Living in the age of technological disruption, the insurance industry seems to be the next one to be involved too. Insurtech represents a group of apps, software’s, and startups reinventing the traditional insurance industry. According to PwC, 35% of insurtech startups are focusing on ways to improve customer relationships, promoting transparency that may be lacking with human financial advisors. Furthermore, insurtech companies are able to transform and improve the operational practices of the insurance industry for both business and customer. They offer an extensive data source, providing new possibilities for underwriting, increasing customer centricity and reducing costs. (Source: FinTech Singapore)
In today’s article we look at how Val Jisuan Yap helped transformed the insurtech industry in Singapore with her company, Policy Pal.
About Val Ji-hsuan Yap
Val Ji-hsuan Yap was a former sales broker at Allianz and she is very passionate about making insurance protection simple and accessible to everyone. She was recently awarded the Forbes “30 Under 30” list for Finance and Venture Capital. She graduated from Singapore University of Social Sciences, with MSc Business Management at Imperial College London and BA Digital Media at University of the Arts London. After she graduated, she worked as a Risk Assurance Consultant at PwC in London. After that, Val went on to become the Assistant Vice President at OCBC Bank in Singapore focusing on launching digital campaigns, working closely with wealth and marketing to drive innovations. She is also a frequent speaker at universities and conferences. (Source: LinkedIn)
Val founded PolicyPal – a free app that allows users to organize and track, all their insurance products in one dashboard, in 2016 after she experienced the hassle of finding and sorting old insurance policies for her family when a family member was sick.
PolicyPal aims to help customers understand their insurance coverage better, digitise and collate their insurance policies – giving them a digital wallet for their insurance policies. They have also received seed funding from 500 startups and some angel investors. (Source: Forbes)
Their app uses artificial intelligence to simplify and digitise its insurance, making it easier for policyholders to manage various insurance policies. It targets individuals and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).
According to their website, they have helped 50,000 people with their policies and they offer business, travel, motor, life, personal accident, endowment, retirement and even pet insurance. She has plans to expand outside of Singapore to other Asian markets such as Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, and Thailand.
First graduate of MAS FinTech Regulatory Sandbox
PolicyPal is the first company to graduate from the ^FinTech Regulatory Sandbox of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
The insurtech start-up is supported by PayPal and partnered with several insurers in Singapore – including AIG, Aviva, AXA, Etiqa, and NTUC Income. They entered the sandbox in March and during the six-month period, they were given the chance to test and refine its technology and distribution model.
“The MAS sandbox allowed us to experiment with technology applications and our product offerings in order to fulfil our vision of making insurance simple and convenient for all,” said Val in an interview. (Source: Insurance Business Asia)
Challenges with other financial institutions
“In Singapore, MAS has been actively promoting collaboration between financial institutions, insurance companies, as well as consulting companies. They often encourage us to work together so that both of us can leverage on our own expertise,” she said in an interview.
When collaborating with big insurance companies, Insurtech startups can not only benefit from their knowledge and expertise but also their size and popularity of their brand.
However, this has not always been easy as one of the challenges that startups are facing when collaborating with some insurance companies or banks is the factor of sustainability.
“When an insurance company or a bank collaborate with startup, sometimes it’s only for short period. ‘Look, I’m collaborating with startups, I’m innovating.’ After three months, six months, then it’s just gone,” she said in an interview.
Thus, she stressed that there has to be longer time collaboration to make it more sustainable. (Source: e27)
She also owns PAL Network – a dual-layered protocol for financial assets, with the vision to build an ecosystem where individuals and partners can design and customise new financial products. With her experience in insurtech, she started PAL Network in 2017 by designing insurance and finance solutions onto smart contracts within minutes. Through its APIs, PAL Network empowers its partners to cross-sell relevant insurance products at the point-of-demand, thereby bridging the gap between financial products and customer. According to their website, they bring fairer insurance to the market. In addition, they also built a modular and personalised insurance products to serve partners from traditional insurers, fintech and digital players. ^The MAS FinTech Regulatory Sandbox aims to encourage experimentation and innovation in the financial industry by providing a controlled environment with more relaxed financial regulations. It allows firms to test new financial products and services with more freedom, but it also has safeguards to keep the overall financial system safe and secure in case of failure.
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