November 29, 2021
MAKATI CITY, 25 November -- Maximizing innovation, employing growth-enabling approaches, and understanding the market’s evolving needs, are the messages that were highlighted at the recent ECCP Forum on InsurTech Sandbox: Utilizing Optimization, Innovation, and Growth.
The Insurance Commission reported that the COVID-19 has been instrumental in speeding up the insurance industry’s transition towards digital transformation. Commissioner Dennis Funa reported that an increasing number of local insurers have opened themselves for innovations and incorporated insurance technology or ‘insurtech’ in their conduct of businesses. He also welcomed policy support from foreign jurisdictions and industry players, considering the relatively young insurtech environment in the Philippines.
Relative to this, John Januszczak, Chairperson of the ECCP Special Committee on Open Finance and Financial Inclusion and CEO of UBX Philippines, stated that “it is absolutely critical that we work with the Insurance Commission and with the insurance industry, as insurance is a key component of the financial services ecosystem and therefore key to open finance, financial inclusion and perhaps, most importantly, to financial wellness.” ECCP and Januszczak had the opportunity to engage with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas at the European-Philippine Business Summit in September 2021.
Januszczak added that insurtech is well positioned to close the protection gap in the country, which at 2% insurance penetration, is also lagging behind its ASEAN peers.
Having talked about the company’s work in China, Malaysia, and South Korea, AIG APAC Regional Head of Partnerships, Grace Tng, said that the company’s past years has been focused on “understanding where its partners are coming from, understanding about the customer segments within a certain space, and really drilling down to the right kinds of solutions.” AIG Philippines’ Gary Wong also acknowledged the opportunities that come along with embracing technology, which makes processes “easier, friendlier, streamlined, efficient.”
Meanwhile, UBX Singapore Managing Director Cyrus Cruz shared its key priorities including embedded insurance in industries such as e-commerce and health, reaching out to SMEs, as well as the introduction of insurance platforms that enhance and complement existing mechanisms.
For Pru Life UK, its Philippines CEO Eng Teng Wong leveraged on a customer-centric approach significantly supported by its “largest, youngest, and potentially strongest workforce” in the country, in addition to the increasingly available technological advancements and regulatory support. Their health technology initiative, which launched in the Philippines in February 2020, currently has over 6 million users. He also said that the introduction of a regulatory sandbox allows companies to think beyond insurance and to explore the adjacent industry, health and wellness.
From the perspective of insurtech best practices in the region and talking about maximizing the insurtech opportunities, India Insurtech Association Co-Founder, Subhajit Mandal, encouraged companies to create an environment and mindset that is focused on the long term.
In 2020, the Insurance Commission issued Circular Letter No. 2020-73, which provides a set of guidelines in adopting a regulatory sandbox framework for the insurance technology or ‘insurtech’ industry. The Commission also later issued Circular Letter 2021-11, adopting a similar set of guidelines for HMOs and pre-need companies’ financial technology or ‘fintech’ innovations.