THE United States' largest life insurer, MetLife Inc, on Wednesday rolled out a new digital platform in China as part of its long-term strategy to provide digital end-to-end sales and service for Asia and China.
Through its Beijing-based subsidiary, Sino-US MetLife Insurance Company Limited, the new digital platform caters to the needs of the rising middle class for easy-to-purchase life insurance and protection products.
Known as MetLife's Digital Ecosystem, it 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," said the insurer.
Chris Townsend, president of MetLife Asia, said while the company will launch this platform first in China, it will be rapidly deploying it across other Asian markets, adding that this is expected to become a "key differentiator for MetLife in the region".
E-commerce in China, which accounts for 60 per cent of all online spending in the region, is expected to reach US$275 billion, and the country is expected to overtake the US in terms of online spending by 2016.
Forty-five per cent of the world's internet users come from Asia, but internet penetration in the region is 32 per cent, compared with 85 per cent in North America.
The move is part of the insurer's plans to aggressively grow its business in the region, as Asia and China prove to be lucrative markets for insurers, who increasingly find these markets contributing more to their topline.
In another sign that the US insurer is placing more importance in the region, MetLife in early November said it had set up an innovation centre in Singapore, dubbed futureLab, that will look into creating insurance products for Asian customers.