SINGAPORE, 8 April 2020 – Leading insurer Great Eastern is fast tracking its digital transformation to empower its financial representatives with digital tools to better serve customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the government’s latest measures to contain its spread.
Singapore-based residents looking for protection during this difficult time, can make insurance policy applications with Great Eastern through digital channels, in addition to online customer services already in place.
Online purchases of certain life insurance products and tele-advisory services capabilities were made available to customers from as early as February, before the latest ‘circuit breaker’ government measures were implemented on 7 April.
Khor Hock Seng, Group Chief Executive Officer said: “The COVID-19 situation is accelerating the speed of digital adoption to complement what is traditionally a face-to-face business. This new-normal ‘virtual’ way of doing things, empowers financial representatives to continue serving customers, with speed and agility. It also provides our customers with greater peace of mind, and continued access to professional advisory services.”
He added: “We are fully committed to ensuring quality customer service continues under current circumstances. Even as we observe the tighter government measures, we will continue to be accessible and responsive to customers through a number of touchpoints. We are glad to see that our customers are getting more used to engaging with us online, just as seamlessly as they do in their interactions with our financial representatives.”
Great Eastern customers have the convenience and option of ‘tele-advisory” - not unlike virtual medical consultations - with their financial representatives on video conference calls from the comfort of their own homes.
To support customers during this time where physical meetings are discouraged, it has helped simplify the policy application process, enabled quicker response times, and improved quality of customer service, without comprising health and safety of both its customers and financial representatives. In the last few weeks since its roll-out, it has seen positive response from customers seeking hospitalisation, term life as well as investment-linked policies.
In the next few months, Great Eastern will be introducing additional digital capabilities that will allow its financial representatives and customers to seamlessly co-browse interactive screens and co-create Life Storyboards* together on mobile devices. Simplifying digital authorisation of policy purchases will also allow applications to be more quickly processed.
Separately, customers who do not require financial advice for simple and annually-renewable insurance products such as personal accident plans have been able to make these simple transactions on Great Eastern’s website or through a personalized link from their financial representatives. Customers who purchased the products through this platform will still enjoy the post-purchase services from their assigned financial representatives.
Ryan Cheong, Managing Director, Digital for Business, said: “In the last two months, over 40% of all personal accident plans have been purchased online. In the next quarter, we plan to give customers this option to purchase a growing range of plans including savings and protection plans. Customers can purchase the plans at their own convenience digitally, yet enjoy the servicing support from their financial representatives. If they want professional advice, our financial representatives are still be accessible through a multitude of means to serve them.”
Great Eastern has been progressively rolling out services on digital platforms since 2018 as part of its digital transformation strategy, comprising an integrated set of initiatives to empower its financial representatives to deliver better customer experiences.
Customers are already able to purchase motor, home protection, domestic helper, travel and other general insurance solutions via Great Eastern’s digital affinity partners.
Existing E-services supporting customers also include the ability to access policy information and perform selected transactions via Great Eastern’s E-Connect web portal. Integrated Shield Plan policyholders - via Health Connect service for medical insurance - have access to pre-authorisation for bills and specialist appointments, and outpatient video medical consultations with telehealth provider Doctor Anywhere at preferred rates.
*Note: Great Eastern’s Great Digital Advantage platform – launched in 2019 to digitally empower its financial representatives to deliver a better advisory experience to customers – offers a full suite of tools including interactive life storyboards & planning tools for financial representatives to map customers’ insurance needs to every stage of their life so that they can make informed decisions on their future financial priorities.
About Great Eastern
Founded in 1908, Great Eastern is a well-established market leader and trusted brand in Singapore and Malaysia. With over S$90 billion in assets and more than 8 million policyholders, including 5 million from government schemes, it provides insurance solutions to customers through three successful distribution channels – a tied agency force, bancassurance, and financial advisory firm Great Eastern Financial Advisers. The Group also operates in Indonesia and Brunei and has a presence in China as well as a representative office in Myanmar.
The Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Limited and Great Eastern General Limited have been assigned the financial strength and counterparty credit ratings of "AA-" by Standard and Poor's since 2010, one of the highest among Asian life insurance companies. Great Eastern's asset management subsidiary, Lion Global Investors Limited, is one of the largest private sector asset management companies in Southeast Asia.
Great Eastern is a subsidiary of OCBC Bank, the longest established Singapore bank, formed in 1932. It is now the second largest financial services group in Southeast Asia by assets and one of the world’s most highly-rated banks, with an Aa1 rating from Moody’s. Recognised for its financial strength and stability, OCBC Bank is consistently ranked among the World’s Top 50 Safest Banks by Global Finance and has been named Best Managed Bank in Singapore by The Asian Banker.
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