HONG KONG SAR - 30 May 2023 - Bowtie, Hong Kong's first virtual insurer, will share key financial and operational milestones to celebrate its fourth anniversary. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong has eased, Bowtie still continued to achieve strong sales performance. Bowtie's total insured amount exceeded HK$60 billion, and Bowtie was again ranked number one in the direct sales channel in terms of number of policies sold.
Online insurance purchases have tripled
Four years ago, Bowtie was launched in Hong Kong with the mission of reshaping the insurance landscape through technology and helping to close the insurance protection gap. When Bowtie launched, policy sales in direct sales channel (including online and other channels) in Hong Kong accounted for only 2.9% of total sales. Through four years of effort, Bowtie has grown together with the overall growth of the online channel, helping to triple the direct channel market share to 8.5% along with industry peers.
Fred Ngan, Bowtie's Co-Founder and Co-CEO said, "With changing consumer channel preferences and the increasing health awareness, we firmly believe that Hong Kong's online application rate has room to further grow to 30%, catching up with other developed insurance markets, and becoming the mainstream channel for the next generation."
He continued, "With a market share of over 30% in the direct sales channel, Bowtie has emerged as the preferred choice of one in three consumers who purchase insurance online. Also, Bowtie has once again ranked number one in the direct sales channel in terms of number of policies sold for two consecutive years, this accomplishment surpasses all banks and insurance companies."
VHIS sales reached a historic high after COVID
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for private healthcare services and medical insurance among Hongkongers, leading Bowtie's accumulated website traffic to grow over a staggering one hundred million. Even after the pandemic situation has improved, the online search volume for Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) products remains strong.
Bowtie has also once again become the most searched VHIS brand on Google, indicating that the brand is winning customer awareness. This has led to a historic high of VHIS product sales in March of this year.
Reaching HK$60 billion in protection
Thanks to the trust of over 90,000 customers, Bowtie's overall recurring revenue recorded over 100% growth to HK$170 million last year, with the total insured amount exceeding HK$60 billion.
In terms of VHIS product sales, Bowtie's premium income reached HK$80 million last year and is expected to grow to HK$100 million this year, with the number of in-force VHIS policies exceeding 20,000; while in group medical insurance product sales, Bowtie's premium income recorded a growth of over 100% last year, serving over 500 small and medium-sized enterprises and technology-embracing companies, including virtual banking, companies from telecommunications and airlines industry.
Delivering on claim promise
While achieving business growth, Bowtie has also maintained excellent customer service. Bowtie handled over 50,000 customer inquiries with 93% satisfaction rating last year; around 90% of customers were able to complete their insurance application online by themselves.
Based on Bowtie's claim data from the past 12 months, the vast majority of claims are approved, with the overall approval rate of over 99.7%; the reimbursement ratio for VHIS products alone is 88%, while the reimbursement ratio of high-end VHIS plan, Bowtie Pink, is about 100%. Even with a fourfold increase in the number of claim cases, Bowtie's claim turnaround time has kept up and even improved.
Bowtie also invests in customer's long-term health via promoting preventive care for them, maintaining a retention rate of nearly 94%.
Up-to-date medical protections
As medical inflation in Hong Kong intensifies, Bowtie strives to carefully balance policy coverage with long-term premium levels, and is committed to limiting the average medical expense borne by customers to an affordable level of HK$10,000, in order to reduce their economic pressure caused by unexpected medical expenses.
Looking back at 2022, the average out-of-pocket amount under Bowite's VHIS product was maintained at HK$3,000, which is in line with the product positioning. Therefore, Bowtie decided to allocate their resources in enhancing user experience and the contractual terms with the following upgrades:
- Launching "No-Claim Reward Program" — The program will automatically deposit BowtieCash for customers who have no claims records during the designated policy period. BowtieCash can be used to offset any out-of-pocket amounts customers need to pay after Bowtie's claim reimbursements.
- Expanding "24-Hour Worldwide Emergency Assistance Service" to all VHIS plans
- Increasing the coverage limit of Bowtie Pink (Private Room) — The annual benefit limit increased from HK$10 million to HK$20 million, and the lifetime benefit limit increased from HK$50 million to HK$80 million.
- Enhancing the terms of all VHIS plans, including Bowtie VHIS Flexi: The waiting period for unknown pre-existing conditions reduced from 1 year to 180 days, allowing the insured to receive 100% coverage earlier.
Michael Chan, Bowtie's Co-Founder and Co-CEO said, "As medical costs in Hong Kong become increasingly unaffordable, insurance companies have an obligation to ensure their customer's medical protection is up-to-date. Through our technological advantages, we aim to further reduce operating costs and provide customers with higher cost-effectiveness VHIS products that keep pace with times."
John Tsang, Bowtie's Senior Advisor said, "Witnessing the growth of Bowtie has been a meaningful journey for me, I am honoured to participate in Bowtie's VHIS upgrade campaign. We have already made significant contributions to relieving pressure on public hospitals by filling a protection gap of over HK$60 billion for Hongkongers via pure protection products; we hope to unlock private hospital services for more people in the near future."
The Bowtie Life Insurance Company Limited is an authorised life insurance company and Hong Kong's very first virtual insurer approved under the Fast Track pilot scheme. Through the use of modern technology and medical expertise, Bowtie offers a commission-free convenient online platform for customers to quote, apply and claim for health insurance plans certified by the Health Bureau under the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS), Life Insurance and Critical Illness Insurance. Bowtie is backed by Sun Life Financial, Mitsui & Co., Ltd and supported by leading international reinsurers.