In a recent trawl of my inbox, my eye was drawn to a recent McKinsey report: Redrawing Asia’s consumer map . The research gave me an opportunity to check whether our vision for KoverNow – to create a consumer-focused insurance platform for Southeast Asia – is on the right track. (And I couldn’t help thinking the report’s lucky-number page-count of 88 could be a good omen!)
KoverNow is about to launch an app in Singapore that will introduce consumers to a more flexible and social way of buying insurance. The app provides them with a user-friendly means of interacting for quotes, claims, and other communications that’s a world away from the chore of phoning or emailing a traditional insurance company.
In founding KoverNow, our key observation was (and still is) that consumers often lose track of their insurance cover, leading to confusion and frustration for them. We believe – together with much smarter behavioural economists – that this consumer blind spot stems from the often-lengthy time lag between paying for insurance and receiving benefits from it. That’s why we’re introducing a more holistic approach to insurance, complete with ongoing communication and service for each product, to provide a much richer customer experience.
Going for growth
We’ve also decided to focus our efforts on Southeast Asian consumers, as this is where we feel the best growth opportunities lie. Here, the McKinsey report provides immediate reassurance. The study sees consumer growth in Asia accounting for up to 50% of all global growth between 2020 and 2030, so we feel justified in our choice of geographical target market.
McKinsey further examines various trends in consumer behaviour in Asia – so I took its findings for a quick test drive in relation to KoverNow’s product pipeline.
Smaller households, digital natives, and ageing digital consumers
Our launch product, Items, targets all three of these groups. Consumers – no matter what age – will have smaller households and less ‘stuff’ in the future. They will spend more time choosing what to buy and will make more considerate choices about resources, longevity and sustainability. According to McKinsey, roughly 50% of consumers in Southeast Asia will be 30 years or younger by 2025 and will have grown up with smartphones and mobile services. These digital natives, plus a growing group of digital-savvy seniors will appreciate simpler and more straightforward products embedded into their daily activities.
Incidentally, other surveys support these findings, including the World Insurance Report 2021.
Eco-responsibility and new notions of ownership
Similarly, McKinsey’s research identifies further trends in eco-responsibility and new notions of ownership, but it is far from alone in examining environmental risk. The Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2021, for example, highlights the risk of natural disaster in Asia as a result of accelerating urbanisation. It all adds up to a wide recognition of the need to take responsibility for the world around us, both at governmental and individual level.
Continuing this theme, Singapore – our home base – recently established a nationwide electric vehicle charging standard on the back of its commitment to run all vehicles on cleaner energy by 2040, providing a path for a sustainable transport system.
Our e-mobility product provides the necessary cover specifically for electrically powered vehicles. By making consumers pay only for the miles actually driven, we provide a direct monetary link and incentive to weight up the bicycle v car choice more often. Usage-based cover also pairs nicely with ‘on demand mobility’, where consumers lease vehicles for weeks or months, rather than owning them outright.
The vintage trend, which leans on consumers’ revived ownership pride, is very much alive and growing. Our items product supports it by providing cover for, for example, vintage handbags and sneakers, and many other valued assets that we will add to the KoverNow universe over time.
New channel mix, Asian brands, segment of one, and women’s empowerment
Consumers are happy to conduct banking and trading on the go, via an app, but they cannot buy a simple insurance product without having to go through quotes, calls, emails and sometimes even snail mail. We feel strongly that insurance is just another product and should be treated as such.
Asian branding requires the understanding of specific Asian circumstances. You will see us addressing these issues and tailoring our first life and health product accordingly.
The willingness of Asian consumers to share data for a specific purpose, leading to a better and more individualised service, plays strongly to the technical versatility of KoverNow’s app. Put simply, it provides consumers with a better result for less time and effort.
Women’s growing empowerment and financial independence is increasing the size of the consumer pie and therefore the market for items insurance. Again, this fits with our ethos of welcoming all customers, and providing our services across all products equally.
On the right lines
It seems to me that McKinsey’s 88 pages are indeed good news for KoverNow. Its views on the Asian consumer echo those of other respected researchers, convincing me that we‘ve made the right product design choices. If you’ll pardon the insurance pun, you could say we seem to be ‘on the right lines’!