Insurance is one of the most important and established businesses in Hong Kong.
The future of the insurance industry is closely correlated to broader economic and social trends.
In particular, the aging population, the public’s increased health awareness, and technology development bring different opportunities to the insurance industry.
Our society faces significant challenges as a result of its aging population: a considerable increase in medical expenditures, the absence of comprehensive retirement programs, and a shrinking labor force are some of the major concerns that exist today.
According to the Census and Statistics Department, the proportion of Hong Kong’s elderly residents aged 65 and over will significantly increase to 36 percent by 2064, compared with 15 percent in 2014.
The aging population recognizes how important it is to plan ahead for retirement and make provisions accordingly, in order to prevent a vacuum of income and protection when they will no longer be entitled to salary and healthcare protection offered by employers upon retirement.
As a result, there is an increasing demand for retirement and medical needs, and critical illness plans.
Recently, several insurance companies have launched a spectrum of savings insurance products better adapted to the needs of today’s pensioners.
These products provide long-term and stable returns for policy holders, who can choose to withdraw the benefits under the policy as a lump sum or periodically.
For example, a policyholder can either withdraw a lump-sum for specific needs, like world travel, or receive an annual return in order to cater for everyday needs and medical expenses.
They can also choose to pass the benefits on to the next generation or to their beneficiaries.
With the quality of life in Hong Kong improving, its residents are also becoming more health conscious.
Additionally, people are more knowledgeable than ever on different health issues, particularly those reported in the news.
As a result, there are increasing numbers of health insurance products addressing specific concerns, such as critical illness and urban epidemics.
There are, in fact, critical illness insurance products covering more than 130 critical illnesses and providing comprehensive protection to the customers available in the market.
As an example, breast cancer is the leading cancer affecting women in Hong Kong . Last year, MetLife Limited conducted a Breast Cancer Survey which helped lead to a better understanding of the health protection gap of consumers.
Despite a high proportion of Hong Kong customers having medical insurance, it was evident that there was strong potential for a new breast cancer product in the market.
In response, one insurance company has now introduced the Breast Cancer Protector, the first online insurance product in Hong Kong to provide insurance coverage for breast cancer on top of the critical illness plan.
Use of technology
With digital advancements and growing investments, there are increasing numbers of technology solutions designed to address the issues of the aging population and specific illnesses in society.
Big data has become a fundamental tool for analyzing and monitoring the health conditions of seniors and patients who suffer from long-term diseases.
Furthermore, for the insurance industry, where word-of-mouth and credibility are important factors for consumers in making purchasing decisions, taking advantage of social media can improve information transparency, and enhance the dialogue between customers and insurance companies.
Customers can react and provide feedback more quickly and efficiently, and it is a helpful resource for insurance companies in designing and developing products to reflect customers’ needs.
Customers turn to their insurers at some of the most challenging times of their lives, and it is the responsibility of insurance companies to listen to their customers’ needs.
A growing concern over health and wellbeing, as well as advances in technology, has led to the introduction of innovative tools and products from Hong Kong’s insurance industry.
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