Manulife expands product offering online

By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Manulife Insurance Bhd launches its maiden online purchasing platform as a bid to promote a diversification channel and reach out to wider audience for its products.

The newly launched platform provides a direct distribution channel with a more affordable product offering.

CEO Mark O’Dell said the online platform is expected to aid in increasing the life insurance’s penetration rate in Malaysia.

“The digital platform gives the customers opportunity to learn about life protection on their own and allows for a hassle-free insurance purchase.

“This is also in line with Bank Negara Malaysia’s initiative to promote diversification channels in insurance companies to promote wider reach for insurance products,” he said at the launch of ManulifeNow.com.my yesterday.

“We see this as a startup that has a potential contributing factor to our main business. Although at present, it is not a significant part of Manulife Insurance, we want to learn more and prepare to invest,” he said.

“As we are just testing the water, there is only one Manu- life’s life protection product available on the platform that you could not get from the traditional medium.

“But we are planning to roll out policies on medical and critical unit that is expected to be introduced in the second to third quarter of 2018, as we are preparing to roll out digital means that enable our advisors and bank partners to explain insurance policy through digital platforms,” O’Dell said.

Still, O’Dell added the firm is currently setting the bar low for the platform as it is their first attempt at digital sales.

“The goal for this platform is rather modest, because Malaysians do not have the routine to buy insurance online.”

“Our target will be 100 to below 1,000 people registered per year as it is not expected to be a huge part of our business at this stage,” he said.

Although the current sentiment for digital transaction in insurance purchasing has been lacklustre, O’Dell is positive that it will be well received for the next couple of years.

At the moment, the platform offers a life protection policy, namely ManuProtect, which offers term product from as low as 15 sen a day, with a minimum coverage of RM50,000.