

Drawing from an ecosystem of expertise, a number of partnerships have helped drive SCOR Global Life’s solution development and ambition to help anticipate customer issues, even before they arise. Its decision to become the sole global distributor of French wellness company Umanlife’s health platform has seen its clients gain the ability to access personalised lifestyle information about their own health and wellness, and follow bespoke programmes designed for their specific circumstances.

Merging external expertise with SCOR Global Life’s in-house experiences and capabilities, the company has completely overhauled its traditional focus within insurance, where it now encompasses a complete personalised, user-focused, digital interactive platform which gives the user greater control over the management of their own health and wellbeing.

“These partners help us provide information that supports this ongoing dialogue between our clients and their end customers,” notes Ford. “We help our clients give their customers what they want and help anticipate and address their future demands.

“An example that demonstrates our focus is our development of a Biological Age Model (BAM), which is combined with a wellness platform. We have three partners - Garmin, Vivametrica, and WellteQ - and we provide health evaluation data, the use of wearables, and bespoke wellness programmes for individual customers. This is personalised biological age pricing with continuous positive engagement between the insurers and their customers. The objective is to motivate consumers through customised, individual information to live a healthier lifestyle based on the data they provide.

“It’s a great combination of the use of wearables to generate data to combine with other insights to provide individually customised and updated wellness programmes help change and add value to people's lives.”

Technological disruption

With the need to create a superior customer experience, SCOR Global Life has also helped the insurance industry overhaul its traditional underwriting services. Historically this has been a time-consuming, invasive process, involving questionnaires and blood/fluid samples. SCOR has therefore listened to the feedback received from its clients to make the process increasingly resilient and seamless.

Utilising publicly available information, such as records of pharmaceutical usage, driving records, criminal records and basic demographic information, SCOR’s underwriting platform, named Velogica, has now gained the ability to automate underwriting and risk assessment in up to 85% of policy applications.

“Where we get a match, we can typically form a risk assessment in about 90 seconds, removing the needs for customers to go through this historic, cumbersome process. In fact, the risk assessment using our underwriting algorithm is more accurate in many cases than through traditional methods,” notes Ford.

“It was designed and built to satisfy the requirements of today’s users – be they consumer, adviser or underwriter, and is a much more effective way of profiling customers for our clients. It provides a much better customer experience through all of the pathways to purchase.”

However, differences between the US and other markets mean appropriate adaptation is required. “At the moment we use a simple rule set, where we ask reflective questions through an e-underwriting system, which asks clients minimum questions and only goes into more detail where further information is needed,” says Ford.

“Having built the algorithms, we now have the capability to better profile the end customers limited only by an individual’s countries' governance around what data can and cannot be used. We are mindful of the data requirements prevalent in each country. There are complex rules about what information can be accessed and used, which is why we are customising the use of our algorithms to reflect each market’s requirements.”

Additionally, SCOR Global Life encrypts all client data, adhering to the highest levels of data protection.

Text mining of claim processes is another area where SCOR Global Life is partnering with clients to bring solutions to meet the demands of today’s consumer. “For the end customers, claiming can be perceived long drawn-out process with uncertain outcomes. For insurers, the process can be cumbersome and resource intensive. By leveraging machine learning and text mining techniques, SCOR Global Life is able to provide solutions that not only better serve end customers, but also support insurers in delivering greater efficiency and insights into their claims experience which in turn drives better propositions,” explains Ford.

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Strength in numbers

To further its health and wellness focus, SCOR Global Life engaged with startups at an early stage, predominantly those which remain unencumbered by legacy systems and short-term shareholder demands. Additionally, the company also partners with other ambitious life insurance companies, as well as InsurTech entrepreneurs who can bring a different perspective.

“We are partnering with US-based Plug and Play Tech Centre, a global technology accelerator for startups and investors, which has given us access to a number of potential start-ups and other operations,” observes Ford. “The partnership will enable SCOR Global Life and our subsidiary ReMark to look at the long-term potential of health-tech startups.

“Through a review process, we look at whether there is likely to be alignment of philosophy and mutual benefits and a clear focus on helping our clients better serve their customers, in terms of fulfilling their health and wellness aspirations,” adds Ford.

Partnering with SMEs, health and wellness companies and startups has seen ReMark establish Digital Marketing Lab, ezTakaful in Malaysia, which looks at areas such as accelerated underwriting and alternative distribution models.

“ReMark is an expert business in digital distribution that has a global presence. It conducts global customer surveys and uses feedback from these surveys to adapt various distribution methods and create omnichannel solutions. It is also used to export and import ideas to other markets where they're present,” says Ford.

“They've successfully trialled and launched a number of things, such as taking the experience in more traditional media like TV shopping channel and condensed it into a digital format of 20-second advertisements over social media. These have been much more effective at capturing people's attention in a ‘Digital First’ era.”

Product development

SCOR Global Life’s focus on the development of bespoke products has also seen the company partner with a number of technology providers to deliver exceptional solutions to its clients, in line with the preventive healthcare trends.

“We have partnered with an artificial intelligence business and a hospital in Asia to take the hospital’s data and build a new database which will improve the development of products and services for the management of back and spine issues,” explains Ford.

“This database will greatly help the hospital in the treatment of patients. We can use this to work with insurers to provide product and service to their customers. The development of such a database and the ability to create products therefore becomes beneficial to the hospital patients and consumers.

“Another good example is in the preventive care area. We're in active partnership with an advanced medical testing company to our clients with a specific test for pregnant women that is triggered first by an abnormal result,” adds Ford. “It’s a non-invasive way to look at the health of the baby, in a way that replaces some of the older techniques which were not as accurate, and carried increased risk to both the foetus and to the mother.

“We see this as a hugely beneficial proposition for pregnant mothers, and for the advanced medical testing company it also gives them continued access to data to continuously improve and refine their testing. We also use advanced medical testing to more accurately focus treatment when illness strikes as well as helping identify those with pre-disposition to disorders to make lifestyle changes and to minimise the likelihood of occurrence.”

Emerging trends

When asked about the trends to look out in the sector, Ford concludes: “The merger of healthcare and insurance is a trend which will continually develop and grow across the health and wellness sector. The alignment between insurance companies and wellness and health promotion companies will continue.

“Our aim is to promote health and wellbeing. Life is precious, so if we can make protection and peace of mind available and affordable to new and existing customers, we can promote health and wellbeing so that people can ultimately enjoy longer and happier lives – that’s our purpose and something around which we, as a life reinsurer, are both aligned and committed to achieving.”

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