AIP News RoundUp – Episode 33 – Year End 2020 – Shefali Sonpar and Theresa Blissing – The Larger Ecosystem Is Now Getting More and More Technology Adaptable


Michael Waitze worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo.  Michael lived and worked in Tokyo from February 1990 until December 2011.  Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth. Michael is a leader in the digital media space, building one of the biggest and fastest-growing podcast listener bases in the region.  His show has listeners in more than 170 countries and his company, Michael Waitze Media produces some of Asia’s most popular podcasts.

Theresa is the founder of the Asia InsurTech Podcast and a Thought Leader on innovation in insurance in Asia. She has worked for ten years for leading multinational insurers in Europe and Asia before turning to management consulting and venture building with the goal of transforming the insurance industry and helping shape its future in the region.

Experienced leader empowering Insurers to drive growth through digital transformation. Shefali is passionate about building business solutions based on the transformation power of digital and data - pushing innovation boundaries – exploring the possibilities for technology impact on business.

Bryan Falchuk is the Managing Partner of Insurance Evolution Partners, which advises carriers and their partners on how to navigate an evolving industry facing disruption and change. Bryan spent 20 years in insurance, including serving as Head of Claims for Hiscox USA and leading Growth for an insurtech. He has also held leadership roles in corporate strategy, operations and distribution at carriers like Liberty Mutual and Beazley, and was a consultant in McKinsey & Company’s insurance practice.

Erika studied economics / business management and she has long time management experience in national and interntational insurance companies in developing company startegy and organisation. She is a member of the Austrian innovation expert group.

Dr. Tunde Salako is an insurtech enterpreneur with experience in the business of engendering access to insurance and fostering penetration. His background and expertise have obliged him the privilege to have cut across several industries spanning insurance, healthcare , and more recently data science. He has worked with both local and international professionals at c-suite and board levels on diverse missions channeled towards achieving specific goals. Tunde’s interests cut across technology, analytics, and business process automation. He is passionate about the use of tech to galvanize inclusion in the insurance ecosystem hence, the birth of the platform -Africa Insurtech Rising (A.I.R) in a bid to nurture the insurance-technology ecosystem. This platform is an aggregator of stakeholders in the Insur-Tech space with a focus on the African insurance sector passionately reverse engineering insurance inclusion on the continent via technology. The platform is the insurtech partner to the African Fintech Network ,partner to Quesnay Insurtech New York, Insurtech-Story India amongst other notable organizations. He is also Co-founder/CEO of an Insurtech Software-as-aService (SaaS) platform accelerating insurance inclusion via technology and data science in Nigeria, Tanzania. He is a member of the Barcelona Health Hub, Digital Insurance Community Netherlands and an alum of the Insurtech Hub Munich.

For the last  News Roundup of 2020, Theresa Blissing, Michael Waitze, and Shefali Sonpar reflected on what 2020 meant for InsurTech and digital transformation and what 2021 might look like.

2020 was the year that insurers all over the world were forced to accelerate digital transformation and embrace digital distribution. InsurTechs have played a crucial role on many levels. InsurTechs like Uncharted, Ignatica, and Coherent have helped insurance incumbents to digitise their backend and frontend. Singlife and Galileo have even ventured into adopting blockchain technology as a core system. 

In terms of digital distribution, platforms have expanded their footprint in insurance. Grab has been offering micro and bite-sized insurance to drivers and users, Amazon has teamed up with Acko and WhatsApp is piloting insurance sales in India. Bolttech has secured partnerships across Asia and Igloo is expanding rapidly in Southeast Asia. 

Despite a challenging year, InsurTech is still booming. At the same time, it has grown up. Like you do when facing a major crisis. InsurTech isn’t just the hobby of C-level executives but a necessity to digitise the industry, develop new products and services, and identify new markets and distribution channels. InsurTech is what helps insurance incumbents accelerate their digitisation journey and what pushed insurance as a whole into the future. 

2020 has truly been an exceptional year globally. While traveling has become challenging at best and mostly impossible, the global InsurTech community has stayed connected and has flourished. The Asia InsurTech Podcast invited three of our friends to share their views on 2020 and what they think 2021 will look like as well. 

From the Americas: Bryan Falchuk, Insurance Evolution Partners

From Europe: Erika Krizsan, Insurance Factory

From Africa: Dr. Tunde Salako, Africa InsurTech Rising

Other companies mentioned in this episode: Yas, Riskwolf, DocDoc, Allianz, FWD, Gojek

Episode 137