Life insurance provider Ping An said coronavirus opened opportunities for the company to build technologically advanced online tools to cater to the growing needs of Chinese residents.
While the coronavirus outbreak caused a decline in the life insurance business of the company, Ping An witnessed a tenfold increase in the registration of online health consultation services. This is where the company is leveraging, to make up for the lost revenues in the insurance market.
Services that don’t require face-to-face interaction increased, as more people attempt to avoid the spread of the virus. To date, the NCOVID-19 epidemic killed more than 2,100 and infected 75,700.
“Obviously, with the virus, it’s more difficult for [agents] to do face-to-face business. Sales and productivity [in life insurance] have seen a marked decline,” said Ping An chief capital markets officer James Garner.
This year, the company plans to invest more in technology, as it helps people during the virus outbreak. “This fight against the outbreak highlights the importance of technology to the transformation of the country and industries,” said Peter Ma Mingze.
With the recent lockdown on many Chinese cities, Ping An pointed out the need for various online tools not only in the insurance market but also in medical, banking, payments, and others. The NCOV-19 is undoubtedly the biggest public health crisis since Sars in 2003.
Because of the decline in the insurance market, the company expects that its revenue for the first quarter will also fall. From the 39 percent net profit jump last December, the revenue will probably fall between 10 to 18 percent, as projected by the company.
Meanwhile, the tech applications can help replace lost profit, with 515 million users accessing the online platform. According to Ping An, tech apps bought a 16 percent increase in the overall Internet users.