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Are telcos too late to the game?

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Super apps have become more than just a buzzword. In China, WeChat and Alipay are already deeply rooted in the daily lives of the population. In South East Asia, ride-share platforms Go-Jek and Grab have also become super apps, offering a host of services from food delivery to medical advice within their apps.

A KPMG report1 - Super app or super disruption - points to an evolution in consumer preferences: “Our research and experience suggest that, after nearly a decade of fragmentation and unbundling of services in their lives, consumers are starting to revert towards re-bundling”.

“Instead of having multiple apps for ordering food, ride-sharing and payment options, they want just one. Consumers may not be specifically demanding super apps, but they certainly want the convenience and simplicity that super apps can offer”.

Digital ecosystems, such as these super apps, will continue to blur the borders between industry sectors. The focus is no longer on staying within these verticals, but rather on providing customers with a one-stop shopping, hyper-relevant experience.

The telecommunications industry is primed for robust ecosystems or super apps to be created around its rich customer database. With the arrival of 5G networks and the Internet of Things (IoT), telcos are the ideal focal point for which a wide range of products and services can be built.

IBM’s AI and Blockchain Lead, Center of Competence - Telco, Media and Entertainment, Lucia Marchi, identified that one of the imperatives in the evolution of the telco industry is cooperation with traditional and new competitors, as well as other organisations, to innovate and generate new business opportunities within an ecosystem.

Still, none of today’s top 10 ecosystems in South-east Asia is a telecommunications player. While the large, established telecommunication players in the region have yet to establish themselves within an ecosystem specific to their industry, new players such as Circles.Life and UMobile have made some positive moves and are seen leading the change in the digital economy.

Is it too late then for the rest?


No, but now is the time

Chubb has been engaging with key telecommunication players, proposing a host of tailored insurance products to their subscribers and customers. For Chubb, this forms a large part of our own digital strategy to revolutionise the way insurance products and services are marketed and sold, and to put customer experience at the forefront. Creating a digitally-enabled suite of products will mean providing an omni-channel for service and claims that will benefit both Chubb’s partners and end-users.

In the current world we live in where physical interactions and movements are restricted or curtailed, e-services are central to how commerce and transactions are conducted. It makes it timely and even imperative for businesses to create or be part of ecosystems that deliver to customers a digital one-stop shop.  The fact is consumers no longer want just cash benefits from insurers but a claims journey that delivers a solution to the problem.  Through close collaboration within the ecosystem, we can deliver these solutions much more seamlessly to the customer.

The role of telecommunication companies is more important than ever as the world increases its reliance on the uptime of their telecommunication networks, not just at the office but at remote work locations – be it the home, or at a café. No doubt, telecommunication networks have helped to keep our lives going through this period of physical lockdown.


As such, insurance wrapped around telecommunication products and services are critical. Our mobile devices such as handphones, tablets, laptops and wearables, are running our lives – we cannot afford to lose them. Insurance can therefore be embedded into a handphone sale, or home insurance can be offered when a new line or new IoT device is installed in the home.

Chubb is already working with several telecommunications companies across Asia Pacific and the globe.  We provide insurance coverage pertaining to handsets, gadgets, data protection and cyber security. Other telecommunication companies can tap into such existing solutions to provide their corporate clients and consumers a complete suite of protection and cyber security solutions.

This level of deep integration in the telecommunications’ ecosystem is not easy and requires close collaboration with the partners’ internal digital and technical teams, as well as the system integrators that they have engaged to effectively execute these projects. While the system integrators manage the overall architecture build-up and bring the different elements together, Chubb’s processes and systems have to be robust in order to scale in a secure manner with rising demand.


Arrival of Chubb Studio

Chubb is able to onboard new partnerships through Chubb Studio®, a game-changer in its digital tool box that was born out of an enterprise-wide digital strategy. Through it, our partners can now offer insurance services to their customers or members on a white-labelled, co-branded or Chubb-branded basis.

This “Insurance in a Box” solution is intended to give our partners and their customers access to our products, services and claims digitally, and seamlessly integrated within their own ecosystems. Distribution partners, be they banks, super apps, or telecommunication companies, can present Chubb insurance products and services to their customers in a variety of ways – through a website, widget or through deeper integration with their existing retail channels.

There is no doubt telecommunication companies need to find their place in this world of super apps and respond quickly because the future belongs to these ecosystems that are able to deliver a seamless, multi-faceted customer experience.


This article appeared in CIO Review as part of their CXO Insight series.

1 Super App or Super Disruption by KPMG, June 2019

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Disclaimer - The content of the above article is not intended to constitute professional advice. Although all content is believed to be accurate, Chubb Insurance Singapore Limited (Chubb) makes no warranty or guarantee about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the content of this article. Users relying on any content do so at their own risk.

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If you are keen to learn how Chubb can collaborate with you, get in touch with:

Jerry Ng
Division Head of Consumer and Bancassurance
Chubb Singapore