Ep 01 – Puay Lim Yeo – Head of Asia, BIMA – MicroInsurance – We’re Still Tip of the Iceberg


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 AsiaTechPodcast.com show has listeners in more than 170 countries and his company, Michael Waitze Media produces some of Asia’s most popular podcasts.

Puay Lim Yeo

Puay Lim joined BIMA in 2012 as the first employee in Asia, and currently oversees BIMA's markets in South and Southeast Asia as Regional Manager. He is a key member of BIMA's senior management team, having seen the company's growth from start to the world's leading insurance and health services provider for emerging markets. Prior to BIMA, he was in management consulting and government.

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Puay Lim Yeo is the Regional Manager for BIMA in Asia and was BIMA’s first employee in the region. BIMA is a Swedish InsurTech focused on emerging markets using mobile technology to provide insurance and health services. In 2010, BIMA first started in Ghana, West Africa, in cooperation with telecommunications provider Tigo, leveraging its mobile penetration and distribution expertise to offer MicroInsurance.

While there is a huge underserved market in emerging countries with insurance penetration as low as 5%, there are two major barriers to entry for insurers. One is the supply side. Traditional insurers have designed products and distribution channels that cannot operate in lower income markets. The second barrier is demand. Trust, awareness and education are crucial when it comes to selling financial products and ignoring any of these limits your ability to build demand.

Puay Lim explains how BIMA is leveraging multiple partnerships to unlock insurance opportunities. 10-15 years ago, telcos or mobile network operators democratized digital access with their mobile networks, a veritable revolution for underdeveloped countries. At the beginning of their journey, BIMA partnered with telcos in various countries as a launchpad to get access to the population in emerging markets and build its initial volume and penetration in a short amount of time.

More recently, however, things have shifted towards OTT (over the top) providers like messenger service WeChat and wallet services like AliPay as well as ecosystem platforms like GRAB and Go-Jek. Those partnerships provide broader access to emerging markets more efficiently than the the telcos. But, they also introduce the risk of these platforms becoming BIMA’s competition. GRAB and Go-Jek have already announced the development of their own insurance products. Listen to Puay Lim’s predictions for the future strategy of those platforms as well as the strategy of traditional insurers entering this huge, untapped market of MicroInsurance.   


Companies mentioned in this episode: Tencent, WeChat, Alibaba, AliPay, Taobao, Grab, GoJek, Paytm


Episode 1