The pandemic has prompted a much higher level of interest in new or additional insurance coverage across most APAC markets

Swiss Re has released its 2022 Global COVID-19 Consumer Survey, which surveyed 11,000 consumers across 20 markets globally.

The survey reveals that the pandemic has led to a greater focus on health and financial security globally, resulting in more online insurance purchases and a greater willingness to share personal health data, especially among the younger generation.

In Asia Pacific, consumers are expressing more concern about their physical and mental health resilience due to the pandemic, especially for the younger age group.

Across most APAC markets, a higher percentage of people have experienced mental (30%) than physical health deterioration (23%). This is a concern especially among the younger cohort.

The pandemic has prompted a much higher level of interest in new or additional insurance coverage across most APAC markets. Purchase intentions are high, especially among the younger populations. Purchase intentions are highest in Vietnam (75%), India (73%), and mainland China (60%).

John Zhu, chief economist Asia, Swiss Re said, “Close to three years on, Covid-19 still extracts a toll on economies as well as consumers’ financial, physical and mental health. However, we are seeing signs that consumers are adapting by more actively seeking help and coverage through digital channels.”

Building societal resilience

Huey Fang Chen, Head Health Solutions Groups Life & Health Asia, Swiss Re said “Overall, the global pandemic is a call to action for insurers to help close the protection gap in Life & Health insurance.

“By understanding consumer perception around health and financial security, attitudes towards digital applications, and the factors that influence insurance purchasing decisions, the re/insurance industry can work with governments and consumers to strengthen physical and mental wellbeing to build societal resilience in a ‘new normal’ world.”

Digital touchpoints for health management have gained popularity across APAC – consumers look beyond online purchase and management of insurance policies. Health and wellness apps continued to attract high interest (67% of respondents have used, are using, will continue to use or will use in the future) in most APAC markets.

Affordability and policy coverage continues to be what people value the most when selecting insurance products.

In Singapore, consumers have become more concerned about their overall health as a result of COVID-19. They have also expressed greater interest in associated insurance solutions.

Over 40% of Singapore consumers (vs 39% in Advanced APAC markets) have taken actions to improve their mental health post-pandemic. 

Daisy Ning, head of Life & Health Asia, Swiss Re said The prolonged pandemic has led to an increase in consumers’ openness towards health management and insurance purchasing through digital channels globally.

“Our recent survey results reveal more respondents are now open to buying insurance from non-traditional channels such as e-wallets.

”This provides insurers an opportunity to leverage on multiple digital touchpoints to expand whole life-cycle management services, especially to younger tech-savvy ‘digital natives’ while at the same time urging our sector to improve underwriting efficiency and accelerate product innovation.”