For some time, the insurance industry has been perceived to be slow in responding to change.
Nevertheless, Prudential appears to be trying to break free from this perception by reinventing itself through partnering with the newest breed of technology-powered companies.
Currently, the insurance giant is pursuing its latest venture, harnessing AI’s potential for preventative healthcare.
Prudential Singapore’s Head of Strategic Engagements Kalai Natarajan said that the entry of preventative healthcare, artificial intelligence-based solutions, as well as big data and analytics are “changing the face of traditional insurance”.
“The insurance industry is undergoing an innovation-led transformation,” said Natarajan.
In 2017, Prudential invested S$70 million in technology in Singapore alone.
The insurance group intends to continue investing £300 million(S$545.4 million) yearly in technology across Asia in an attempt to automate the business, particularly from onboarding and customer acquisition, to claims payment and servicing.
“These investments have helped us create great customer experiences, work smarter, and support our financial consultants as they provide customers with valuable advice and solutions in meeting their changing needs.”
Kalai Natarajan also added that the insurance industry needs to “re-evaluate its role in our ecosystem to address and manage rising healthcare costs”.
“At Prudential, we are investing in preventative healthcare because we see a need to move away from the traditional role of underwriting a life, collecting a premium and paying for treatment when the person falls sick.”
The region is also experiencing a rise in the demand for healthcare.
There has been rapid population increment in emerging nations like Indonesia and Philippines, whereas developed countries like Singapore are characterized by aging populations.
Ms. Nataraj said: “Our research revealed that over half of Singapore’s residents are not ready to live to 100 from a health and wellness perspective. As an insurer, we believe we have a role to play to help our customers live longer and better.”
“Healthcare is a data-intensive domain,” she said. “Medical professionals depend on volumes of patient data every day for analysis and diagnosis of a patient’s condition. AI changes this by enabling them to process data more quickly, make diagnoses more efficiently, as well as better manage the many administrative tasks that eat up time.”
Individuals will also benefit from this technology. Kalai Natarajan claimed that they can “better manage their personal health and fitness with the help of AI-based health tracking and coaching applications as well as wearables and food diaries that can track their patterns and behaviors and provide useful information and insights”.
As such, starting 2019, Prudential is expected to release an AI-driven health and wellness platform to its Singapore-based customers.
It has the backing of four technology applications including MyFiziq, WellteQ, DocDoc and Babylon Health, all of which are expected to be integrated into the health and wellness ecosystem.
Babylon Health combines medical expertise with AI technology to provide 24-hour access to health tools, triage, and digital health assessment.
Alternatively, DocDoc utilizes artificial intelligence in matching patient needs with an ideal physician, specifically from their network of over 23,000 doctors across Asia.
MyFiziq and WellteQ will also be integrated into the platform.
The former utilizes 3D imaging in helping users to not only track but also assess the impact that fitness programmes have on their physique in the long run, whereas the latter is a digital health platform based in Singapore.
The platform will avail three tools to its users including wellness coaching and activity tracking, doctor discovery and virtual consultation, and AI-symptom checking and health risk assessment.
In a hypothetical case, a person who is unwell may first utilize the AI-symptom and health risk assessment feature not only to gain a better understanding of the symptoms but also establish what his or her health situation could be.
Then, the person can make use of the doctor discovery and virtual consultation tool in an effort to connect with a general practitioner.
On a daily basis, the wellness coaching and activity tracking tool will assist people in monitoring their health and provide them with digital coaching, particularly on how to live a healthy life.
Also, some of the apps are currently available to corporate clients and employees.
Partnerships with technology startups represent how Prudential intends to tap into the power of startups both locally and abroad in a bid to develop digital solutions for its clients.
Prudential has also entered into a strategic collaboration with the UK-based Institute 4 Entrepreneurship, Singapore Fintech Association, and Infocomm Media Development Authority, specifically to benefit from their global and regional networks and reach out to overseas technology communities.