July started with major investment news coming out of India. SoftBank made another investment of USD 150 million into PolicyBazaar and holds now a 15% stake while CEO and co-founder Yashish Dahiya calls the investment a ‘mistake’. (Listen to the podcast we recorded with Yashish in April 2020 here.) More international investment rumors coming from Google and its plans to invest USD 4 billion into Jio Platforms, the telco subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited. At the same time, Reliance has announced plans to expand its financial services including insurance broking and mutual fund products on the Jio platform. And newcomer PlumHQ, an Indian group health insurance startup, has raised over USD 900k in seed funding.
In the Philippines, we are witnessing the start of a new Regulatory Sandbox and the announcement of a new insurance marketplace currently developed by Filipino tech startup Kwik.insure. We are also seeing more partnerships to leverage new forms of distribution. In Singapore, Singtel’s Dash launched an insurance savings plan in partnership with Etiqa, and in Indonesia, we are seeing a new partnership between Qoala, Simas InsurTech, part of Indo conglomerate Sinarmas Group and OYO, the global accommodation network.
In Taiwan, insurers formed an alliance to establish a blockchain-based partnership to facilitate information exchange in order to make life easier for customers with multiple policies. This is the first step to a holistic industry consortium leveraging blockchain technology. And Taiwan/Hong Kong startup OneDegree announced the launch of IXT Core, a core insurance platform available for insurers, MGAs, and brokers. We have seen several cases of full-stack insurers and brokers moving into SaaS. The question now is, how many do we actually need?
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