Digital Transformation Frontier Forum has held discussion forums for three years bringing together industry leaders and university students to share knowledge and exchange insights on emerging technologies. The Forum joined hands with the AF Tech workshop this semester on 12 November 2021 to discuss InsurTech, which represents the use of technology by companies towards insurance services analogous to the term fintech.
Dr Tian Feng, Programme Director of Master of Accounting and Finance Analytics hosted the workshop. Dr Xu Xin, Associate Dean (External Relations and Development) of the Faculty of Business and Director of Faculty of Business Digital Transformation Centre, delivered the opening remarks.
In his presentation themed InsurTech101, Professor Jack Poon from the School of Accounting and Finance briefed on the global and regional landscape of the insurance industry. He mentioned that the global life and nonlife insurance premium written reached $6.3 trillion in 2020, compared to the $5.5 trillion revenue generated by global banks in 2019. Global insurance companies held over $36 trillion in total assets, which is enormous compared to countries’ total assets and gross domestic product.
Insurtech constitutes a significant representation among the Global Fintech 250 by type and funding. The investment in InsurTech till October 2021 rose 27% compared to the entire year of 2020. With continuous investment, the insurance sector is expected to adopt more innovation. According to a survey, customers expect more benefits, including lower insurance premiums and quicker contract conclusions and claim settlements with technology adoption.
Three topics were shared by seasoned Insurtech professionals, followed by a panel discussion.
Alvin Kwok, Co-Founder of OneDegree, founded in 2016, introduced the platform as a new generation of InsurTech that makes insurance accessible through technology, innovation, and superior users experience. With over 180 employees and 110,000 insurance users, OneDegree offers three business areas: licensed virtual insurance business, core system SaaS for global insurers, and ecosystem of virtual assets.
According to Kwok, OneDegree recently became the first Asia headquartered insurer to provide insurance for digital assets. It also offers insurance services for pets and e-commence services to expand in the affluent market.
“Our target is to revolutionize the insurance process with proven speed and efficiency and to become the go-to brand for Hong Kong’s mass affluent segment,” said Kwok. He expected 50% of the general insurance personal lines market to be digital by 2025 globally. The current share in Hong Kong is 7%, which is relatively low compared with 37% in the US and 100% in the UK.
Besides the vast market potential of InsurTech in Hong Kong, Jackie Chu, Chief Actuary of ZA Insure, has witnessed the mortality protection gap in Hong Kong’s insurance industry. She said her company aims to leverage technology to close the gap with simple-structured and affordable insurance products.
Backed by ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance, ZA Insure is a digital-only insurance platform that aims to provide insurance that everyone can afford. The ZA Life Protection premium is as low as HK$ 32 per year, and ZA VHIS daily premium is as low as HK$ 3.
In addition to affordable prices, the platform operates 24 hours a day and can process up to 32,000 insurance policies per second. An online application can be completed with 6 clicks, and 99% of applicants can get instant protection.
As Hong Kong’s first in-depth collaboration between a virtual insurer and a virtual bank, ZA Insure teamed up with ZA Bank to embed insurance into the whole digital ecosystem. According to Chu, ZA International also worked with Grab to launch GrabInsure, which offers flexible and innovative solutions to everyday insurance needs.
William Yeung shares the same vision with ZA Insure to make insurance affordable to the general public. It concentrates on the pain points of the medical insurance sector.
As co-founder and CEO of MediConCen, Yeung shared his entrepreneurial experience and views on InsurTech. Founded in 2018, his company aims to connect people to the right doctors and solve medical financing by utilizing blockchain to automate insurance claims and an all-in-one app solution that facilitates clinic check-in and claims management.
Yeung said that the platform could efficiently handle high-frequency claims. The capability can power a low-cost automatic individual and group outpatient plan that has truly unlimited usage with no waiting period. The underwriting and exclusions can enable insurers to acquire customers through traffic partners.
As the first in Asia blockchain medical ecosystem, MediConCen serves over 600,000 customers through 10 partner insurers, including BOC, China Life, Taiping, and BlueCross. MediConCen was listed as Forbes Asia 100 to Watch, which features a diverse range of companies spanning biotechnology and healthcare, e-commerce and retail, food and hospitality, and education and recruitment.
In the future, Mr. Yeung hopes to build the company as the Airbnb for all medical needs powered by the bank, insurance, and government financing and a health coach of all, making health credit an asset and addressing both prevention and treatment.
The forum was concluded by a Q-and-A session chaired by Professor Jack Poon.