KUCHING: The Covid-19 pandemic is a blessing in disguise for the insurance industry which has surprisingly witnessed an unexpected increase in demands from the public to buy insurance policies and medical plans.
Choo Hong Wee, Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad (Prudential) unit manager based in Kuching, disclosed that his team had been registering good sales during this pandemic.
He pointed out that his team had witnessed an increase of 120 percent in their sales growth for this year compared to 2020.
“The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on this industry as more people seem to be more aware of the importance of life insurance in this moment of crisis.
“Many people have approached our team personally to get to know more about the different policies and some of our clients have requested us to review their existing policies, too,” he explained.
Choo encouraged those who had not yet insured themselves or their loved ones to get in touch with an insurance agent for consultation.
“Insurance policies are transparent with all terms and conditions clearly written in the document. Besides, it does not cost you anything to get to know more about them by speaking to an agent.
“You do not have to make any decision on the spot so you should at least give yourself a chance to get to know how insurance can help individuals and families,” he said.
Phang Li Siang, 36, an insurance agent with Prudential, said, “When the pandemic became serious, my clients would call me and ask for a review of the insurance policies they purchased. Most of them wanted to find out if the insurance policies they purchased provided enough coverage and wondered if their medical cards covered Covid-19.”
She added that friends and family members who had not purchased any insurance policies also started approaching her.
“In my opinion, an insurance policy has become one of the basic necessities for people in the current era because anything can happen. In the event of a medical emergency that incurs high charges, having an insurance policy will lessen their burden and worries,” she explained.
Phang added that the pandemic had also changed the way insurance agents approached new clients.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, it was challenging to get new clients as we used to rely on roadshows and door-to-door approach. Now, we get existing clients to refer their friends and families to us
“By posting new information on the social media, we are also able to engage with potential clients. In a way, the pandemic has made it easier for us to close sales. Now, I am able to meet potential and new clients virtually via Zoom which saves time and costs,” she said.
Deandra Faith Dublin Unting, 20, a Prudential wealth planner, said there was still a need to create awareness and disseminate knowledge about the concept of insurance along with its benefits to the people.
She said while the market demand for insurance policies was good during the current Covid-19 pandemic, there were still many challenges which agents must overcome.
“As a newbie in this industry, I have to learn how to manage objections and rejections from people who do not accept the concept of insurance.
“Insurance is something that people do not really talk or think about unless a mishap or an accident happens,” she said.
Deandra added that the pandemic had encouraged many local insurance companies to create new remote sales option features like virtual face-to-face (VF2F).
Like Phang, she pointed out that wealth planners or insurance agents could now easily reach out to their potential clients online, especially during the movement control order (MCO).
“I find that making sure the clients are properly insured with the right coverage is more challenging than getting new clients. It usually takes me 10 minutes to share with them that they can live peacefully if they have created wealth and financial protection for themselves and their families.
“However, it has become easier to raise awareness through social medial platform about how essential it is to insure yourself and to stay financially protected.
“Times are changing and as your lifestyle becomes more expensive, so does your life value,” she said.
Siti Rahmah Wan Yusof, 45, an AXA Life insurance agent from Seiji139 Mangagement Unit Kuching, revealed that medical card plans were heavily sought after because of their affordability.
She said medical card plans often offered good coverage with low prices. Hence, many find them appealing.
“Although during this pandemic many people have either lost their jobs or see a slash in their pay checks, at the same time, they understand the need to be medically insured.
“Another policy that people are looking for is life insurance or Hibah largely due to fear of death during this period of uncertainty and the financial risks related to sudden passing of the breadwinner of the family,” she explained.
“There is definitely more awareness of the need for insurance protection as we have experienced an increase in the number of calls and queries from people about the best medical plan to suit their needs and budgets.
“People are obviously worried not only by the increasing Covid-19 cases and the overcrowding of hospitals by Covid-19 patients who are given top priority over other medical matters.
“Thus, most people are advised to seek treatment at private hospitals and they are aware this is not cheap,” she said.
Noor Azizah Narani, 28, another Prudential wealth planner, said the demand for medical protection was still high during the pandemic.
“However, I do understand if some people are still sceptical about insurance probably because of their previous experiences.
“I advise them to talk to an agent for consultation and let him or her know what their concerns are,” she added.