EP 25 – Panu Boonyakiat, Firras Sabbah, Harprem Doowa and Nicolas Faquet – Thailand Roundtable – Look at It From an Entrepreneur Standpoint


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.

Prem was most recently the Co-founder and CEO of Frank Insurance, an online digital broker based out of Thailand that innovated the way insurance was bought and sold. He successfully exited the company to Bolttech in 2020 and continued to work for Bolttech as Chief Disruption Officer and Head of Insurtech Exchange for another 2 years before returning to his entrepreneurial roots. Prior to Bolttech Prem successfully founded and exited an online retail startup.

Essec MBA, Actuary, 25 years of insurance experience in Asia and Europe, mainly in Motor and Health insurance, with AXA Singapore, AXA France, AIG Europe. A founding member of DirectAsia in 2009 as Group COO in charge of product, pricing, claims, call center, reinsurance and Hong Kong CEO. Sold DirectAsia to Hiscox for 55MUSD in March 2014. Started Roojai in December 2014.

CEO / Co-Founder Go! Insurance. Previously, CIO and Head of Digital Platforms Allianz. Several roles at Allianz Germany and Allianz Singapore and the Co-Founder Food-Startup in Germany.

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In this episode, Michael Waitze discusses the state of the Thai InsurTech market with Panu Boonyakiat, Co-Founder of Claim Di, Firras Sabbah, Founder of Go! Insurance, Harprem Doowa, Co-Founder of Frank.co.th and Nicolas Faquet, CEO of Roojai.com

The panel covers much ground, including how the Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) continues to work with InsurtTechs to ensure that the market for their products continues to expand while also providing the proper amount of consumer protection.  Furthermore, they discuss the importance of the balance between privacy and security while purchasing an insurance product. How to achieve this balance in the most efficient way possible.

The group also discussed in detail the best ways for incumbent insurers to work with the startups and what the issues were that made that challenging.  Across the board, the startup founders believed that the biggest challenge was speed…larger companies tend to move slower and with more caution, while smaller companies tend to take more risk and move faster.  Again, striking a balance is key.

The panel finished its discussion with some commentary on both the possibility of maintaining their own balance sheets and the likelihood of regional expansion.

Other companies mentioned in this conversation:

Amazon, Acko General Insurance, Allianz

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