EP 115 – Harshet Lunani – Founder of Qoala – Some Simple Things Can Go a Long Way


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.

Harshet Lunani is the Founder and CEO of Qoala, the fast-growing Southeast Asian Multi-Channel Insurtech company that aims to revolutionize insurance through a combination of underwriting risk for high frequency events in daily lives and photo-based claims, assisted by machine learning. Before successfully building Qoala, Harshet founded and ran Bima Mobile’s Indonesia setup as part of the their first foray into SE Asia. Prior to this, he worked at the Boston Consulting Group and Merrill Lynch.

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The Asia InsurTech Podcast was happy to be joined again by Harshet Lunani, the Founder of Qoala. The first time he was on the show was back in August of 2019 and then he subsequently participated in.a panel discussion about COVID-19 in April 2020. AIP wanted to catch up with Harshet because so much has changed since the middle of 2019 and we wanted to get his perspective.

Some of the topics we discussed included:

  • COVID has been good for the Insurance and InsurTech space, illuminating how technology can help
  • Technology is helpful not just in distribution but also creates substantial operation efficiencies
  • The difference in the acceptance level of InsurTechs from both incumbents and consumers
  • The significance of Lemonade’s IPO and the upcoming GRAB SPAC
  • Qoala’s international expansion – now operates in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand
  • The acquisition of FairDee and why that was the most efficient way to expand to Thailand
  • Expansion was made more complex by COVID and he has still not met the teams in Vietnam or Thailand in person
  • Inculcating culture remotely has been a challenge
  • Amidst all of the difficulties of the last 12 months, still achieved 6X revenue growth

Other companies mentioned in this episode – Lemonade, Digit, PolicyBazaar, GRAB, SingLife, SEA, and Waterdrop

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