Happy New Year! Asia InsurTech Podcast is back with more exciting news kicking off 2021!
Grab Financial Group (GFG) starts the year with a bang, securing over US$300 million in their series A funding round. According to Grab, GFG increased its total revenue by over 40% in 2020 vs 2019. Its insurance distribution reached over 4.5 million monthly active users and distributed over 70 million insurance policies to date. Listen here to our episodes with Tom Duncan, Head of Insurance at GFG.
In Indonesia, BCP, the holding company of e-wallet OVO, and Za Tech form an InsurTech JV. The goal is to help local insurance companies to digitize their business and allow them to sell bite-size insurance products at scale. And Grab competitor Gojek and e-commerce giant Tokopedia are reportedly in talks of a merger. The two most valuable unicorns in Indonesia have a combined valuation of US$18 billion. Both companies are under pressure from competitors, losing money, and market share.
In Singapore, GoBear ceased operations, officially due to COVID and the challenging fundraising environment. This might not be the full truth. Go Bear has been struggling to pivot. Despite raising an additional US$17 million from its long-term Dutch investors Aegon and Walvis in May 2020, several senior executives including the former co-founders had left the startup early last year.
In other news, ThaiRe announced it is deploying a reinsurance smart contract platform based on IBM’s blockchain capabilities. Thailand is known to be open to blockchain technology and we have seen several examples in the banking space already. In India, WhatsApp announced the rollout of health insurance and micro-pension products together with insurance partners SBI General, HDFC Pension, and Singapore-based firm PinBox Solutions.