• Control of finances more important given concerns about loss of personal wealth
  • Preference for dealing with agents when buying insurance, although digital on the rise

HONG KONG, Feb, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A year on from the outbreak of COVID-19, Hong Kong residents are taking more control of their finances and health, with more importance placed on retirement planning, as Asia adjusts to the longer-term impact of the pandemic, according to new research from Manulife.

The latest version of the “Manulife Asia Care Survey” takes a closer look into customers’ concerns, priorities and aspirations. The survey polled about 4,000 people across the region who either own insurance or intend to buy it in the next six months, including around 400 from Hong Kong.

Health and retirement remain key concerns

In the face of COVID-19, Hong Kongers have made efforts on a personal level to improve their overall health. Among Hong Kong respondents, 77% say they have taken action in response to the pandemic, with 42% saying this includes exercising more regularly. About 90% are self-monitoring their health and, among the four developed markets covered in the survey, Hong Kongers pay most attention to their body weight (62%).

The majority of Hong Kongers (55%) also say that retirement planning has become more important since COVID-19 started. This high level of interest in retirement planning is aligned with concerns about personal wealth. In Hong Kong, 59% say they are concerned that their personal wealth would decline as a result of COVID-19.

“We see Hong Kongers are not just thinking longer term about their physical and financial health, but acting on it as well,” said Damien Green, Chief Executive Officer of Manulife Hong Kong and Macau. “With its health expertise, Manulife can support Hong Kong people with our comprehensive range of tailored products, from the popular Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme plans to critical illness products and the ManulifeMOVE programme, which encourages healthy habits by rewarding customers with premium discounts for being active.”

Greater appetite for insurance

Just as important as taking better control of health and finance is an interest to buy new insurance. In Hong Kong, despite high insurance penetration, more than half (58%) say they intend to buy new insurance in the next six months. The Hong Kong respondents are particularly interested in critical illness cover, health and saving products.

More than a third (37%) of Hong Kong respondents say they prefer to manage their policies through digital means such as mobile apps, including for claims and payment. The survey also shows that 77% of those interested in purchasing insurance in the next six months have already consulted an insurance agent.

“Insurance customers in Hong Kong are tech-savvy, in general, and appreciate the digital experience that’s safe, simple and convenient,” added Mr. Green. “While that digital trend is here to stay and likely to grow, it’s very clear that a good many customers still like to speak to their agents for personalised advice and solutions. This really underscores the importance of our agency force as we strive to fully integrate digital, while tapping those human qualities of empathy, trust and a holistic understanding of our customers’ needs.”

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