In Asia, interest in insurtech grows as industry experts and observers perceive the region’s fast-growing economies and underinsured population as an untapped opportunity.
While insurtech in Asia is still in its infancy, the sector is growing fast and attracting venture capital. Notable deals so far this year include a US$15 million Series B funding round for third-party insurance services provider Huize.com; and a US$20 million Series B funding round for Xishan Information Technology, the operator of discount insurance e-tailer Datebao.com.
George Kesselman, the former COO of AIG Indonesia and VP Claims Operations of AIG APAC, initiated Insurtech Asia earlier this year, a “platform to jumpstart the insurtech ecosystem.”
With Insurtech Asia, Kesselman seeks to connect industry participants and build a community that will actively collaborate to foster insurance innovation.
Kesselman first tested out the Insurtech Asia blueprint in Singapore, “one of the best locations” for insurtech, prior to the wider rollout across Asia. He pointed out the country’s political stability, strategic location within Asia, and its nurturing entrepreneurship ecosystem, as the main elements that make Singapore a potential key player in the sector.
A recent survey conducted by PwC found that incumbent insurers are aware of the rise of insurtech with nine in ten insurers fearing losing part of their business to fintechs, and 74% predicting disruption of their business over the next five years.
Today, we take a look at who these players might be, with a particular focus on Asia.
Valued at US$8 billion, Zhong An Online P&C Insurance Co. is China’s first complete online insurance company offering a comprehensive range of over 200 insurance products including commercial property, cargo and liability insurance, but also insurance against flat tires and accidents caused by drones.
Founded in 2013 as a joint venture between Alibaba, Tencent, and Ping An Insurance and Zhong An has written more than 3.6 billion policies.
According to IFR, the company is planning an up-to-US$2 billion initial public offering in mainland China later this year.
Another key Chinese player is TongJuBao (aka P2P Protect), which applies the community insurance model focusing on social risks.
Founded in 2014, TongJuBao is an online platform on which members of the community take the commitment to support within a maximum defined amount. This engagement corresponds to a maximum no higher than 75% of fee already paid, and the community member has no obligation to pay more. When a life accident occurs for a member, he or she will be supported by all other participants.
Founded in 2008, Policybazaar is an Indian online insurance comparison portal that has raised over US$69 million in venture capital from the likes of Info Edge, Intel Capital, Tiger Global Management, Ribbit Capital and Inventus Capital.
The platform specializes in making comparative analysis of the insurance products of various insurance policies based on price, quality and key benefits.
Policybazaar CEO and co-founder Yashish Dahiya told PTI in July:
“We are growing at nearly 100 per cent in life and general insurance business and expect new businesses, investments, mutual funds and loans to grow at a even rapid pace. These will be the drivers of our business over the next 4 years.”
Coverfox Insurance Broking is an Indian startup providing insurance brokerage services. The platform offers products online for Indian customers across categories like health, care, life, travel and home insurance.
The startup is reportedly in discussions with existing as well as new investors to fuel the company’s expansion plans. Coverfox has sold 100,000 policies, as of February 2016.
In April 2015, the company raised US$12 million in its Series B funding round from Accel Partners, Accel India and SAIF Partners.
DirectAsia launched in Singapore in 2010 with the goal of changing the insurance business in Asia by providing customers with the ability to buy insurance products directly, cutting out middlemen and brokers.
DirectAsia is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and also serves customers in Hong Kong and Thailand.
In 2014, the company was acquired by Hiscox Insurance, a leading insurer listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Singaporean GoBear provides insurance and financial comparison services throughout Asia.
Founded in 2015, GoBear has started expanding to other countries in the region starting with Malaysia in May, followed by the Philippines in July, and has unveiled plans to launch in Thailand.
GoBear primarily focuses on comparison services for travel, car and health insurance products, as well as credit cards and personal loans.
Featured image: Hand of doctor pressing a button on modern medical screen by Creativa Images, via Shutterstock.