Swiss Re COVID-19 consumer survey 2021: views of insurance in Asia Pacific one year on

The public health and economic crisis induced by COVID-19 has exposed shortfalls in consumers' insurance protection needs. Swiss Re conducted two consumer surveys across markets in Asia Pacific (APAC) during the pandemic, the first in April-June 2020 and the second in January-February 2021. The results of both surveys provide valuable insights about the impact of the pandemic for life and health (L&H) insurance businesses.

A year on from the outset of the pandemic, our 2021 survey finds numerous long-lasting impacts on consumers' attitudes to health, protection and insurance. Almost two thirds of respondents still feel heightened concern about their personal health because of the virus, and almost half feel they need more medical insurance as a result.

Many also still feel overwhelmed about the impact of the pandemic on their finances. A third of respondents believe they are under-insured for potential income loss resulting from disease, long-term disability or death of a main household breadwinner. Worries about financial security show most for those aged between 18 and 29 years, the cohort with the lowest employment rate among the working age group and also lowest insurance ownership.

The survey results provide insights into what consumers expect of insurers in the future. Consumers have increased their interaction with the digital world, with restrictions on mobility during periods of lockdown the driving force. 

As we adapt to the new normal of a world with COVID-19, this survey offers guidance to insurers to adapt and innovate to serve consumers better. From expansion into low-penetrated market segments to innovation in new areas such as mental well-being and growing interest in non-traditional distribution channels, we see huge opportunities for growth across the Asia Pacific region.

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