Optimuz: SME Insurance by Zurich

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Simple, convenient and flexible make up the gist of Optimuz, Zurich Insurance’s SME business insurance.

By Priya Rama

Often, one of the most overlooked aspects of a business is insurance, particularly among the small and medium sized companies (SMEs). Many SMEs still place business insurance pretty much towards the end of their priority list.

Many business owners still lament about how expensive and unaffordable business insurance is, as well as the hassle in doing paperwork, without realising the often close relationship between business and personal assets as well as the high risks involved.

To cater to the SMEs, Zurich Insurance Malaysia Berhad (ZIMB) is offering Optimuz, a business insurance that is touted to be simple, convenient and flexible.

ZurichJunior Cho (right), the Senior Vice President, Head of Market Management – General Insurance of ZIMB spoke to Smart Investor about the benefits of Optimuz to SMEs.

Smart Investor (SI): We understand that Zurich Insurance Malaysia Berhad (ZIMB) has built Optimuz to enable businesses to protect the risks of their daily operations. How is this plan different from existing business insurance plans in the market?

Junior Cho (JC): In 2014, the Malaysian Government announced their focus on locally established SMEs as a driver for growth in the domestic economy. Zurich then embarked on an in-depth study and research to see how we could better serve SMEs in line with the government’s initiative.

As a result, we developed the Optimuz platform to drive greater flexibility and simplicity for SMEs to protect themselves from the inherent business risks to their day-to-day operations.

Optimuz is a unique approach, unlike any other offerings in the market. In this plan, intermediaries (agents), partners and SME owners are empowered to choose either conventional or takaful insurance plans, from up to 11 types of coverage with ‘fire’ as the anchor protection. The complete list of coverage is below:

  1. Fire Insurance
  2. Fire Consequential Loss Insurance
  3. Equipment All Risks Insurance
  4. Burglary Insurance
  5. Money Insurance
  6. Plate Glass Insurance
  7. Fidelity Guarantee Insurance
  8. Public Liability Insurance
  9. Group Personal Accident Insurance
  10. Key Man Personal Accident Insurance
  11. Group Term Life Insurance

Optimuz is also a web or mobile-based platform that adopts 7 unique propositions that drive convenience, simplicity and flexibility, which are:

1. Fast Quotation: With Optimuz, our customers are able to obtain a quote in less than 3 minutes according to their needs.

2. Simple Underwriting: Optimuz uses an underwriting rules engine to facilitate rapid and accurate quote generation.

3. Instant Policy Issuance: Once a quote is generated and agreed upon by customers, the policy can be issued instantaneously with the click of a button.

4. Convenience: Customers can easily access Optimuz from any web-connected device (i.e., laptop, iPad, mobile phones) for greater mobility and issue the policy electronically via PDF or printed via hard copy. Furthermore, Optimuz offers additional features such as Google Maps to view the location of the risk to be insured or generate automatic reminders on renewals of the customers’ policies.

5. Customisation: Customers are able to select coverage that suit their insurance needs with dynamic calculation of the corresponding premium. Also, as the business grows or additional coverage is required, customers can access Optimuz to tailor their existing plans for greater peace of mind.

6. Cross-Selling Opportunity: Through Optimuz, our intermediaries can offer customers value-added coverage as their businesses mature or are exposed to new risks. This provides unique cross selling opportunities on top of their existing SME insurance plans.

7. Express Underwriting Centre (XUC) Support: There are instances where a business’ insurance needs may be more complex beyond simple underwriting. Therefore, Zurich has established a dedicated underwriting support team to quickly respond to those customers through single point of contact. The dedicated call centre is designated to provide underwriting decisions or general customer support within 45 minutes.

Our goal is to make the purchase of SME insurance as simple, straightforward, and cost effective as possible so that our customers can focus on running and managing their businesses.

SI: There are still many businesses that are still inadequately protected, particularly the SMEs. How would Optimuz come in handy in this situation?

JC: The SME segment has been growing at a rapid, double digit growth. SME Corp states in its 2013/2014 report that approximately 97% of total establishments in Malaysia are SMEs, contributing close to 32% of the GDP since 2010.

With such a large segment driving economic activity, the reality is many businesses do not have proper or adequate protection against their business/operational risks.

Optimuz is able to address this in 3 ways:

  1. SME owners can flexibly select the coverage that are pertinent to their current business needs vs. having to select a full package with unneeded or excessive coverage(s),
  1. For the coverage selected, SME owners can dynamically set the amount of their coverage tailored to their specific businesses, and
  1. SME owners are able to use Optimuz to quickly obtain quotes and protect their business less than 3 minutes.

SI: How is the market for business insurance different than the consumer market in Malaysia?

JC: SME owners seek to protect their businesses and employees from the various operational risks ranging from fire, burglary, accidents, etc. whereas insurance for the consumer segment is more suited towards protection for the individual, their family, assets etc. Both markets present opportunities for continued growth within the Malaysian insurance industry.

SI:  Two years back, ZIMB had reportedly secured 70% take-up rate from its 20,000 SME customers for the Optimuz product. Where does the figure stand now?

JC: The take up rate since the launch of Optimuz continues to be in double digits. We believe that this trajectory will remain as we continue to innovate our product and platform offerings to better serve our intermediaries and customers. For example, early this year, we launched Optimuz to offer takaful products as part of providing greater choices for all SMEs in Malaysia.

SI:  Most small businesses with employees are required to have workers compensation insurance. What mistakes do you see businesses make that end up costing them money?

JC: As with any insurance, SMEs are encouraged to select insurance plans that provide the correct level of cover to address any potential risks related to their respective businesses. Some of the key mistakes that SMEs make in selecting their insurance plans are:

  1. Not selecting the right amount of coverage appropriate to the nature of their business,
  2. Focusing on the cheapest coverage where SMEs are either underinsured or not properly insured against inherent operational risks,
  3. Neglecting coverage for employees as a vital operational risk for SMEs,
  4. Delaying the purchase of business insurance or declining renewals by rationalising the low likelihood of an operational risk impacting the SME.

SI:  Do SME owners generally understand the coverage they are buying? What would your advice be for them?

JC: We believe that small business owners do generally understand the basic insurance coverage that they purchase. Internal findings reveal that the top 3 insurance coverage that SMEs usually seek for are Fire, Burglary, and Group Personal Accident. However, as their businesses grow, SMEs may not know which additional coverage are most appropriate to their changing needs.

At Zurich, our mission is to help our customers understand and protect themselves from risks Therefore, we ensure that our intermediaries/agents are always ready to assist and guide customers to equip themselves with the best possible coverage according to the nature of their business.

Insurance should be considered one of the top business priorities when managing risks; hence our advice to business owners is to speak to their respective agents or insurance companies to ensure that their businesses are adequately insured.

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