Private Client Services by Mercer
Remote insurance processes are going from strength to strength. High net worth clients are increasingly choosing to incept policies remotely irrespective of whether they are impeded by COVID-related travel restrictions. So, in this issue of Vision, PCS by Mercer Group Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Jason Kwong, explains the process in more detail, we look at two case studies of clients incepting policies remotely for very different planning objectives , and see how a family is using a savings plan to safeguard wealth transfer to their third generation.
Since the inception of remote insurance processes in 2020, PCS by Mercer has seen it grow in both acceptance and popularity, with strong support coming from our customers, insurers as well as our banking partners. And even as borders reopen and quarantine restrictions ease in some parts of the world, the demand for remote processes continues to increase. We speak to Jason Kwong*, PCS by Mercer Group Deputy Chief Operating Officer, to find out why.
What are remote insurance processes?
Remote process is the broad term we use to describe the end-to-end life protection onboarding services to clients. Using the latest and best available technology, we can do everything remotely, from consultation and in country medicals to documentation and contract signing. It’s important to note that customer privacy and regulatory compliance are prioritized in all circumstances.
Our digital journey began as the pandemic struck Southeast Asia in 2020. PCS by Mercer were amongst the first to implement remote procedures, offering clients access to Singapore and Bermuda insurance products from Singapore. Now, clients from 5 jurisdictions can continue to have access to those same insurance products as well as solutions from Hong Kong – without having to travel to Singapore and Hong Kong.
Remote procedures are evolving rapidly, and all parts of the industry are learning to embrace different ways of doing things. Insurers are more open to receiving e-signatures and documents electronically, as are private bank partners.
What percentage of customers are now choosing to utilize remote insurance processes?
The demand has been high. Between 70-80% of customers now want to find solutions remotely rather than go through the process in-person. Of course, we can also use a hybrid of the two procedures. It really is customer dependent. We are entirely client-led, so we work hard deliver whatever best suits individual clients. We tailor our solutions and processes. The key thing is that clients now have a choice.
What are the benefits of remote processes for clients?
Aside from the most obvious advantage, which is having access without having to travel, there are a number of benefits for clients, including:
As the Deputy Chief Operating Officer, one of your key deliverables is innovation, can you tell us what PCS by Mercer is bringing to the market?
One of the key things the Operations Team is focusing on is improving the entire interface for our clients. We are currently one of the industry leaders in remote procedures, so we are learning as we go in some respects, but our commitment to customer experience means we are continuously improving at macro and micro levels. We want to be the best choice for our clients.
Our ambitious future goals are remote authentication, and integrated insurer’s data feeds where possible. Right now, we are busy building a great mobile application or “app”, so our customers have access to PCS by Mercer at their fingertips. We are conscious that the next generation of high net worth individuals are growing in number and significance. They have largely grown up in the digital world, so the app will provide real time updates on individual policies. Features and details will include, premiums and sum assured, annual review reminders, and direct consultant contacts, so our customers can plan ahead while staying fully informed.
While staying at the front and innovating, we are conscious our business operates across four jurisdictions, so the team always ensures we remain compliant with regulators.
* Jason Kwong joined PCS by Mercer Group in 2021 as the Group Deputy COO. He has close to 20 years of experience in financial services and was previously with Noah International( Hong Kong) Limited where he was Executive Director and Head of Global Insurance & also served as CEO for Noah Insurance (Hong Kong) for four years. Prior to that, Jason held senior roles in Richard Abbett Asia; AXA China and Convoy Financial Services where he honed his expertise and network for insurance broking and planning for high net worth clients. He is also an active compliance committee member of the Institute of Financial Planners in Hong Kong.
Our clients are a married couple in their 50s who jointly own a family business. Their total net worth is over US$100M. They have 2 adult children. One is studying; the other works in the family business and has a newborn. The baby is the first grandchild for our clients.
We recommended a savings plan in addition to their existing coverage, setting them up as the policy owners and the second generation as the insured. Our recommendations were based on the solution feature that enables the clients to change life insured and ownership to their grandchild whenever appropriate.
Our clients chose a savings plan with a single-pay premium of US$2M. The projected growth of the savings plan will reach US$4M when the grandchild starts her tertiary education at age 18. Alternatively, the savings plan can serve as the grandchild’s family fund as the total cash value will further accumulate to around US$7M when the grandchild turns 30.
Our client is the general manager of her family business and a highly experienced investor. She is in her mid-40s and is married with a child in high school, they live in Taiwan.
PCS tailored a Hong Kong Savings Plan for the client:
Our client is the CEO of a listed company with a net worth of US$800 million. He is 45 years old and married with two children, who are aged 12 and 15. The family lives in China.
We recommended several suitable solutions from which the client chose: