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Insurtech Picking up Steam in Asia

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Insurtech is evolving rapidly in Asia with players taking big steps forward and deal counts multiplying as the growing wealth and middle class in huge markets like China, India and part of Southeast Asia, are bringing in opportunities for incumbents, disruptors and investors alike.

By 2029, Swiss Re estimates that Asia Pacific (APAC) will account for 42% of global insurance premiums with China forecasted to hold a 20% market share, making it the world’s largest insurance market by mid-2030.

Yet, currently, most markets across the region are largely underserved with demand in countries such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia and mainland China, remaining significantly unmet, according to a Bain & Company report.

But with governments across APAC launching supportive initiatives and passing favorable policies to support fintech, insurtech has somewhat followed that ascending trajectory with several big moves being played out over the past year or so.

In Indonesia, Qoala just raised US$13.5 million in Series A funding in the largest round ever raised by an Indonesian insurtech startup to date.

Launched in 2019, Qoala leverages big data, machine learning (ML), the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and blockchain to democratize insurance. The startup partners with big companies, including e-commerce and travel platforms, to enhance their customer experience through its innovative insurance products. Qoala’s key partners include Shopee, JD, Grabkios/Grab for merchants, Pegipegi, formerly the Traveloka app, Tokopedia and Investree.

In Singapore, AMTD Digital announced earlier this month that it had acquired insurtech startup PolicyPal. PolicyPal will serve as AMTD Digital’s “key operating vehicle” as the firm aims to build an insurtech platform across the whole Asian region, it said in a statement.

Founded in 2016, PolicyPal is a digital management platform for insurance. The startup was the first to graduate from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)’s Fintech regulatory sandbox two years ago.

In February, Singapore-based insurtech firm Uncharted announced that it had purchased compatriot Shift Insurtech in a move intended at helping it becoming “the emerging global leader of insurance technology,” the company said.

Singapore: the insurtech hub of Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, Singapore has become a hub for insurtech innovation, now boosting the region’s largest concentration of insurtech startups with about 80 companies, according to the Singapore Fintech Association’s insurtech directory.

The city-state has welcomed many insurtech players seeking to innovate and collaborate with the insurance industry, and the scene has been described as booming, industry participants told Asia Insurance Review.

Reflective of that is the surging amount of capital investors are pouring into the space. Between January and September 2019, insurtech funding in Singapore nearly quadrupled to US$128 million from US$35 million for the same period in 2018, according to an Accenture report.

In the first nine months of 2019, insurtech companies accounted for 17% of total fintech funding in Singapore, compared with just 8% the previous year.

Singapore fintech funding by product, Oct 2019, Source- Accenture Research analysis on CB Insights, Pitchbook and Tracxn databases as well as undisclosed venture capital transactions data provided by MAS

Singapore fintech funding by product, Oct 2019, Source: Accenture Research analysis on CB Insights, Pitchbook and Tracxn databases as well as undisclosed venture capital transactions data provided by MAS

Insurtech players from Singapore include the likes of Singapore Life (Singlife), which provides digital life insurance services, GoBear, an insurance plan comparison site, Inzsure, which offers on-demand corporate insurance solutions, and Symbo, a Singapore-based regional all lines insurance business with a digital insurance platform.

Igloo, formerly Axinan, is another notable insurtech startup from Singapore that offers digital insurance products and which leverages big data, real-time risk assessment, and end-to-end automated claims management.

Igloo’s offerings range from travel and personal goods insurance products to accidents and disease insurance, and its services are effective in markets including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Australia.

Founded in 2016 by former Grab CTO Wei Zhu, Igloo graduated from Singapore’s PayPal Innovation Lab the same year. The startup closed its Series A+ funding round in April.

China leads the way

But across APAC, it’s China, undeniably, that has been leading the way when it comes to insurance innovation.

With their giant platforms and extensive ecosystems, bigtechs such as Alibaba and Tencent have been at the forefront of the paradigm shift in the insurance business with some of them already having a substantial impact on the industry.

Tencent launched its insurtech subsidiary WeSure in 2017, allowing users to buy insurance products without ever leaving the WeChat ecosystem. WeSure is partnered with over 20 insurers and boasted a user base of more than 55 million, having insured over 25 million users, as of late 2019.

Similarly to WeSure, Alibaba’s mutual-aid platform Xiang Hu Bao operates via the Ant Financial-owned payments and lifestyle platform, the Alipay app. Xiang Hu Bao had attracted 100 million users, as of November 2019.

Meanwhile, Ping An, China’s largest health insurer, has transformed itself into a tech company. The firm has built a connected platform and ecosystem across insurance, health, finance, property, automotive and services for “smart cities,” with approximately 700 million users. Ping An’s core insurance business, HealthKonnect, covers 500 million people in 170+ cities.

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Source: https://fintechnews.sg/41331/insurtech/insurtech-picking-up-steam-in-asia/

Fintech

American Google Pay Users Can Now Transfer Money to Singapore Thanks to Wise

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London-based fintech unicorn Wise has announced an integration to bring its platform to Google Pay users allowing the send money abroad within the app from today onwards.

The initial launch will enable Google Pay users in the U.S. to send money to Google Pay users in India and Singapore.

By the end of the year, U.S. Google Pay users will be able to send money to 80 countries through Wise.

For new customers, Wise will make the first transfer free on transfers up to US$ 500 until June 16.

The platform allows banks, businesses and software companies to tap into the Wise network, giving them and their customers access to cheaper, faster international payments, through an integrated customer experience.

The Wise Platform is now used by banks and businesses in over 10 markets.

Harsh Sinha, Chief Technology Officer at Wise

Harsh Sinha

“Providing people with a simple and seamless way to safely send money to friends and family is more important than ever – be it for everyday use or in times of need.

Wise’s mission is money without borders – instant, convenient, transparent, and eventually, free. Through this collaboration, and with the integration of the Wise Platform, Google Pay customers can now send money internationally cheaper, faster, and easier.”

said Harsh Sinha, Chief Technology Officer at Wise.

Josh Woodward, Director of Product Management, Google Pay

Josh Woodward

“Cross-border payments are not just a lifeline for loved ones, they form the financial backbone for many economies.

For many people with families abroad, sending money home is something they do as frequently as every month. By teaming up with Wise, we are providing a way for Google Pay users to send money quickly, safely and reliably from the Google Pay app.”

said Josh Woodward, Director of Product Management, Google Pay.

Featured image: Photo by Matthew Kwong on Unsplash 

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Source: https://fintechnews.sg/51033/remittance/american-google-pay-users-can-now-transfer-money-to-singapore-thanks-to-wise/

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Fintech and retail banking firms urged to get involved in Water Breakthrough Challenge

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Fintech and retail banking firms urged to get involved in Water Breakthrough Challenge

·        The £40 million Water Breakthrough Challenge aims to spark ambitious innovation and enable new approaches and ways of working to address the big challenges facing the water sector. 

·        Entries are now open until Thursday 3 June 2021 with successful partnerships winning up to £10 million to develop and implement their initiatives.   

·        The Breakthrough Challenge is run by Ofwat and Nesta Challenges, supported by Arup, and is the second in a series of competitions funded through Ofwat’s Innovation Fund.  

·        The winners of Ofwat’s first competition – the Innovation in Water Challenge – include projects that turn ammonia in wastewater into green energy and use artificial intelligence (AI) and unexploited telecoms cables to detect leaks in the water network. 

A £40 million innovation competition – the Water Breakthrough Challenge – launches today (Thursday 6 May) to spark ambitious innovation and new ways of working in the water sector – and companies in the fintech and retail banking space are being urged to get involved.   

The Water Breakthrough Challenge aims to equip the water sector to address the big challenges facing the sector, driving far-reaching and long-lasting benefits to customers, society and the environment across England and Wales now and into the future.  It encourages collaborative entries from other sectors and worldwide partners, and aims to fund initiatives which water companies would otherwise have been unable to invest in or explore. 

Entries must demonstrate how solutions help the water sector deliver for customers, society and the environment, such as by achieving net zero, protecting natural ecosystems and reducing the impact of extreme weather, or using open data to improve customer service. 

The winners of Ofwat’s first innovation competition – the £2m Innovation in Water Challenge – were revealed last month and include green initiatives such as planting and restoring seagrass meadows on the Essex and Suffolk coastlines, a scheme to turn ammonia in wastewater into green hydrogen gas, and software that can monitor the degradation of wildlife habitats.

 Other ideas focus on the prevention of leaks in the water network through the use of AI, CCTV, and unexploited optical fiber strands in telecoms networks, as well as using behavioral science to better support vulnerable customers.  

John Russell, Senior Director at Ofwat, said: “Our innovation competitions are now in full swing and we are beginning to see a wave of innovation across the sector. Within the Breakthrough Challenge we are looking forward to seeing continued collaboration outside of the sector from a wide range of industries, and even more cutting-edge projects that tackle the greatest challenges facing our sector, and society as a whole.” 

The Water Breakthrough Challenge is funded through Ofwat’s £200 million Innovation Fund, as part of the regulator’s goal to drive innovation and collaboration in the water sector, supporting it to meet the needs of customers, society and the environment in the years to come. It is being delivered by Ofwat and Nesta Challenges, supported by Arup. 

Arlene Goode, Associate from Arup added: “This is a great opportunity for water companies and project partners. We’re excited to see the transformative projects which can move the water sector towards meeting its long-term ambitions”.  

Entries must be submitted by water companies in England and Wales, but they can enter in partnership with organizations outside the water sector – including in the fintech and retail banking space.

Chris Gorst, Director of Challenges at Nesta Challenges, commented: “The winning innovations from the first Innovation in Water Challenge show that the sector is ready to address the major challenges facing the industry, and society. A new approach is needed, including new ways of working and greater collaboration, but we have already seen the sector can rise to the challenge and deliver ground-breaking initiatives that change the status quo. We are very excited to see the trailblazing projects that the water companies, and their partners, put forward for the latest competition.” 

After a first assessment period following entries received by 3 June, selected entrants will be invited to submit more details from 28 June, with the winners announced in September. Winning entries will receive between £1 million and £10 million to support their initiatives.  

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Source: https://www.fintechnews.org/fintech-and-retail-banking-firms-urged-to-get-involved-in-water-breakthrough-challenge/

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Fintech and retail banking firms urged to get involved in Water Breakthrough Challenge

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Fintech and retail banking firms urged to get involved in Water Breakthrough Challenge

·        The £40 million Water Breakthrough Challenge aims to spark ambitious innovation and enable new approaches and ways of working to address the big challenges facing the water sector. 

·        Entries are now open until Thursday 3 June 2021 with successful partnerships winning up to £10 million to develop and implement their initiatives.   

·        The Breakthrough Challenge is run by Ofwat and Nesta Challenges, supported by Arup, and is the second in a series of competitions funded through Ofwat’s Innovation Fund.  

·        The winners of Ofwat’s first competition – the Innovation in Water Challenge – include projects that turn ammonia in wastewater into green energy and use artificial intelligence (AI) and unexploited telecoms cables to detect leaks in the water network. 

A £40 million innovation competition – the Water Breakthrough Challenge – launches today (Thursday 6 May) to spark ambitious innovation and new ways of working in the water sector – and companies in the fintech and retail banking space are being urged to get involved.   

The Water Breakthrough Challenge aims to equip the water sector to address the big challenges facing the sector, driving far-reaching and long-lasting benefits to customers, society and the environment across England and Wales now and into the future.  It encourages collaborative entries from other sectors and worldwide partners, and aims to fund initiatives which water companies would otherwise have been unable to invest in or explore. 

Entries must demonstrate how solutions help the water sector deliver for customers, society and the environment, such as by achieving net zero, protecting natural ecosystems and reducing the impact of extreme weather, or using open data to improve customer service. 

