Demand for insurance products grows across Asia: survey

Tracy Li
Amid growing concerns about protection, about three-quarters of respondents on the Chinese mainland said they recently engaged their insurer or researched riders or new policies.
Tracy Li

Over a quarter of respondents in four major Asia-Pacific markets are worried about how they will come out of the COVID-19 pandemic financially, while many are prioritizing insurance as a "must-have" at this time, a new Swiss Re survey shows.

Among 2,500 polled residents in Australia, Singapore, Chinese mainland and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, 27 percent were "anxious" and "overwhelmed" about their finances at this time, while around 40 percent in all markets surveyed said they were "stretched but coping."

At least three-quarters of respondents on the Chinese mainland said they recently engaged their insurer, or researched riders or new policies. From that number, more than half noticed new or additional benefits they were not aware of before. That is in contrast to Australia, where only 14 percent researched or engaged their insurer.

More Australians are willing to sacrifice their life insurance over home or car insurance, while on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong, very few are willing to forgo their life insurance payments. A quarter in Singapore and one-in-five in Hong Kong would let go of their home or car insurance if pressed financially.

Aside from sickness and social disruption, Australians are worried about their mental health, while Singaporeans fret about their inability to care for others. Lack of exercise is a much bigger concern for those in Hong Kong and Chinese mainland relative to Australians.

For a majority of respondents in the four markets surveyed, selecting an insurer able to process their policies online from start to finish was a priority, with Chinese respondents topping the survey at 77 percent.

Respondents were also asked what sort of services would add the most impact to their policies, either current or future. Immediate financial aid was a requirement in Singapore (57 percent), Hong Kong (47 percent) and Australia (44 percent). Priority access to health-care products such as face masks and medication is the service that respondents in Hong Kong (66 percent) and Chinese mainland (67 percent) were looking for.

“The pandemic environment raises awareness of people's needs for protection. The results of our survey give us a lot of clues about these needs and consumer preferences going forward,” said Russell Higginbotham, CEO of Swiss Re Asia Ltd.

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