How AIA Singapore plans to better serve employees and customers through digital transformation

This post is sponsored by AIA Singapore.

As a leading life insurer with a 90-year history in Singapore, AIA has shown no signs of slowing down. On the contrary, during COVID-19 pandemic last year, AIA doubled down on enhancing service continuity as circuit-breaker measures tightened, while finding new ways to help customers maintain their financial, physical, and mental wellness holistically amid a lockdown.

Melita Teo, chief customer and digital officer at AIA Singapore credits the firm’s agility and rapid embracing of the new normal to having started its digital transformation even before the COVID-19 outbreak. When customer interactions, standard operating protocols, and consumption habits changed seemingly overnight, early digitalisation was what placed AIA in good stead to continue supporting customers without interruption.

In this conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Teo (pictured) shares more about AIA’s people-first mantra and how its digitalisation roadmap underpins its commitment to helping customers live "Healthier, Longer, Better Lives" no matter what the circumstances.

1. What is AIA's definition of digital transformation?

Teo: Building a simpler, faster, and more connected organisation to become a truly digital-first insurer. We are using technology to enhance the human experience, not replace people. Leveraging both high-tech and high-touch elements is critical to fulfilling our commitment of enabling healthier, longer, better lives.

2. What are some immediate employee and customer needs the brand plans to solve through digital transformation?

Teo: One of the most significant impact COVID-19 has had on businesses is the shift to online. Prior to the pandemic, digital adoption rates were already high with younger users who are accustomed to interacting and transacting online. Social distancing and lockdowns have spurred more mature customers to explore digital channels.

As an essential service provider, it is crucial we facilitate this transition to make it as seamless and user-friendly as possible, for our customers.

Service quality is an often-overlooked factor in building long-term relationships and brand love as well as retaining customer loyalty. Emerging technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, and machine learning are just some of the tools being harnessed to develop a more personalised user experience. Properly leveraged, these can help us better understand customers from identifying their current preferences and stage of life to anticipating their future needs so we can innovate to better meet our their evolving needs.

3. How do you get employees to understand the need for digital transformation?

Teo: It is important to help our colleagues understand that while jobs might evolve in the next decade, it’s the people and culture that will make a difference. Going back to what I mentioned earlier, technology is an enabler, not replacement for human beings.

Workforce transformation is key to the successful digitalisation of any business. We have, and will, continue to invest heavily in upskilling and reskilling employees. For instance, we have invested in platforms and tools to automate manual tasks, freeing up time for our Service Centre team to focus on connecting with customers.

4. Besides AIA NOW, what are some green shoots you've witnessed from your efforts?

Teo: One example that stands out is the success of our ‘My AIA SG’ customer portal and mobile app. This is a customer-centric superapp that allows users to make up to 28 different types of service-requests – the widest digital customer service coverage in the insurance industry. Currently, more than 60 percent of AIA policyholders are active users on the platform and an astounding 90 per cent of all customer service requests are submitted digitally. This is further testament of how technology can be used to address and resolve user queries in real-time.

At AIA, we are also a firm believer that insurance companies should always be looking for a reason to pay a claim and not reasons to not pay a claim. It is important we provide our customers with the best quality of service and are there for them when they need us most. Hence, we streamlined and simplified the claim process with ‘Claims EZ’, a fully integrated end-to-end digital claims platform built in partnership with AiDA Technologies.

Today, 100% of AIA HealthShield claims are assessed by AI technology. Claims pay-outs are now disbursed instantaneously and directly into customers’ bank accounts by leveraging PayNow’s infrastructure.

5. What are the main focus areas for your 2021 digital transformation plan?

Teo: Simply put, our main focus is in deploying technology, data, and analytics to transform the experience of our customers, distributors, partners, and employees. This will enable us to accelerate our growth, achieve greater efficiency, and ultimately drive better customer outcomes.

By the end of 2021, we plan to emerge a transformed business, considered amongst the most nimble and forward-thinking businesses in the world.

Ultimately, this investment in digitalisation is aimed at strengthening our comprehensive health and wellness proposition. Whether it's expediting the claims process through our Claims EZ platform, teaming up with telemedicine providers such as WhiteCoat to enhance customers’ access to healthcare, or developing data-driven solutions to improve holistic wellness, all of these efforts ladder back to fulfilling our brand promise of bringing healthier, longer, better lives to more people.

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