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Breaking Down the Digital Insurance Ecosystem in APAC

Breaking Down the Digital Insurance Ecosystem in APAC

Raphael P. Young has over 25 years of experience working in leading financial institutions, technology companies and “Big 4” management consulting firms. Throughout his professional career, he has lived in the UK, Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong, where he worked on various projects across APAC. With engagements in strategy, operations and technology, he has helped financial services institutions innovate and transform.

Raphael is passionate about helping clients create value and believes that technology blended with engineering and design can be the differentiated value proposition to generate success.

In this interview, Mr. Young shares his thoughts on trends that are driving the digital insurance ecosystem in APAC.

Having worked in the industry for many years, what continues to excite you about the work?

As a management consultant driven to solve clients’ challenges, I get excited in the morning to work with like-minded EPAMers to bring the right quality mix of expertise and solutions to our clients. My curiosity helps to challenge the status quo and bring fresh innovative approaches.

What is driving the insurance landscape in APAC today?

There are three compelling factors driving the insurance landscape in APAC. The first is digital transformation. All insurers, large and small, are embarking on this journey – with some more mature and advanced than others. This need for transformation is primarily driven by customers demanding a simple, easy and convenient insurance experience.

The second factor is the embedded ecosystem play, where insurers are driving growth in new business and forging new partners with third parties in other industries – such as retail, travel, telco, eCommerce, and most prominently, banking – who have an attractive customer base. For a smooth and seamless customer experience, insurers need an integrated platform to support the various partners on board to provide scale and efficiency.

The third factor that is becoming a powerful force is ESG. Insurers have a major role to play in sustainability initiatives, as well as in social aspects like financial inclusion, equal opportunity, and a diverse and an inclusive workforce in a robust governance model. The people, processes and technology are vital to embracing the development of ESG. For example, insurers can track their environmental impact with a performance dashboard so that data-driven insights can inform their future decision-making.

Can you provide some examples of a digital insurance ecosystem?

There are many digital insurance ecosystem plays in Asia among most of the large multinationals in life insurance. Some of the most prominent integrated ecosystems in the market today include AIA Vitality, AXA Emma, Manulife Move and Prudential Pulse. On the non-life side, Sompo has various partners in the region, such as retailer Lazada in the Philippines, telcos LINE and AIS in Thailand and the eCommerce platform Bukalapak in Indonesia. The value in this approach is that insurers can leverage not only the analytics and insights generated from their own data, but also from their partner ecosystem data to help inform and then transform the customer experience. For example, AIA Vitality has a very different data set than Prudential Pulse with different AI and analytics tools to collect, track, monitor and measure products, services and experiences.

What strategies and approaches are insurance companies taking to implement digital insurance?

Insurers are learning what it means to be customer-centric instead of policy-centric. We recently explored this topic in our report The Digital Paradox. Being customer-centric could mean integrating the agent seamlessly into the buying journey and enabling the customer to feel supported when analyzing multiple insurance policy criteria and making a decision.

Tailoring customer education to what consumers are looking for and making it relevant for them will help them feel confident about their online and offline decisions, as well as direct and intermediated buying decisions. For example, supplement traditional content with videos embedded directly in the policy calculator and enable customers to connect with an agent.

What would be your advice to insurers who are looking to restructure their organization and deploy both traditional and innovative strategies?

The insurance customer journey is transforming at the speed of technology. As new touchpoints emerge, insurers are often playing catch up. Understanding the customers’ needs should extend to more than the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the products they are interested in. It includes the buying habits and behaviors that are crucial to supporting consumers in making buying decisions.

It is crucial for insurers to map the customer journey before starting to digitize. A well-crafted customer journey map identifies and addresses each buyer’s issues, pain points and friction. This builds a better understanding of the customer experience, helps to identify ways of improving it, and can help increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, driving more sales and revenue.

Where do you see your role in the digital insurance ecosystem?

My aspiration is to work closely with our clients and play an integral part in providing end-to-end services – from the initial ideation to design and engineering to delivering software and customer experience that change the powerful dynamics for our clients. Depending on the maturity of the client, some programs or projects might be better suited than others, but it’s our job to determine the right resources and experts required based on our specific client needs.  

Interested in continuing the conversation? Raphael P. Young can be contacted at


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