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Standard Bank customers embrace digital insurance solutions

Johannesburg, 15 Apr 2021

A key theme of the last year has been the accelerated adoption of digital products by consumers. COVID-19 changed the way we interact with each other and digital has redefined how we live work and play.

The insurance industry is no different. At Standard Bank Insurance, we have focused on online and mobile insurance products to help our clients remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. It forms part of our broader aim of being digitally transformed and allows us to be where our clients are all the time, creating more choice and convenience for them and improving our turnaround times.

Since March, we have seen more and more of our customers using our digital tools to buy insurance online and to log insurance claims via our Web site and the Standard Bank banking app.

“Logging an insurance claim via our Banking App is quick, offers great convenience and is safe,” says Dr Nolwandle Mgoqi-Mbalo, Head of Insurance at Standard Bank South Africa. “While we were already exploring digital solutions before COVID-19, the pandemic has meant a rapid increase in the number of people choosing to transact with us online. Adoption has been significant in the short-term insurance space especially.”

While short-term claims filed online and via the mobile app remained relatively level in 2019, they saw a dramatic spike in 2020. Online claims grew by 90% between January and September 2020, while claims on the mobile app grew by 28% over the same period.

There was a pronounced spike in online and mobile claims in June 2020 as consumers were forced indoors because of the hard lockdown. Short-term insurance claims submitted online increased by 248% year-on-year for the month and short-term insurance claims submitted through the mobile App grew by 236% year-on-year.

All in all, online claims made up 9% of all claims received in June 2020 and mobile claims made up 8%, both up from 3% of claims for the same month the previous year.

“The usage of the app and our Web site for short-term insurance claims is a testament to how we are making it easier and more convenient for clients to receive assistance speedily. We will continue to explore innovative ways for our clients to access our products and services and to interact with us,” Dr Mgoqi-Mbalo says.

Thanks to an investment in a low-code insurance platform that allows the bank to rapidly innovate and create products that can be tested with customers in a matter of weeks, Standard Bank Insurance can focus on enhancing its products and services quickly. The platform allows the bank to cut its product development time down from two or three years to six weeks, giving it the agility to meet consumer needs quickly.

Innovation has defined Standard Bank Insurance’s recent approach to customer service. Through Standard Bank Insurances’ Life Insurance we now offer customers the option of purchasing life insurance online. Consumers can now purchase life cover, salary protection, disability cover and serious illness cover by answering a few questions on its insurance Web site.

The online, seven-step underwriting process takes about 15 minutes to complete. 

Standard Bank Insurance is also exploring using blockchain in the motor claims process for easy to process short term insurance claims such as a windscreen replacement. In that process, the cost of assessment of that claim itself is high. Blockchain can be used to automate the process, reduce costs of claims, track previous claim behaviour and integrate it with the service provider. Both the insurer and the customer have visibility to the entire value chain as a result.

“Standard Bank’s online offering demonstrates our commitment to empowering clients through digital solutions. Online and mobile platforms allow consumers the convenience of being able to choose when and how they interact with a service or product,” Dr Mgoqi-Mbalo concludes.