In addition to this, the brand has been recognised as a leading life insurer with regards to customer satisfaction. "Treating customers fairly and creating life-changing impact through our products, solutions and insurance innovation is at the heart of what we do," says Laurence Hillman, CEO at 1Life. 

"It is about making sure that we offer innovative yet simple and affordable solutions that positively impact clients' lives when they need it most, and we believe that these accolades are certainly a testament to our ability to deliver what the market needs," adds Hillman. 

The 16th annual Swiss Re research indicates that South Africa's premiums have stagnated — creating a tough outlook for the insurance sector, but a strong opportunity for innovation.

"It is in times like these that the consumer should — more than ever — be placed at the centre of the product and services offering. [They should] understand how we can help them tailor solutions specific not only to their needs but, very importantly, to their ever-tightening budgets," Hillman says. 

"It is this type of model — coupled with simplified underwriting, quicker claims resolution and technology that enables convenience — that has aided our continued success," he adds.

"Technology is transforming the industry, challenging traditional marketing channels and providing digital avenues for dynamic growth. For us, this is pivotal where such technology innovation underpins our direct digital selling model," Hillman says. 

This year's report has indicated a few key trends that will drive the industry into 2020. The three most recognised trends to take the insurance market forward include:
  • digital distribution strategies (19%)
  • big data and analytics (17%)
  • dynamic underwriting (14%) 

The research reports that insurers will fast-track digital transformation as more and more insurers place significant bets on technology innovation. "Digital transformation is a cornerstone to our business and, given our legacy around digital innovation, we have already embraced many of these trends," says Hillman. 

"In fact, this year alone, we have launched two major innovations aligned to these trends. [This includes a] distribution channel innovation through our broker-focussed app (1Life Vantage), enabling straight-through processing and generating fully underwritten policies in less than 35 minutes. [It also includes] bringing robotic process automation into the funeral claims space — enabling us to finalise a claims decision in three minutes," adds Hillman. 

"Since 2006, where it all began, our business has had to overcome probably one of the biggest challenges — going up against the traditional players with more than 50 years in the industry," Hillman says.

"So, our challenge was to create a model that stood out from the rest, one that played an educational role for customers around the ease of getting life insurance, one that eliminated the tedious processes out when it comes to reaching out to us and one that was tailored to meet the financial needs of each individual and their affordability," he says.

"However, we did it, and today, [we] are very proud of our brand value and position in the market," adds Hillman. "It is this continued recognition and leadership position that drives our business to do more each day — finding better ways and more streamlined solutions that are tailored to meeting the financial needs of individual consumers where they find themselves in their lives, underpinned by solid customer service and speedy response times," he adds. 

"However, as the market strengthens with regards to technology evolution, it creates room for further innovation and even better consumer offerings. We look forward to what we will bring to the insurance sector — and of course, the client base that we serve in the coming years," concludes Hillman.

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