The winners of Ofwat’s first innovation competition – the £2m Innovation in Water Challenge – were revealed last month and include green initiatives such as planting and restoring seagrass meadows on the Essex and Suffolk coastlines, a scheme to turn ammonia in wastewater into green hydrogen gas, and software that can monitor the degradation of wildlife habitats.

 Other ideas focus on the prevention of leaks in the water network through the use of AI, CCTV, and unexploited optical fiber strands in telecoms networks, as well as using behavioral science to better support vulnerable customers.  

John Russell, Senior Director at Ofwat, said: “Our innovation competitions are now in full swing and we are beginning to see a wave of innovation across the sector. Within the Breakthrough Challenge we are looking forward to seeing continued collaboration outside of the sector from a wide range of industries, and even more cutting-edge projects that tackle the greatest challenges facing our sector, and society as a whole.” 

The Water Breakthrough Challenge is funded through Ofwat’s £200 million Innovation Fund, as part of the regulator’s goal to drive innovation and collaboration in the water sector, supporting it to meet the needs of customers, society and the environment in the years to come. It is being delivered by Ofwat and Nesta Challenges, supported by Arup. 

Arlene Goode, Associate from Arup added: “This is a great opportunity for water companies and project partners. We’re excited to see the transformative projects which can move the water sector towards meeting its long-term ambitions”.  

Entries must be submitted by water companies in England and Wales, but they can enter in partnership with organizations outside the water sector – including in the fintech and retail banking space.

Chris Gorst, Director of Challenges at Nesta Challenges, commented: “The winning innovations from the first Innovation in Water Challenge show that the sector is ready to address the major challenges facing the industry, and society. A new approach is needed, including new ways of working and greater collaboration, but we have already seen the sector can rise to the challenge and deliver ground-breaking initiatives that change the status quo. We are very excited to see the trailblazing projects that the water companies, and their partners, put forward for the latest competition.” 

After a first assessment period following entries received by 3 June, selected entrants will be invited to submit more details from 28 June, with the winners announced in September. Winning entries will receive between £1 million and £10 million to support their initiatives.  

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Source: https://www.fintechnews.org/fintech-and-retail-banking-firms-urged-to-get-involved-in-water-breakthrough-challenge/

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London based Fintech Finastra Partners with Be | Shaping the Future to Offer Managed Services

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Finastra, a financial services software and Cloud-enabled solutions provider, has decided to extend its partnership with Be | Shaping the Future, a global group offering consulting, IT and digital engagement services to the financial services sector.

The partnership extension should see Be offering managed services – via its Germany-headquartered division Be | Shaping the Future GmbH – for Finastra’s treasury and capital markets software (Fusion Kondor and Fusion Risk) deployed in the Cloud across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (DACH).

The partnership between Finastra and Be should result in growth in market share while providing greater value to new and existing clients. It also includes the launch of Finastra solutions in a Cloud-enabled environment,  along with flexible managed services.

Financial institutions may potentially be able to lower their operating costs by as much as 75% and adapt to market challenges a lot faster by reducing implementation and development lifecycles by around 50%.

Rüdiger Borsutzki, MD at Be | Shaping the Future GmbH, stated:

“Our team brings deep domain knowledge of the investment and commercial banking markets and a can-do attitude with a commitment that supports our clients’ pace and culture. We pride ourselves for our access to a superior network, expertise and experience aimed at driving collaboration and growth for the wider ecosystem. Our work with Finastra is well aligned with this vision and we’re looking forward to delivering on this evolution of our partnership.”

With a strong local presence – which spans the DACH region – and a client-centric approach, Be | Shaping the Future GmbH will offer 24/7 support in order to make sure financial service providers have the support they need while conducting business.

Denise Parker, SVP, Partners and Ecosystem at Finastra remarked:

“We are excited to extend our long-standing partnership with Be. We’ve worked together for many years and are confident that their successful track record in supporting our customers will continue. This move will help us to deliver our treasury and capital markets solutions across DACH quickly in the cloud, with 24/7 support on the ground.”

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Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2021/05/175155-london-based-fintech-finastra-partners-with-be-shaping-the-future-to-offer-managed-services/

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