AIG Malaysia recently marked its countdown towards its global centennial year with a special media briefing that celebrated its 66 years of safeguarding Malaysia while also identifying four key risk areas in 2019 amidst changing lifestyles and the advancement of technology.
Antony Lee, CEO of AIG Malaysia identified high-risk areas for businesses and individuals and earmarked road safety, cyber security, protection for SMEs and travellers as the leading general insurer’s key focuses in 2019.
Mobile app to inculcate better driving habits
Tackling road safety and high mortality rates head on should be the chief concern of any responsible insurer. In 2017, the Ministry of Transport reported 533,875 road accident cases nationwide and over 6,700 fatalities. AIG will be introducing an intelligent mobile app in 2019 which utilises telematics to engage with Malaysians and inculcate safer driving habits via gamification.
“Technology has allowed us to locate and manage real-time risks as we improve road safety standards for drivers and pedestrians alike. In line with our #AIGJagaYou promise, we will leverage data-driven insights from our mobile app, along with our claims experience, to cultivate better driving behaviours nationwide. This effort is also in line with the liberalisation of motor insurance where premiums are now heavily influenced by driver risk profiles,” Lee said.
Demand for cyber-protection to rise
As a leading Cyber insurer in Malaysia, AIG looks forward to the National Cyber Security Policy next year to safeguard the interests of individuals and businesses. With the advent of big data and the Internet of Things, demand for cyber-protection has exploded in recent years.
In Greater China last year, AIG saw an 87% increase in cyber submissions following the WannaCry cyberattack - more than double the 38% increase in cyber submissions that AIG observed globally. There was also a 75% increase in total cyber insurance claims from 2016 to 2017.
AIG anticipates that local demand for cyber-protection against data breaches, identity theft, and malware will rise. With its CyberEdge insurance that combines expertise from ICT services and solutions provider Dimension Data, AIG has extensively qualified Cyber Breach Response and Claims teams at hand to support clients at their most vulnerable moments during cyber-related exposures - providing proactive risk services, comprehensive insurance coverage, and long-standing breach response and claims teams to help stay ahead of a disaster.
85% of SMEs underinsured and at risk
AIG has also recognised the need to protect Malaysian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) against the unforeseen risks beyond the obvious perils. According to AIG claims data, fire accounted for most SME claims in the last three years, and claims count and claim amount for fire losses also increased year-on-year in 2017.
Despite the increase, only close to 15% chose to purchase business interruption insurance.
Similarly, only 15% have purchased flood cover even though heavy downpour and unpredictable flooding has increased business risks significantly for SMEs – the Ministry of International Trade and Industry reported that the Kelantan floods in 2014 affected 13,000 SMEs, almost 40% of SMEs in the state.
More alarmingly, AIG has seen an increase in flood claims in areas previously unaffected by flash floods. During the Penang flood last year, nearly 2,000 victims were evacuated. AIG paid out an estimated RM2 million in claims, proactively responding to interim payments of up to RM20,000 to some of the most affected policyholders within four days of notification.
AIG forecasts that the greatest risks SMEs will face in the next 12 months are from property and equipment damage. Last year alone, SMEs made claims in excess of RM8.1 million from AIG, and future claims are expected to persist at a higher range. With that in mind, AIG has designed an SME insurance plan that offers 13 types of protection under one comprehensive policy.
Greater risk exposure due to democratisation of travel
The democratisation of travel through new technologies has made new experiences and destinations more affordable and accessible – the number of international outbound trips from Malaysia is forecasted to reach 14.2 million by 2021. However, globalised travel and unpredictable weather also exposes travellers to new risks such as natural disasters and terrorism.
With all the new unpredictable risks arising, AIG introduced a comprehensive travel insurance, TravelGuard and provides 24/7 worldwide travel assistance with AIG Travel Asia Pacific (ATAP). The first-of-its-kind global assistance service has a network of 8 service centres worldwide and multilingual staff ready to assist travellers with anything from baggage delay to medical emergencies and evacuations.
Having handled more than one million calls and carried out almost 1,000 evacuations over the past ten years, providing customer support including medical advice from its in-house doctors and nurses to all its travel insurance policy holders, AIG TravelGuard is a key defining solution to protect, assist and assure travellers in the ever-changing travel industry.
Future-Proofing Malaysia for the next 100 years
In 2019, AIG celebrates its centennial year globally and 66th year in Malaysia. The company’s roots dates back to 1919 in Shanghai when American Cornelius Vander Starr started an insurance agency known as American Asiatic Underwriters, which was subsequently renamed American International Underwriters.
In 1948, American International Assurance (AIA), a subsidiary of AIG entered Malaysia as a life insurance arm. Five years later, in 1953, AIG diversified into general insurance in Malaysia by setting up American Home Assurance (AHA), which is known as AIG Malaysia Insurance Berhad today.
Over 66 years, the company has now grown to over 1,800 employees across four legal entities and a network of over 2,500 agents and partners across 16 branches, reaching 600,000 customers nationwide.
In the past decade, AIG Malaysia has won Best Insurer Award for five years in Motor Claims, General Insurance Company of the Year and was also recently named one of the Top 10 Best Employer Brand by Undergraduates in Malaysia.
AIG is also actively investing in partnerships to make the purchasing of insurance more accessible and to raise awareness on its importance. Last year, AIG was the first insurer to partner e-commerce platform Lazada to offer affordable insurance to a very underinsured segment of the market. Other collaborations over the years include electrical chain store Senheng and loyalty programme B Infinite. More partnerships are expected in the years to come.
“Over the last six decades we’ve grown and progressed with this country and fellow Malaysians. As we move into 2019 and beyond, we remain committed to our promise to be there for our customers even as technology and socio-economic factors change the way we live. We will continue innovating our solutions to remain both relevant and accessible, to be Malaysia’s most trusted insurance partner for the next 100 years,” Lee concludes.