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, and BGO Taiwan.
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, Sabah Pay, and BIB Insurance Brokers Sdn Bhd. For those wondering if it seems a little farfetched, Epost CEO Tobin Ng explained, “Epost is a logistics company, but we are also a platform for multiple transaction categories that are relevant to consumers.”
He believes that companies like Epost will be the ones who can provide insights into the daily lives of consumers. Therefore, the company is looking at insurance as a complementary service that they can provide to their customers.
This is important, since Ng shared that there have been a significant number of inquiries about life insurance as well, especially during Malaysia’s movement control order (MCO).
“Through the collaboration with Sabah Pay, we believe that this is a good opportunity for us to work together to provide Malaysians with a convenient digital platform to purchase insurance products,” Ng told Vulcan Post.
Working toward a shared goal
In terms of the demand for buying life insurance in Malaysia, it’s still a little lacking, with Bank Negara Malaysia targeting a 75% penetration rate in 2020. Currently, the penetration rate is only at 55%.
In an interview, former finance minister Lim Guan Eng said that pricing and affordability were the main reasons for the low penetration rate.
Ng said, “With this, we hope that with the launch of Epost Protect, we are able to bring up the numbers closer to the intended target.”
He also noted that in recent months, there has been a surge in demand for life insurance. Normally, insurance agents meet with customers in person to explain life insurance policies, and this is where Epost sees its advantage, as they can now easily reach out to customers online.
Access to life insurance products is also made easier with Sabah Pay, which is used for insurance premium payments.
While there has been no in-depth research done on e-wallet penetration in Malaysia, Ng is confident that e-wallets are here to stay, and this is enough reason for him to believe that they’re making a move in the right direction with the collaboration with Sabah Pay.
This has also given Epost the chance to support Borneo’s tech initiative, and Ng said that they are planning for more collaborative initiatives with Sabah Credit Corporation in the future.
Sabah Pay was launched in collaboration with Boost about two months ago, and a while after that, Boost began offering life insurance through its platform too.
It was a free Prudential life insurance package with special COVID-19 coverage for verified Boost Premium Wallet Users, limited to 200,000 enrolments, and with a coverage duration until April 30.
Epost Protect is not a life insurance product specifically meant for COVID-19 coverage. It is not limited to the MCO and COVID-19 pandemic in its coverage duration.
Accessibility and affordability are key to inclusion
Epost Protect is open to all Malaysians via Sabah Pay, and Ng shared that the company is targeting West Malaysian customers too.
“As Epost Protect is currently still in its first phase, we will collect more data to analyze the take-up rate and attitude for both East and West Malaysia in order to better understand the consumers’ behavior effectively,” he said.
For now, it’s only available via Sabah Pay, but the team plans to work with other e-wallets in Malaysia too, with Sabah Pay serving as a good entry point.
This will make it more accessible to users, which is one of the two keywords Ng used to describe Epost Protect. The other is affordability, and he shared a few examples of their average premium rates per annum.
For a product called HLMT i-Hospital Care, it’s MYR 250 (USD 57) a year, and for HLMT i-Salam, it’s MYR 150 a year. Of course, the rates will differ depending on your entry age, but will remain level throughout the coverage term (which also can differ from person to person).
To raise awareness and encourage usage of Epost Protect, the team is pushing the service toward existing Epost users throughout Malaysia, and they’re also promoting it among Sabah Pay’s users.
Through their partnership with BIB Insurance Broker Sdn Bhd, Ng 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.”
This article first appeared in Vulcan Post.