Currently, there are different types of life insurance in the market: with a common purpose to protect loved ones from bearing a large financial burden in the event of a premature death—and to benefit from savings and investment opportunities. However, the majority of Thai population ignore the loss of what might happen in the occurence of such an event—without proper protection.
An overview of Muang Thai Life Assurance
Against this background, one company that is exploring this opportunity is Muang Thai Life Assurance (or MTL), the second-largest life assurance company in Thailand with a total premium of 94.46 billion THB last year. MTL established in 1951, was first granted royal patronage by the King Rama 9 with the vision “To be the customers’ trusted lifetime partner through innovative life and health solutions by putting customers at the heart of everything we do.”
In 2004, MTL established a joint-venture life-insurance company with Ageas and started Bancassurance business with Kasikorn Bank. The move demonstrated a big step toward its business expansion in Asean.
MTL has initiated a significant change to its new business strategy under the concept: “MTL Everyday Life Partner” to become a digital and health tech insurance company in order to meet the changing demands of insurers, and continuously deliver quality, reliable, and advice-based solutions to achieve world-class management standards.
Through its outstanding achievements and efforts throughout the year, the company was recognised by Asia Insurance Review as the Life Insurance Company of the Year at the 22nd Asia Insurance Industry Awards for the third consecutive year. That reflects on the company’s line of successful management-related products, distribution channels and partners, services, innovations, and employees.
MTL has received three prestigious awards from the Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC) including “Honorary Outstanding Insurance Company Award 2017,” “Winner and Honour of the Prime Minister’s Award for the Year 2008, 2011 and 2015,” and “Life Insurance Company with Outstanding Management 1st Place Awards for 12 consecutive years 2006- 2017.” In addition, last year the company received an award for Best Life Insurance Company from International Finance for the second consecutive year.
Based on the “Multi-Distribution Channel, Multi Targets” concept as part of its marketing strategies, MTL has expanded other distribution channels and engaged with new customers.
The company has started to fully mobilise the bancassurance business with Kasikorn Bank as a major shareholder and other potential financial institutions as business partners to acquire new customers and opportunities across all segments. It has even partnered with the Islamic Bank of Thailand to offer Takaful Insurance products for Muslim customers.
That said, MTL provides quality after-sales service through various touch points that’s more diverse and inclusive under “MTL Smile 4 series,” which comprises of MTL Care, MTL Smile Tech, MTL Smile Touch, and Muang Thai Smile Club which coordinates with hospital network and start-up InsurTech partnerships. The company’s multi-language customer service call center: MTL Global Connect service operates throughout the week for the purpose of attending to customer’s illness while travelling abroad. The “MTL Six Packs” campaign offers a comprehensive range of health benefits for customers who seek to stay in good health. The company has coordinated with the Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC) to provide 10-baht micro-insurance for low-income customers every year.
With a diverse range of effective distribution channels and efficient team work, MTL offers services that cater to more customers. Apart from that, it has developed digital sales tools and tablet applications to support sales process for agents who play a key role in increasing the sales volume and stimulating the number of applicants.
MTL continues to expand its insurance solutions into the overseas market. In the past 4 years, it has expanded its business into Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos, respectively. The company’s business opportunity is not only in Thailand or CLMV countries, but it also has a scope for expansion overseas, especially in ASEAN countries with a population of over 300 million.
How technology is changing the insurance landscape
With new emerging technologies, MTL has reached out to startups in the region for the creation of new platforms this year—and pursues to become a health and assurance tech business. Last year, the company launched Fuchsia Venture Capital (FVC) to seek strategic investment and partnership with a focus on insurtech and healthtech—as a way of acquiring external knowledge and expertise.
The company is actively seeking new business partners to form an ecosystem that will enhance the existing market and create new value proposition for different industries. One of the many successful insurtech applications is “Health @ Home” for finding careers to provide health care services for home-based patients and the aged. As e-commerce becomes more popular in Thailand, MTL has decided to open an official online store in Shopee. Customers can purchase a life insurance using an easy, secure, and fast platform.
There is focus not only on the business ecosystem, but MTL also targets product innovation to help people who are unable to access life and health insurance through “Baowan BetterCare.” In translation, BaoWan means diabetes in Thai— which is the first ever dynamic pricing insurance for type 2 diabetics in Asia. It helps customers to track and monitor blood glucose, diet, weight, and daily steps on a dashboard. Moreover, MTL provides an online Diabetes Coach Chat which allows customers to get solutions and personal advice from certified nutritionists and dieticians.
The company is looking forward to develop new platforms that could change the lives of millions of diabetes sufferers. In recent times, MTL launched “myThaiDNA” program, Thailand 1st Nutrigenomics-based Mobile Health Coach, a new dimension to personal health that helps customers to understand their DNA and live a better life by choosing the right diet and exercise. It’s one of MTL’s innovative services which creates a favourable customer experience and builds a higher level of trust and loyalty.
The next-gen 5G
For the upcoming 5G Network, MTL customers will get a new experience from enhanced services which have been developed as an integral part of their lives, aided by technologies and innovations. The company is working toward developing new innovative products and platforms for individuals under the concept “Segment of One”—along with MTL personal financial advisors, who can help customers achieve their lifestyle and financial goals as efficiently as possible—and create value for them in the long run.
Customers may be able to track claim status in real-time, upload the declaration of attending physicians in hospitals, and connect with MTL from anywhere without having to consider the bandwidth. Administrative tasks and BAU will be done by RPA technology which will help the industry to reduce human error, save cost, fraud detection, and prevention.
From now on, MTL expects all Thai people including low-wage working families and single adults or patients with congenital disorder to access an on-demand life insurance platform that is easier and generates real-time costing for different insurable products, packages, and services. Everyone should have a wider choice of insurance coverage tailored to their risk profile, which in turn will provide insurance with an incentive to practice safe behaviour and manage their risk better.
In conclusion, there are numerous opportunities for growth in the life insurance industry in Thailand. Many international brands have recognised that and moved into the Thai market. It is therefore imperative that Thailand-life insurance companies provide the most appropriate services to policyholders.