Insurtech is one of the most promising branches of fintech, yet in the Southeast Asian region there is an impression that there are not that many companies operating in the sector. This case is especially true when compared to other segments such as e-commerce.
This is why, for those who work on the sector, there are plenty of opportunities to succeed at various level.
Responding to this hypothesis on the first day of Echelon Asia Summit 2019 at Singapore Expo on Thursday, May 23, Cindy Kua, CEO of Thailand-based insurtech startup Sunday Ins stressed that insurance is basically a “very complex” industry.
“The challenge with Southeast Asia is that it is still in very early stage for insurtech,” Kua told e27 Editor Kevin MsSpadden in a fireside chat.
“For founders and startups … the challenge is in how you play in this market. Because the entire value chain can be disrupted,” she continued.
Kua explained that when the co-founders decided to build Sunday, they had to figure out on which aspect of the insurance business they are going to focus on: From implementing artificial intelligence to solve a specific pain point to delving in insurance brokering.
The ability to differentiate is crucial as even companies such as Grab and Google at some time were looking to become an insurance aggregator.
“When we started in 2017, we decided that we want to be insurer ourselves. Our main differentiation factor is that we are risk experts. We adsorb and manage the risks, and we deploy that in a highly localised market like Southeast Asia,” Kua said.
She further explained that in the region, insurance marketing is still predominantly run by agents and intermediaries.
In the case of Thailand, Kua pointed out that motor insurance remains the most popular type of insurance as it is compulsory for vehicle owners to have one. Its popularity is followed by comprehensive car insurance, which is also required when vehicle owners are applying for financing.
As for competition, in the kingdom there are 16 life insurance companies operating, and Kua did not hesitate to admit that her company is competing with them.
“But there are a lot of rooms for startups and new companies. Because even the incumbents are looking for something new to stay ahead and they are struggling,” Kua said.
As an end-to-end insurtech platform, Sunday Ins looks after the sales and after-sales services for various insurance products, from motor to healthcare.
Their products are customisable, and each customer is provided with an app that includes features such as panic button for emergencies. For example, if a car insurance policy holder experiences an accident, by using the panic button, the customer can have a surveyor being dispatched to his location immediately.
In the future, Sunday Ins is looking forward to introduce self-service feature.
In February, the company made headline with a US$10 million funding round led by Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India.
According to Kua, the factor that enabled Sunday to seal the deal was the licence play.
“When you bring a licence into the deal, it started to become more complex. It is the go-to-market strategy that, I believe, has bought them,” Kua stressed.