Moving times, evolving business models: a Singapore observation
At the start of the new decade, there is a noticeable observation in how business models are evolving to satisfy the latest generation of working adults, notably labelled as Generation-Y or Millennials. In this aspect, companies are maximizing the way users interact on their mobile devices, which enjoys a high penetration rate of 154%[i] in Singapore. This means that in a single population, there is a huge majority of people with more than 2 SIM cards, hence exceeding 100%. In this regard, it is evident that companies are tapping on this phenomenon to belt out insurance coverage, a product that is often at the back of mind. This is changing with new partnerships between insurers and other service providers, building re-branding exercise and most importantly, seamless insurance offerings.
Observations in Singapore
To provide a better understanding from an insurer, Singapore Life, rebranded as SingLife, partners with Visa, to introduce a debit card from an insurance savings plan. This would allow flexible payment and drawdown from the customers, which in turns allow SingLife to provide life insurance coverage up to 5 percent of account value.
On the technology provider side, Grab’s insurance arm, GrabInsure, offers in-app purchase of in-demand travel insurance, in a partnership with Chubb. Titled ‘Travel Cover’, it is a new tile on the application interface and provides easy access for purchase of travel insurance. The aim is to provide accessible and affordable insurance, providing customer-centric solutions that addresses customers’ needs.
By looking into Singapore banks (DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and UOB Bank), digital retail banking strategies revolves around creating an omni-channel for customers on mobile devices. This allows customers to enjoy a seamless experience with banking; from account openings, payments to purchasing lifestyle options. Investment strategies are also shared through the mobile application. These experiences promote a customer-centric mindset, with opportunities for partnership in offerings, such as being able to purchase travel insurance through the digital banking application.
Customers at the heart of design
The above examples highlight the changing business requirements of today’s retail market and in order to stay relevant, businesses have evolved beyond their initial business goals. It is also observed that these companies in Singapore are offering a ‘360’ approach in meeting customers’ needs and covering the end-to-end customer journey. This is a strategy to maximize revenue at all possible angles, and it is a response to the changing nature of consumers. With the advent of products’ offerings, brand loyalty is not a priority, values are created only when it is able to solve customers’ problems. By offering convenience in an application, companies can offer value across a broad spectrum of customers’ needs. In return, companies can capture data points about their users, creating a more personalized service with analytical technologies.
Such models also set out to simplify processes and make applications customer-friendly. By combining the knowledge of experts in payments and insurance, companies such as these form a good symbiotic relationship in the market, creating a win-win for all parties in the ecosystem, in hopes of delivering service end to end.
However, there is a need to understand the core of the business. This means knowing the core spine of service as this will set the control for other offerings to branch in or out from. In this context, SingLife understood its key proposition as an insurer and Grab remain a core service provider for in-demand service (starting off as a ride-hailing application). By not straying from the main spine, there is a unified sense of engagement and recognition, but also enabling specialist-driven markets to flourish in partnerships.
From an observational perspective of news, the start of the new decade is set to be a time of changing business models and it will be interesting to see what follows as we progress.