2016 was the year of fintech and insurtech in Asia. Over the course of the year, I spent a lot of my time building insurance value propositions in Asia, delving deeply into the potential future of insurtech in this region.
Based on these learnings, here are five imaginary start-ups that could find their way into the market in the coming ten years based on trends, emerging customer needs and technologies. As with all future predictions, this is a hypothetical sneak peak – and only the future will tell whether these are the right predictions.
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A lot of urbanised Asia is blessed with a well-established or emerging public transport infrastructure. comsure.Asia will offer daily, tap-as-you-go life insurance protection for commuters using stored value cards. For every trip users take, a couple cents are auto-deducted from their balance, covering them for the day. In case of accidental death or permanent disability the insurance pays out a lump sum to their families. Sign-up will be available in major convenience stores and takes minutes. comsure.Asia will sign strategic partnerships with major public transport operators, insuring millions of people in major cities.
With the advent of trust-enabling technology, insurance will returning to a mutual business model. Social.life will be a purely peer-to-peer life insurance company using the latest smart contract technology, with fully automated payouts of death benefits. It will view itself as an insurance social network and a trusted technology intermediary offering mutualised life at scale. Premiums are auto-determined based on a myriad of data collected, including life expectancy statistics as well as news, traffic data, place of residence, and behaviour patterns. Surplus premiums will be invested in P2P lending at a guaranteed interest of 10 per cent per annum and returned to the insured. The company will serve 100,000 customers across 97 cities in Asia.
Following great medical research strides in the science of prolonging life, Welll is a company that focuses on helping their customers make the most of the time they are alive. It will offer a first-of-a-kind quality of life insurance product that pays for remedial treatments whenever the happiness level of their users falls below a pre-determined threshold. The offering is enabled by Welllable, its skin-embedded device that automatically monitors brain chemistry for prevention and detection of happiness-impeding influences. Threats to physical or emotional wellbeing are either resolved on the spot or through a dense network of mental pit-stop clinics. As per WHO, 67 per cent of the happiest people alive will use Welll daily.
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With digital payments making up the vast majority of 2025 transactions and cash phasing out, Spendsurance makes all insurance decisions on behalf of its customers based on the things they spend on. The start-up auto-insures customers' lives, household possessions, travel plans, medical needs and vehicles autonomously in the background, while providing real-time advice for customers to minimise risk exposure in their daily lives. Its subscription fee will be based on household income, and customers earn rebates with increasing spend. The company will be negotiating an acquisition offer in the ballpark of US$11 billion from Google Bank.
With most private wealth in Japan traditionally held in cash, Fundsure will revolutionise banking in the country. Instead of a regular bank account, Fundvest will offer a fully automated investment account achieving a guaranteed 4 per cent return. Just like a savings account customers can deposit and draw cash anytime they like. Depending on their average daily account balance, users are eligible to buy a term life insurance paid for with a portion of their interest. Within three years time, 5 per cent of families in Tokyo will already have a Fundsure account, resulting in several trillion yen in assets under management.
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