Asian insurers fail to understand barriers to digital growth – EY

Asian insurers fail to understand the barriers that prevent digital growth, a global insurance survey by accountants EY has found.

The firm explained that the region’s digital maturity continues to lag behind its European and North American peers – a sentiment also reflected in financial projections for future digital expenditure.

Of the100 global insurers surveyed, an alarming 79% of Asian insurers did not know or disclose current levels of digital spend, compared with 40%of insurers globally.

Additionally 58% of Asian insurers project an increase in future digital spend compared with 81% of global respondents.

“This may reflect the greater geographic complexity of the region or deferral of strategic planning to the group level at this point in time,” the report explained.

Insurers appear to prioritise sale targets over digital growth, another reason cited for Asia’s slow digital growth.

The report said: “In 2013, GDP growth for Asia is forecast at 5.75% compared with a 3.25% global average. Such prosperity combined with lower insurance penetration and density rates in the region means digital innovation has not been considered necessary to secure customer growth.

“Instead, insurers have historically focused on targeting market share, often by expanding their sale forces. This may explain why regional respondents rate the consequences of not embracing digital significantly below global levels.”

Additionally, regulatory issues appear to be of a greater concern. Some 44% of Asian respondents blamed regulations for hindering digital development.