Changing customer preferences are creating a demand for digital services in the insurance sector. There are an estimated 1,500 InsurTech (insurance technology) startups in the world, but only 100 in Southeast Asia, a region that is home to 650 million people with a growing middle class and a low insured base, creating increased demand and an enormous opportunity across the region.
InsurTechs startups will have a big impact on the way the insurance industry evolves in Southeast Asia as it transforms the underwriting processes and offers customised insurance solutions directly to the consumer’s handheld device. Through innovation, the industry will be able to respond rapidly to changing customer needs while simplifying the application and claims processes.
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Here are five InsurTech startups in the Southeast Asian region that are already making an impact:
Val Jihsuan Yap founded the Singapore-based PolicyPal in 2016 as a means of providing customers with a single point to purchase all their insurance policies needs. PolicyPal is an insurance marketplace, bringing together dozens of partners including big names in the industry such as AIG, Singapore Life, and HSBC. Through the network of providers, consumers can purchase a full range of policies such as personal injury, travel, motor, and life insurance and pay premiums with credit or debit cards. PolicyPal also provides a marketplace for customers to buy, sell, and exchange existing endowment policies.
Through their social media marketing campaign, PolicyPal provides special offers and advice on the importance of insurance. PolicyPal is the first InsurTech startup to be accepted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. They have raised $20 million USD in an ICO in March of 2018.
Founded in 2013 by Rosaline Chow Koo, CXA Group has received recognition for innovation from the healthcare, insurance, and human resource industries for its efforts to shift wellness in the workplace from treatment to prevention. CXA addresses four main HR pain points: “escalating health care costs due to worsening employee health, unappreciated benefits, burdensome HR administration, and the lack of ROI to justify wellness interventions.”
The “corporate benefits aggregator” brings together a cashless network of insurance providers and health and wellness providers and allows employees to choose their own personal wellness programmes. CXA has raised $33 million USD in Series A and B funding and is expanding its operations across China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and South Korea.
Based in Kuala Lumpur, PolicyStreet aims to “democratise” an industry renowned for its complexity and make insurance accessible and affordable to its client base in Malaysia, where 45% of the population does not currently have life insurance.
Wilson Beh, Winnie Chua, and Yen Ming Lee founded the company in 2017 and have raised $535 thousand USD in Seed and Grant funding. The company offers life, travel, property, and medical insurance in easily understood, simple contract options. All insurance is offered commission free and the company offers rebates on some of its more popular plans as well.
In an innovate move in February 2018, PolicyStreet offered an employee protection plan for workers at the 7,000-square-foot co-working space, DOJO in Kuala Lumpur, demonstrating a strong commitment to providing affordable coverage for SMEs and millennials who are embracing the popular and rapidly growing workplace design.
PasarPolis CEO, Cleosent Randing (C) at a Press Conference with BPJS Employment in 2017.Image courtesy of Facebook.
Jakarta-based PasarPolis hopes to transform the insurance industry in Indonesia. Backed by three Indonesian “unicorns”–ride-hailing operator Go-Jek, e-commerce marketplace Tokopedia, and travel-booking company Traveloka, PasarPolis offers insurance policies directly to consumers as well as through business-to-business partnerships.
PasarPolis was established in 2015 as an insurance comparison website and now offers insurance policies online. Founder and CEO, Cleosent Randing’s goal is to use technology to lower barriers so that insurance is affordable to everyone. Partnering with a government-owned insurer to provide insurance to more than 250,000 of Go-Jek’s partner-drivers is an example of PasarPolis’s commitment to affordable insurance for all. Although there was no financial information available at the time of this writing, Crunchbase reports that the company is in the Series A stage of funding.
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Former policy analyst at the Government House of Thailand and founder of Thai-based Appman, Amarit Franssen aims to reduce the “tedious paperwork” in the insurance business, and transform Thailand’s 700 million Baht insurance industry.
Founded in 2011, AppMan is the leading provider of life insurance in Thailand. Backed by a team of 70 developers, designers, and analysts the company’s app, “Agentmate,” is constantly evolving from customer feedback to provide an easy-to-use mobile platform. Partners include Siam Commercial Bank, Thai Samsung, Allianz Ayudhya. There was no financial information available at the time of this writing.
The predominant theme in the InsurTech industry is the use of technology to make insurance affordable and accessible to millions of uninsured and underinsured customers in the region. They are doing this by educating the masses on the importance and benefits of insurance while making the processes easier with simplified forms and by reaching millions of people through their mobile devices. In an industry that has not yet faced much disruption, things are likely to change as a competitive marketplace evolves–bringing down costs, increasing knowledge and awareness, and making insurance easier to understand and acquire.
Each of these startups shows the potential of technology to remove the barriers that have previously prevented millions of people from accessing insurance. And nowhere is the potential to improve people’s lives through InsurTech greater than in the growing market of Southeast Asia.