Last Updated on Thursday, 2 September, 2021 at 9:42 am by Andre Camilleri
IVALIFE Insurance Limited is a new digital first, technology-driven life insurance company forging its own unique path within the life insurance sector, providing a range of smart life insurance products tailored to both individual and group needs. The Malta Business Weekly sits down with IVALIFE CEO, Mr Reuben Zammit
Can you give a roundup of the progress the company has made since its launch earlier this year, and what impact has Covid-19 had, if any, since the government introduced the Covid-19 schemes in relation to the tax when buying property?
Covid’s unprecedented reality has been no different for IVALIFE. The company’s strategic vision to invest in digital has alleviated some of these pressures, primarily the ability to acquire a policy through our online customer journey, a simple step by step process that can be completed in just a few minutes.
Moreover, Government’s announcement earlier this year to extend the property tax incentives to December 2021 also helped mitigate the downside risk of property related economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As for performance, we’re encouraged with the business registered so far, this credit to all stakeholders at IVALIFE and our customers for choosing to do business with us and embark with us on this interesting trajectory. We also remain cautiously optimistic about the expected levels of performance in the months ahead.
Interest is also gathering momentum on the online portal which reinforces the Company’s strategic decision to keep investing in digital.
As a digital-first service provider, what new technology has IVALIFE adopted to make it easier for consumers to invest in their future and protection?
IVALIFE is the first digital life insurer, offering not just online quotes for protection business but also extending the option to purchasing the preferred cover too. Our philosophy remains that of empowering customers to execute their needs online, conscious of society’s busy schedule.
We have also invested in an Agent’s Portal for all our distributors, which is easy to use and provides a reliable infrastructure through which they can issue illustrations and policies alike. The communication to our customers happens through a secure medium, the Customer Portal. The Customer has full visibility of policies held with IVALIFE including the status they are at.
How are the new technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Block chain going to disrupt the insurance industry and do you have any plans to adopt to these technologies?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) also known as machine learning tools are already being used in the industry in three main areas of an insurance operation. These are during the Customer on-boarding and product sales, with the use of robo-advisers which have at their core, AI techniques to advise potential customers or returning customers of the products/services that better fit their needs. Claims processing which can be very technical and complex for the average insurance customer to comprehend and fill in correctly is another area. Robo-advisors are also being used at this stage of the policy life cycle to support customers in the registration of claims. AI is also used in the assessment of claims either in support of the claims assessing process or even replacing humans in the claims assessments providing more consistent and faster results. The third areas is for on-going anti money laundering checks / anti-fraud detection, when screening clients and their transactions. So called “on-going monitoring” of clients and their transactions now-a-days almost certainly use machine learning technology to identify fraudulent patterns of behaviour.
As for block chain, this will have a major impact on the industry as long as the underlying technology can guarantee speed of reaction. Currently the underlying technology may have a response issue as every contract will need to be verified and this verification process is quite technology hungry. However, in any industry, such as the insurance industry, that is built on the notion of providing a contract lends itself perfectly to being managed through a block chain. The technology provides for a seamless and paperless confirmation of contracts that can provide to the insurance company, the policyholders and any interested and authorised third party/ies access to the same contract of insurance, provide the necessary guarantees of genuineness and depending on authority assigned, the possibilities of tracing and tracking amendments to the contract of insurance.
Which of your products has shown to be more successful or popular to date and what growth prospects do you foresee in coming years?
We are in our sixth month of this interesting journey. Our current product offerings, both with profits savings plans and the protection products are successful as they address different needs. We are conscious of other niche needs that we are exploring to continue building on our business momentum.
We are also working to expand further our product suite by adding other affordable offerings to compliment the current, thus allowing for a wider selection of choice for our customers.
Globally, online and digital selling of insurance products is gaining momentum. How far do you believe the online channel will be successful in life insurance industry?
Life insurance has traditionally been in person business. Moving away from this, will take time and constant educational campaigning. Clearly, there is a market appetite for life insurers to move to online direct sales as the technology exists. However, there are also a few factors that work in the opposite direction, two of the more important being the regulatory framework that one has to go by and the underwriting process which is still heavy at instances. We do believe that the future for standard life insurance protection is online. We are already there and will continue working to simplify this journey for our customers. This is what IVALIFE stand for.