Author’s Blurb: Life insurance is something that I see as a privilege to many, if I’m being honest. Not everyone can afford to set aside a sum of money each month to pay an insurance premium for something that doesn’t immediately benefit them.
Epost is a Sabahan startup founded in 2018 that provides end-to-end e-commerce and logistics services in the domestic and international spheres.
Some of its customers include Digital China Holdings, Shopee, Yunda Express, BGO Taiwan, and more.
Now, the team has decided to launch a new value added service called Epost Protect, under which they will be offering general and life insurance coverage products to the Malaysian public.
To accomplish this, they’ve partnered with Sabah Credit Corporation’s proprietary e-payment system called Sabah Pay and BIB Insurance Brokers Sdn Bhd.
Upon hearing this, we thought it was odd that an e-commerce logistics company, of all businesses, would be foraying into the life insurance sector.
However, Tobin explained to Vulcan Post that they’re actually quite well positioned to do so, as besides being a logistics company, they’re also a platform for multiple transaction categories that are relevant to consumers.
This means that Epost is able to provide insights into the daily lives of consumers, and cater relevant insurance products to them through a convenient digital platform.
Working Towards A Shared Goal
Here’s the main problem that Epost is hoping to help with. The demand for buying life insurance in Malaysia is still lacking at only a 55% penetration rate.
Meanwhile, Bank Negara Malaysia is targeting a 75% penetration rate in 2020, but two obstacles stand in the way: pricing and affordability, according to former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in an interview.
With Epost’s insurance products placed on Sabah Pay, users will be able to easily apply for, buy, and make payments for their insurance premium.
In terms of pricing, some examples of the insurance packages they offer are HLMT i-Hospital Care for RM250 a year, and HLMT i-Salam for RM150 a year. Do note that the rates might differ based on your entry age, but will remain level throughout your chosen coverage term.
In my personal experience of paying for my chosen life insurance, it’s an average price point that’s mainly affordable to the M40 population.
If you’re a Boost user, you might be aware that the e-wallet is also offering an insurance service for free by Prudential in a special COVID-19 coverage package, though it’s limited only to the first 200,000 Boost Premium Wallet users who apply. Its coverage term is also only until April 30, 2020.
On the other hand, Epost Protect’s insurance products aren’t limited to just COVID-19 coverage, as you can also get motor insurance, pet insurance, and general life insurance products.
Satisfying Some Curiosity
I downloaded Sabah Pay myself to see what Epost Protect would look like, and how I would go about purchasing it (without actually making a transaction).
Epost Protect can be found listed in the ‘Mini Apps’ tab. Click into the listing and you’ll get a basic page informing you about the categories of insurance products you can buy.
After selecting ‘Get Started’, I was instructed to fill up a form with my personal details and the type of insurance category I’d like (not yet a specific insurance product).
When I was done, the app informed me that I would receive more information in an email that will be sent within 24 hours.
No payment was made yet, which made sense as I wasn’t even able to get more information on the products. It felt more like a registration for the service, and I wish I could have viewed the details of each insurance category and its products before I even registered.
Now I’ll have to wait about 24 hours before I can learn more about what I’ve gotten myself into and what the next steps to take would be for an interested customer.
Overall, the interface was simple and clean-looking, and finding the service on the app wasn’t too difficult.
Understanding Customer Behaviour
While Epost Protect is only available via Sabah Pay for now, it doesn’t mean it’s limited to only Sabahans, according to Tobin.
West Malaysians are welcome to purchase the insurance products too, but this is where I assume there could be some potential issues in the take-up rate.
I’d definitely say that paying for one’s insurance premium through an e-wallet is another welcome and convenient option. (Personally, I use my bank’s auto-debit service to pay for mine.)
However, Sabah Pay appears to be quite a Sabahan-specific app, as its platform centralises all monetary transactions with the state, meaning that you can pay for utilities and taxes on it.
With so many West Malaysians already using other e-wallets like Boost, GrabPay, Touch ‘n Go eWallet, and more, I believe that they would be unwilling to download another app just for one purpose: paying for their insurance premium.
Thus, I asked Tobin why they chose to partner with Sabah Pay instead of the other more popular e-wallets on the market for Epost Protect.
His reply was that they wanted to support Borneo’s tech initiative, and Sabah Pay also served as a good entry point for their new service.
He shared that they plan on working with other e-wallets in Malaysia come the future, so perhaps it will be then that paying for insurance premium via e-wallets could become the new norm.
Epost Protect is still in its first phase, so the team is collecting more data to analyse the take-up rate and attitude of both East and West Malaysians in order to better understand consumer behaviour.
With their partnership with BIB Insurance Broker Sdn Bhd, Tobin also said, “We will work towards architecting new products that would be more efficient and affordable for consumers, giving them the needed coverage and not products that are not relevant to personal or specific needs.”
Bottom Line: As an East Malaysian myself, I feel a sense of pride whenever I see interesting developments from that part of our country. There’s definitely the stereotype of East Malaysia being ‘slower’ and ‘underdeveloped’ compared to West Malaysia, so to see those stereotypes being broken by more and more East Malaysian startups is always nice.
- You can read more about other Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Epost