Four trends and developments to watch out for in 2020

20 Dec 2019


From navigating global economic uncertainties, to addressing the impact of climate change and technological disruption, 2019 has truly been an eventful year for businesses globally. 

With the year coming to a close, I have kept my wrap up post decidedly on the prominent trends that will shape the insurance industry.

5G data-centric future

From security woes to espionage concerns, no other tech buzzword has dominated the headlines this year more than 5G. The promise of a super-speed network has captivated the imagination of many, with some even predicting that 5G will usher a new round of global technology competition. 

As the world becomes more and more integrated with smart tech supported by 5G, insurers can expect faster digital interactions and enhanced data sharing, which will enable them to better serve their customers in terms of personalisation and risk prevention.  

The rise of 5G powering the next generation of tech will be a closely watched space. And with the new national AI strategy that Singapore is looking to implement, sectors such as transport and healthcare will be the first movers in using AI, which could dramatically alter the insurance landscape that we know of.

Increased ecosystem play

The shift towards an ecosystem play has been a powerful reminder during my participation at the recent Singapore Fintech Festival. Will we see a converging and blurring of sector boundaries before a re-order? 

Already, tech companies are replicating services that are currently provided by financial institutions, and e-commerce sites are bundling insurance with the buying experience. Earlier this year, Singapore has also announced that it will issue digital bank licenses which will give non-banking players a chance at the pie. On other fronts, digital innovations are also changing the nature of competition. In the US, Facebook has recently launched a new health tool available within its app to remind users to get preventive care - a function that typically lies with the healthcare or insurance industry. 

Embedding ourselves to become a bigger part of our customers’ lives have led to the age of ecosystems – and insurers will need to increasingly seek new ways to collaborate and connect with digital partners, to deepen customer engagement.

Age of no age

The Millennials are inheriting the future but it’s the Perennials who are defining it. Much has been said about how Millennials will redefine the business landscape in the next decade but it’s the Perennials who will be a force to be reckoned with.

As life expectancy continues to rise, people are staying fit and active well after retirement. Perennials are defying what is ‘old’, consuming and enjoying life just like Millennials. Age is like they say, just a number.

At some point, we need to obsess less about age even from a business viewpoint. The society will lean towards being more inclusive, and this means designing products that are highly targeted by psychographics (not demographics) to woo customers who are defined by their passions and interests in life.

A greener world

Climate change is a pressing topic as seen around the world and will not be losing steam anytime soon. This growing awareness on environmental risks and customer expectations will continue to put pressures on businesses to take proactive measures and integrate sustainability into their operations.

In Singapore, MAS is leading the way to supercharge green finance initiatives and will be releasing the Environmental Risk Management Guidelines. Building financial system resilience to environmental risks is the key to our transition to a sustainable world and the new guidelines will help drive greater market understanding in this area. 

I’m optimistic that there will be more transformative efforts going forth to encourage sustainability initiatives and climate-friendly innovations. At the centre of which, all businesses can play a key role and make a meaningful difference in protecting the environment.

2019 has certainly been a ride of its own. I will leave the rest of the space for the unknown and more dialogue on the trends ahead.

In the meantime, happy holidays!

The article was contributed by Craig Ellis, CEO, MSIG Insurance (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.