EFU Life takes insurance to a whole new level in Pakistan
The pandemic brought several opportunities to make insurance a top-of-mind for Pakistanis.
The pandemic brought many challenges for the local businesses and the economic landscape both in Pakistan and globally with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pakistan was already grappling to find stability with the tough economic and political conditions since the new government came into power, and 2020 made the struggle even more real.
Speaking to us, Taher G. Sachak, EFU Life’s CEO and managing director, said, “In Pakistan, life insurance is never considered a priority when it comes to financial planning. With the pandemic, the industry took a bigger hit, as our business model relies on face-to-face meetings and customized financial plans depending on the need and life stage of the prospect. In spite of these challenges, EFU Life managed to not only sustain but expand its business and further strengthened its financial base.”
With COVID-19 affecting work and life like never before, business owners and individuals struggled and became all the more reliant on their savings to make ends meet. The need for a safety net and a backup in life became more important than ever. In Pakistan, where the gross domestic product contracted for the first time in six decades, EFU Life rose to the challenge and immediately developed a COVID-19 response strategy, which launched early in the pandemic. Focused on customer and employee well-being, the strategy proposed COVID-19 specific products centred on digitalisation.
In 2020, EFU Life and EFU Hemayah Takaful provided a financial security net to over four million lives through its diverse footprint across Pakistan. The Company expanded its branch network of both its Conventional and Hemayah Takaful to over 350 branches across 130 cities.
“To strengthen our presence in the mass market and inclusive insurance segments, where we are not always able to penetrate with our own branch network, we have further collaborated with telecommunication companies, branchless banks, microfinance institutions, and technology platforms, offering innovative financial solutions by providing micro and nano insurance cover during 2020 to an additional one million lives,” said Sachak.
EFU Life, awarded as the Domestic Life Insurer of the Year - Pakistan at the Insurance Asia Awards, has embarked on several campaigns to increase awareness and help more Pakistanis understand the importance of insurance. These campaigns have been launched through mass media and rural activations, amongst others.
Driven by its business ideology of operating “not just for profit, but for service to humanity”, EFU Life market share in 2020 was over 31% in the private life insurance sector, with total gross premiums (including Takaful) growing by 2.5% to Rs. 32.55b.
Whilst insurance has been slow to pick up on digitalisation, EFU Life has been actively leveraging digital tools, engaging multiple market segments with innovative solutions.
Recently, EFU Life relaunched EFU Life PlanIT, a mobile app that helps customers monitor their policy, make premium payments, and initiate various service requests. The app features a built-in QR-based loyalty program for PRIMUS priority brand customers, offering deals and discounts at partner merchants. The company has leveraged on its digital platforms, by launching Pakistan’s First Insurance Chatbot on Facebook, a virtual assistant fuelled by machine learning to deliver faster, convenient, and seamless service 24/7 to help clients and potentials in their financial planning needs.
The company has also dipped its toes in the millennial market, where its digital web series titled “Humrahi” helped reach out to this audience by making relevant and engaging platform-specific content. Through its unconventional message of life planning, the web series helped to humanize the brand and made the audience realize the need for life insurance while positioning it as a smart choice of savings for millennials.
“These digital tools have been very effective in helping our customers engage with us in real-time, and even more so during the pandemic, with the country going through multiple phases of lockdown and smart lockdown,” Sachak added.