AIP News RoundUp – Episode 35 – Theresa Blissing and Michael Waitze – It Doesn’t Mean You Get the Journey Right

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Michael Waitze has been podcasting with some of the best investors and business builders globally and discussing all things startup with them from an Asian perspective. Michael worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo. Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used successfully to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth. Michael is quite skilled at connecting people and capital to innovative ideas and is a trusted advisor to both investors and founders. Michael is a leader in the digital media space, having pioneered the concept of a podcast network in Asia while building the biggest and fastest-growing listener base in the region. His flagship website, AsiaTechPodcast.com, has listeners in over 100 countries and is available on virtually every podcast player that supports RSS feeds.

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.

It is only the first month of the New Year and we already have Asia’s first InsurTech unicorn of 2021. Certainly a promising start! Indian InsurTech and licensed general insurer Digit achieved a valuation of US$1.9 billion. The company was only founded in 2017 by industry veteran Kamesh Goyal, who previously worked for insurance incumbent Allianz and to whom we spoke in our latest episode. 

In Japan, justInCase launched a SaaS for digital insurance sales called「Master.  justInCase is Japan’s first InsurTech company and received an insurance license in early 2018. In 2020, the InsurTech launched the first peer-to-peer concept approved by the regulatory sandbox program in Japan. Now they are back with their own technology arm, providing their technology solutions to incumbent insurers including Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance and JI Accident & Fire insurance. Listen to our episodes with founder Kazy Hata here and here

Insurers as well as startups offering their cutting edge technology as SaaS is a trend we have been following for a while. Another company playing in that space is Bolttech. In addition, Bolttech acts as a device protection provider and has now rebranded Thai online aggregator Frank.co.th into the Bolttech brand. Frank.co.th, founded by Harprem Doowa, was acquired in December 2018 by Bolttech and FWD parent Pacific Century Group and is now operating under the Bolttech brand. Listen to our episodes with Harprem Doowa, Bolttech GM Thailand Bob Wouters, and Melissa Wong, the Group Chief Digital Officer at Bolttech.

A new trend we are seeing in the insurance space is no-code development. In Japan, Sompo partnered with EasySend with the aim to build a new marine insurance accident notification system using the no-code platform. Many Japanese insurers are very open to deploying new technologies in partnerships with InsurTechs from overseas. Sompo already has established partnerships with US InsurTechs Slice and Trov


In Hong Kong, virtual bank ZA Bank has been granted an insurance agency license by the Hong Kong Insurance Authority (IA) and can now act as an agent for sister company ZA Insure. This digital version of a bancassurance partnership raises questions about the regulatory boundaries of virtual insurers and banks. Can virtual insurers partner with an incumbent bank but only sell on their mobile app?

Other companies mentioned in this episode: Uncharted, OneConnect, Coherent, Ignatica, Avo, PingAn, OneDegree, Wefox

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