China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co. Ltd. (CPIC; 02601.HK, 601601.CN) may not be the biggest among mainland insurers in terms of size, but it is actually scoring some points over its larger rivals in terms of technology.
The No. 3 insurer has been the first and also the only one in the sector so far to begin commercial application of electronic signatures that could give the firm a sharp competitive edge over its peers.
While e-signatures have been widely used abroad, both their development and application have lagged behind in China. That is until CPIC, with the help of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, concocted in October 2012 a homegrown electronic signature technology for the insurance underwriting business.
The virtues of e-signatures for insurers are evident. Due to the paperless processing, the entire workflow for taking out a life insurance policy with electronic signature authentication can be shortened by least four days, resulting in significant time and cost savings.
In fact, the growing acceptance of this innovative insurance approach has surpassed CPIC’s expectation. The insurer said more 680,000 clients have tried electronic signature over the last twelve months. E-signature applications accounted for 47 percent of its new business in October.
The potential of e-signature has yet to fully play out. With the secure authentication, China Pacific Insurance’s electronic signature technology can greatly bolster confidence for internet savvy customers. The company looks well positioned to grab more business online and tap into the emerging mobile channel.
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