Digitalising insurance at AIA

Melita Teo, Chief Customer and Digital Officer at AIA Singapore. Image courtesy of AIA.

AIA Singapore, a subsidiary of multinational insurance and finance company AIA Group, has been operating in the country since 1931. Presently, it has over 1,000 dedicated staff, more than 5,000 AIA representatives, and over 1 million policyholders.

AIA Group started its journey to “shape a transformed organisation” in the second half of 2020 with two pilot business units: AIA Singapore and AIA Vietnam. Early results, according to the company, have achieved simplified, more customer-centric operating models and it has launched “agile working practices with multiple cross-functional specialist teams”.

At a recent customer session at Kofax Accelerate 2021 — where AIA Singapore won Kofax’s “Changemakers” award — Melita Teo, Chief Customer and Digital Officer at AIA Singapore, emphasised the importance of touchless service and how customer value can be accelerated in a virtual world. Teo is responsible for strengthening AIA’s customer brand, health and wellness propositions; advancing enterprise-wide analytics, capabilities and usage; and accelerating the delivery of an integrated digital experience across customers and distribution

Integrating the AIA process across platforms

According to Teo, AIA Singapore advanced its digital transformation process in 2016. “In 2020, technology, data, and analytics enabled us to accelerate and integrate the experience across platforms for our customers and our distribution. We have over 95% of new policy applications submitted digitally, and 70% used data from government services to pre-fill new policy applications. These certainly help in accuracy and fast processing. 90% of service requests are submitted digitally, and we now have 620,000 registered users on our customer app and portal, with a 13,000 monthly increase”, revealed Teo.

She highlighted two use cases that were critical to improving AIA’s customer experience. The first is the Digital Buy Journey, which involves customers purchasing an insurance policy. “We make sure to provide a fast and seamless experience for customers to obtain coverage instantly upon purchase,” said Teo.

The Digital Claim Journey, the second case, is about making customer claims more convenient. Teo says “the process is simple and hassle-free.”

The Digital Buy Journey

“Imagine sitting in front of a customer and the agent telling you: ‘Sir, your coverage is now approved on standard terms, and this is the premium that you have to pay.’ One important thing for the customer, as a part of this journey, is to know that the moment they submit an application and make the payment, they know that they are covered. So one of the things that we augmented was also the instant delivery of the policy to the customer. All of this is done digitally and in one sitting,” said Teo.

Other highlights of the Digital Buy Journey include:

  • No hard-copy forms, wet signatures, face-to-face meetings, and long periods required to close a case.
  • Launched interactive point of sales (iPoS), which allows sales to be conducted on the go with just an iPad. Helps in financial reviews, sales quotations, and policy applications.
  • Further augmentation with digital tools for better services, like replacing a human underwriter with a digital underwriter.
  • Multiple online payment solutions to help customers pay digitally.
  • Launched iPoS Non-Face-to-Face Sales Solutions in 2020.

Launching NDI and implementing SingPass

How does an insurance company provide valuable coverage to customers? The question is especially relevant during Singapore’s circuit breaker phase, which lasted for several months where there were restrictions on in-person meetings.

“Our team came up very quickly and augmented the iPoS with a non-face-to-face solution. This created a safe environment where our agents could actually do a call on Zoom or Microsoft Teams with the customers online and were able to complete the application remotely,” said Teo.

“Following the implementation of the non-face-to-face solutions in 2020, we quickly augmented this with the NDI, the National Digital Identity, which is signed with the SingPass feature. As you can imagine, when you go to a supermarket and you sign with an electronic pen or with your finger on any screen, it always looks a little unusual.”

“NDI signed with SingPass avoids all of that. This is an initiative by GovTech Singapore, a national agency responsible for creating the country’s platform and apps digitally to make Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative a reality. Through SingPass, we are able to connect to MyInfo to fill in up to 15 fields in application forms digitally, fetch a secured login to AIA apps using fingerprint or face, and secure digitally signing of electronic documents including policy applications,” said Teo.

MyInfo is a service that allows SingPass users to manage their personal information and pre-fill forms in digital services transactions.

Teo said the partnership with GovTech Singapore and automation software firm Kofax enabled AIA Singapore to offer digital signing with SingPass. Within the first month of launch, they were able to garner support with over 7,000 cases submitted.

They had also extended the signing of visiting passes to face-to-face sales as well. “The key was how do we design and ensure authentication of the signature on the document? There were also customer experience concerns, and concerns about how we best integrate across different solutions and digital platforms to provide a seamless experience that gives assurance to customers and the business.”

“We look forward to expanding this capability beyond business functions but to also policy servicing as well,” said Teo.

The Digital Claim Journey

Claims Ez is a seamless and cashless healthcare and claims experience which aims to give AIA customers peace of mind, so they can focus on their treatment and recovery when they are hospitalised.

Teo says AIA Singapore is also introducing a paperless health claims pre-authorisation experience, which utilises an artificial intelligence (AI) engine to enable same-day turnaround time. Some of its benefits include:

  • An AI claims decisions engine that facilitates instant claims assessment and decision-making.
  • An optical character recognition AI engine that extracts information from digitised invoices.
  • A turnaround time of 1-4 working days.
  • Consistency and accuracy in claims settlement.
  • Improved productivity with 60% of claims processed without human interaction.
  • Helps keep healthcare financing sustainable.

Leveraging AI 

AIA uses supervised machine learning for Claims Decisions and unsupervised machine learning for Outlier Claims Detections. They also leverage deep learning to understand connections between Claims Diagnosis Codes, as well as their descriptions and exclusions.

“In our mind, we are always focusing on our customers’ wellbeing. To achieve this, we establish common and clear outcomes, empower cross-functional teams, and collaborate with clear objectives of what’s best for them.”

“The key is to balance high-tech, high-touch and high trust for creating a simpler, faster, and enhanced customer experience as we navigate an increasingly hybrid landscape,” said Teo.