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Thaivivat’s chief leads innovation in the non-life insurance sector

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JIRAPHANT Asvatanakul, president and chief executive officer of Thaivivat Insurance, has spearheaded the drive for innovation in the non-life insurance industry.

One notable example is the sector’s plan to pay compensation on a rice crop insurance scheme via the government-sponsored PromptPay electronic-payment platform, to be launched during the current quarter.
“Non-life insurance firms have discussed with the Office of Insurance Commission [OIC] and the Finance Ministry the provision of coverage for farmers’ annual rice crops using the new e-payment platform. This will reduce the government’s burden in helping farmers affected by natural disasters and other risks.
“If there is damage to their crops, farmers can get compensation via the PromptPay platform as insurers will transfer money into the affected individual farmers’ bank accounts using ID numbers registered with the government,” he explained.
“Overall, it’s a win-win for both customers and insurers as electronic money transfers are more cost-effective in the long run, since the crop insurance scheme will cover around 26 million rai [4.16 million hectares] of farmland involving millions of farmers,” he said.
Thaivivat, a listed company, expects to be among the first private-sector service providers to use PromptPay as the payment platform for customers, he added.
The government will first use PromptPay to transfer money to welfare recipients.
“For Thaivivat, we’re also in the process of upgrading our auto insurance service using digital and mobile technology. A new app for auto insurance is on the way, so that it is more convenient and effective to serve customers,” the president and CEO said.
“For 2016, the non-life insurance industry’s overall premiums expanded at a relatively low rate of just 1-2 per cent, reflecting relatively weak economic growth. However, some bright spots included the rice crop insurance scheme worth around Bt2.6 billion in premiums, in which the government is responsible for premium payment.
tourism sector is another bright spot for insurers due to the huge number of foreign visitors in Thailand [more than 30 million last year], so the tourism authorities have approached the OIC to provide tourist coverage so that foreign visitors will get compensation in the event of injury or death while in the country,” he said.
This will help boost confidence among foreign visitors and complement their existing insurance policies, in which there are conditions or exemptions for compensation in certain events such as terrorist attacks, he added.
“In this context, the Thai tourism authorities can ensure that every tourist will be compensated if they are hurt, even though their existing individual insurance policies might not provide such coverage due to exemptions. 
“This will be part of the new tourism marketing campaign in cooperation with the non-life insurance association, whose member companies will share the risks,” Thaivivat’s chief said.
 
Healthcare scheme
“Another big scheme is for the non-life insurance association to propose to the Finance Ministry the provision of healthcare coverage for all civil servants and their immediate family members, which is currently paid for by the government.
 “The annual state budget for this welfare is over Bt70 billion and the expenses reimbursed to civil servants and their families have been growing every year, so the Finance Ministry is seeking options from the insurance industry to provide the healthcare coverage with the intention of ensuring that the quality of coverage remains unchanged, while there could be some flexibility in annual expenditure,” Jiraphant said.
 “We’re working on details of the non-life insurance association’s proposal for consideration by the Finance Ministry, which wants to manage the risk on growing healthcare expenditure. They want the private insurance sector to help manage the risk.
 “We also have to ensure the healthcare coverage is as good as the coverage currently provided directly by the Finance Ministry. The welfare of millions of civil servants and their families is at stake,” he stressed.
 The association has set up three subcommittees to work on this proposal for the ministry, mainly in regard to suitable insurance premiums and healthcare coverage.
 “We also have had discussions with major pharmaceutical firms, public and private hospitals and other stakeholders |to find the best options, including the use of new technology f|or preventive medicine,” he added
 

Published : January 06, 2017

By : NOPHAKHUN LIMSAMARNPHUN THE NATION