China’s leading online-to-offline, fully integrated digital platform for life insurance launches, disrupting the way insurance is traditionally packaged and sold
BEIJING, Nov. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — MetLife Inc. (MET), one of the largest life insurance companies in the world, through Sino US MetLife Insurance Company Limited, today announced a major milestone in its long-term strategy for China and Asia to provide digital end to end sales and service.
Senior Vice President and Head of Direct and eBusiness for MetLife Asia Kathy Awanis (left) and CEO of MetLife China George Tan (right) officially launch MetLife’s China Digital channel with Snoopy.
In China, consumer behavior is moving toward digital at an unprecedented speed, and the need for companies to provide digital services is expanding exponentially. According to a study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute, the number of internet users in China is set to surpass the 700 million mark over the next year, with the number of smart phones growing from 380 million to 700 million in 2013 alone.
To meet this growing demand, MetLife launched a new digital platform in China targeting the needs of its expanding middle class for easy-to-purchase life insurance and protection products. MetLife’s Digital Ecosystem is the first in China to fully integrate online and offline sales, service and social channels. Together with MetLife’s WeChat capability, real time analytics, customer relationship management and deep insight and integration with social media networks, it gives consumers the freedom to select and compare insurance products, receive instantaneous quotes, buy online, connect with a local agent or channel of choice, make payments, or check on claims from any mobile or desktop device.
MetLife’s senior management in China and Asia spoke to members of the Chinese and international media to reveal how China’s digital channel is both a significant move to seize opportunities in China’s rapidly growing insurance market, and a major part of their Asia-wide strategy.
"China’s digital channel is a milestone in our longer-term strategy of continuously innovating the ways we provide insurance products, services, ease and convenience to our customers. With this launch we are not simply building an online channel, we are creating a digital ecosystem centered on the customer," said Chris Townsend, President of MetLife Asia. "While it is launching in China first, we will be rapidly deploying the platform across our other markets in Asia and expect it to become a key differentiator for MetLife in the region," he concluded.
MetLife taps into a digital footprint and economy that is substantial and growing. 45% of the world’s internet users come from Asia, where internet penetration is only at 32%, as compared to 85% in North America. Ecommerce in China, which accounts for 60% of all online spending in the region, will reach USD$275 billion, and the country is expected to overtake the U.S. in terms of online spending by 2016.
"We spoke to Chinese consumers, and we learnt that they want easy to understand products and that clearly correspond with their life-stage need’s; they also told us that these products need to transparent and convenient and easy to purchase," said George Tan, CEO of MetLife China. "Through MetLife’s China digital channel, we are responding to Chinese consumers’ needs with a way of getting insurance how they want and when they want it."
Kathy Awanis, Senior Vice President and Direct and eBusiness Head of for MetLife Asia, led the strategy and delivery of the new digital platform. She explained further: "China’s digital channel empowers consumers by building their awareness and knowledge, providing them with full and transparent information that is relevant to their life stage. It enables them to not only acquire the protection they need in an informed and expedient way, but provides them with greater control and the ability to manage their own and their family’s policies and financial futures far more conveniently."
Over the past year, MetLife has been expanding its online presence in China, launching a self-service platform on popular social media app WeChat, which has enjoyed significant uptake.
MetLife’s China Website: www.metlife.com.cn
About Sino-US United MetLife Insurance Company Limited
Sino-US United MetLife Insurance Company Limited (MetLife) was incorporated as a joint venture company formed by a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. and Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. (SAIL). Supported by the MetLife companies’ experience in the insurance industry and SAIL’s expertise in the Chinese market, MetLife is committed to provide the trusted and professional insurance solutions to consumers in China. MetLife offers life and accidental insurance and savings products to individuals in more than twenty cities all over China through career agency, bank partners, direct marketing and group insurance channels. For more information about MetLife, please visit the company’s website at www.metlife.com.cn.
SAIL is a state-owned investment company affiliated to Shanghai National Capital Bureau. By fully utilizing its resources and strengths, SAIL is focused on the investment in the financial services and high-tech industries. SAIL contributes to the national economic growth by committing itself to promote industry innovation and development in Shanghai, as well as national growth.
MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates ("MetLife"), is one of the largest life insurance companies in the world. Founded in 1868, MetLife is a global provider of life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management. Serving approximately 100 million customers, MetLife has operations in nearly 50 countries and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.