Insurtech is gaining traction in insurance companies of all sizes, which adopt digital technologies to help them become more innovative, efficient, and competitive. Blue Cross has been embracing digital innovation over the years, aiming to deliver a convenient, efficient, and secure insurance experience to both corporate and individual customers in Hong Kong.
“We’ve been an insurtech pioneer and have adopted a forerunner approach in providing all-round online insurance services since 2000, offering a paperless, convenient, and efficient service experience to our customers,” said Patrick Wan, managing director at Blue Cross (Asia-Pacific) Insurance Ltd in an interview with Computerworld Hong Kong.
According to Wan, the insurer started to adopt paperless operation and online enrolment in the year 2000. Its first digitalized insurance service is travel insurance, enabling customers to buy it online anytime. Since then, the insurer has been investing in insurtech to enhance its products and services. Currently, 13 personal insurance products are available for online enrolment covering travel insurance, medical insurance, and general insurance. Eight insurance products are available for online renewal such as domestic helper, personal accident, and pet care insurance policies.
The insurer extended its online services from insurance enrolment to insurance claims in 2018. An e-claims platform was launched in July 2018, which offers a simple and convenient online travel insurance claims service for customers. Customers can submit travel insurance claims online by inputting their types of claims and uploading supporting documents via the e-claims platform. The payment of claim can be made directly to customers by autopay.
Blue Cross further drives service innovation by integrating disruptive technologies into medical insurance services. Last month, the insurer launched a mobile app with blockchain-enabled medical claim service for both individual and group medical insurance customers. The app was jointly developed by Blue Cross and a local homegrown startup MediConCen within nine months. It provides medical insurance services including search location-based network for doctors or clinics nearby by GPS, QR code check-in and payment, instant submission of outpatient claims, aiming to make medical insurance digital, paperless, and cashless.
“We strive to enhance the customer experience in three aspects—prompt, reliable, and convenient,” Wan said. “Medical claims involve three parties including insurance companies, doctors’ network, and customers. Blockchain-enabled medical insurance mobile app has demonstrated our determination to achieve these three aspects.”
Wan noted that the app helps speed up the medical consultation and claims processes through the use of blockchain and a range of new technologies. Customers can enjoy instant check-in and payment at designated clinics with QR code. Customers’ outpatient claims can also be instantly submitted to Blue Cross right after their medical consultation. The approval process can be completed in three working days. Customers can also check their benefits details, claim status, and claim history via the app.
Customers’ privacy and data security can be protected with the use of this blockchain-enabled app. “We use private-permissioned blockchain in which only authorized parties are allowed to participate and access data on the blockchain,” said William Yeung, co-founder and CEO at MediConCen. “Every identifier on the blockchain is tokenized, preventing potential hacking or data leakage.”
The app will soon be able to support the network doctor appointment function. More types of doctors will be included in the medical network including Chinese medicine practitioners, bone-setters, and acupuncturists.
In addition, the functions of the app will be further extended later this year. Effective in the second quarter, the app will cover general insurance products including travel, home protection, and pet care products. Customers can enroll and renew these insurance policies as well as submitting claims via the app. In the last quarter of this year, the chatbot feature will be added to the app to handle customer inquiries round the clock.
Blockchain technology brings benefits to both customers and Blue Cross. “Apart from enhancing customer experience, blockchain also brings operational efficiency and cost savings to us,” said Mourice Pang, CTO at Blue Cross. “We can reduce administrative work, human errors in data processing, and the printing of physical medical cards.”
Other emerging technologies
Pang added that robotic process automation was adopted earlier this year to automate some backend processes such as claims processing, policies administration, and customer services.
Blue Cross is also exploring the use of other emerging technologies such as AI and big data analytics in different aspects like streamlining business operations and customer services. “We keep our eyes open for new technologies,” said Wan.
First published on Computerworld Hong Kong