Sep 17, 2014

    You can't BEAT buying 'the direct way'

    A RELATIVE newcomer to the Singapore insurance industry, HL Assurance - set up just over a year ago - is now poised to make a name for itself as a fuss-free way to meet people's insurance needs by cutting out the middleman.

    In an interview with MyPaper, general manager Derek Mok said it makes sense for people to get used to buying "direct", as it is the way forward.

    "There are many things we use in our daily lives, that we can buy direct from the company which makes them, often at just the touch of a button," he said.

    This "trend" towards direct buying explains the T of BEAT - an acronym Mr Mok has come up with to describe HL Assurance and what it offers its customers.

    The B stands for branding. Mr Mok, who is from Hong Kong, believes the familiar Hong Leong name is well-trusted and thus very appealing in the Singapore market.

    "No matter what the product is, customers always need to feel comfortable with the service provider," he said, noting that the Hong Leong Financial Group, HL Assurance's financial arm, has a market cap of over US$5 billion (S$6.3 billion) on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.

    The E in the acronym stands for enjoyment, in terms of the benefits customers stand to gain, while the A represents the "anytime, anywhere" philosophy the firm has adopted.

    Mr Mok explained: "If they go direct, they will enjoy a much lower premium, as compared to buying using conventional channels.

    "As there is no commission or agent fees involved, we pass back the savings to the customer."

    Customers have the option to buy products online, over the phone or at the company's Keppel Road office.

    Currently, travel and motor insurance are available online, but other products, such as Personal Accident insurance and home contents insurance, are also in the pipeline for online availability.

    "There's no need to queue at the bank or make an appointment with a salesman before you can buy," said Mr Mok.

    "Customers can also enjoy almost-instant confirmation via SMS or e-mail from us. If you were meeting with an agent, this would not be possible."

    He added: "We look at it as a win-win situation for both HL Assurance and the customer. When you go direct, thanks to the electronic platform and processing, it cuts costs for us and for the customer as well."