The service allows users under the age of 60 to receive a certain amount of critical illness coverage (up to 2000 yuan or $290) each time they make an offline payment with their Alipay Wallet.
The launch caught our eye for a few reasons:
Scale. Within 20 days, more than 13 million users had reportedly signed up for the service.
A hook to more insurance offerings. While the free coverage is limited in scope, Alipay also prompts users to upgrade to one-year medical insurance. Last August, Ant acquired Cathay Insurance China so the service could foreshadow future strategic offerings.
Expands China’s health insurance market. Most initial users of the service were reportedly born after 1990 and new to health insurance. Of course, whether China’s healthcare system is prepared for the digital expansion is another question.
Yesterday, two European insurers, Zurich and Ageas, received some press touting their development of “AI claims handling.”
This got us wondering what the data looked like over time for media mentions that included both the terms “insurance” and “artificial intelligence.”
As the CB Insights Trends chart shows below, there have been over 150 mentions in each month since this January when headlines of Fukoku Mutual replacing claims department workers with an IBM Watson system spread across outlets around the world.