EP 26 -Tom Duncan – Head of Insurance at Grab – Radically Simplifying the Product


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.

Tom Duncan

Tom is the Head of Insurance at Grab, where he oversees the strategic direction and development of the insurance offering in Grab Financial Group. He and the team are on a mission to help address the insurance gap in Southeast Asia, by using technology and data to design innovative digital solutions.

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In this episode, Michael Waitze spoke to Tom Duncan, the Head of Insurance at Grab. Tom is not new to the financial services sector in general and the insurance business in particular.   After more than a decade working in Global Markets at banks like ANZ and Barclays, Tom moved into the startup world and then became the Head of Digital Partnerships at Chubb in Singapore.

In a theme common to a lot of our recent conversations, Tom notes that an important part of the InsurTech space is its developing focus on alternative distribution channels.  Employing partnerships with companies like Chubb and its announced joint venture with Zhong An Technology, Grab continues to methodically build out its insurance product and marketplace.

Tom gives insight into Grab’s strategy selling insurance within the ride-hailing platform and ecosystem. Today, Grab’s insurance strategy focuses on alternative distribution channels and strategic partnerships with insurers including NTUC Income. Tom also touches on their partnership with Zhong An Technology, their plans to roll out their insurance capabilities across Southeast Asia and comments on Grab’s potential to build its own underwriting capabilities. 

Michael and Tom also discuss the importance of consumer education on financial products. Grab has launched initiatives to raise awareness for insurance products among their drivers, partners, and clients. Their strategy is to develop simple and easy to understand micro-insurance products that are relevant to the lives of entrepreneurs and the clients that use its platform across the board.

Other companies mentioned in this episode:

GoJek, Tokopedia, Sunday, Traveloka, Chubb, Acko

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