ALLIANZ General Insurance Company (Malaysia) Bhd has launched an insurance package tailored for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which includes Covid-19 coverage.
The Allianz Smart Retail Shield would require businesses to engage an agent from the company to tailor the package to their needs, meaning owners would not be able to purchase the product online.
The insurer understood that MSMEs were struggling as the pandemic ushered in a time of uncertainty, said Allianz chief sales officer Horst Habbig. “The aim is to make a package that is simple to buy and claim in case anything unfortunate happens,” he said.
The Smart Retail Shield offers fire insurance as a basic part, though subscribers will see additional features such as burglary, glass damages, money in transit and in premise, public and employer liabilities, and other risks for one year, with a coverage of up to RM250,000 of the total sum insured.
Also featured is a daily inconvenience benefit should a business be shut down, with a maximum of RM2,000 per day. For perspective, Habbig explained that such a benefit with a RM1,000 per day payout would cost RM68 per year.
Businesses who sign up for this will also see free marketing support from Allianz, being seen as partners, with the option of taking this to further partnerships in terms of business exposure with Allianz.
And as the Smart Retail Shield allows for a flexible sum insured, full burglary/theft coverage, no deductible miscellaneous items, recommended packaged solutions for 27 occupation classes, a Covid-19 cover, and counts as one policy with one stamp duty.
Further, half of the claim will be paid within seven days, with the aim being to get businesses back on their feet and operating as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Allianz Malaysia Bhd CEO Zakri Khir noted that no economy can survive without SMEs, and agrees that the landscape now is difficult for businesses, due to the movement control order causing a lack of customers to consume the products and services offered.
“One thing we learned from this pandemic is that most SMEs are not insured. If we don’t protect you, we don’t protect the heartbeat of the economy and the nation,” said Zakri.
Zakri also shared that the insurance industry is one of the more insulated industries in case of recessions, as “people will still buy insurance as protection.” However, consumption of insurance products will drop, as consumption is based on disposable income.
This will impact insurance as it will never be on top of the list, where the industry may even see a regression. Zakri also confirmed that, thus far, there is no need for staff layoffs at this time.
Habbig added that this is also not the time for new branches or to widen the distribution network, but rather adapting to the new normal and looking at what the company can offer through this.
Zakri also said digitalisation is a continuing pursuit of Allianz, though digitalisation will not replace agents, as insurance is very personalised and needs to be sold in a professional manner. However, technology can aid agents, since video calls can replace a face-to-face meetup.
“No FAQ or website can answer all of your questions, which is why an agent is key in this particular process,” said Zakri.
In terms of the outlook for the second half of the year, Zakri said “Allianz is just like everyone else, and looking to survive. As of May, we are still alright, still above sales of last year.
“We have more short term plans, and we will go with the flow. We will still be here at the end of the year, and that is all I can say for certain,” said Zakri, adding that a cash flow crunch is likely to happen at the end of the six-month moratorium on loan and other repayments, which will lead insurance companies to “follow the fortunes of the consumer.” - May 19, 2020