EP 40 – Yannick Even, Wei Zhu, and Laurens Koppelaar – InsurTech vs Incumbent Roundtable – Collaborate and Co-Exist


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.

Yannick Even

Yannick is the APAC Head of Data science for Swiss Re since April 2019, driving a team of data scientists delivering AI based solutions, research, partnerships and thought leadership. Yannick joined Swiss Re in Dec. 2016 as the InsurTech Solutions Head. Prior to that he was in the Digital and Innovation practice of KPMG China Advisory for 4 years. Yannick has over 15 years of experience delivering analytics and tech-enabled solutions worldwide and been based in Hong Kong since 2010. He is an alumni of the Indian School of Business and Polytech Montpellier France.

Wei Zhu

Wei Zhu is an accomplished leader in technology space with over 20+ years experience. He is the founder and CEO of Axinan, a ​full-stack Insurtech company based out of Singapore. Prior to Axinan, Wei served as the Chief Technology Officer of Grab, the largest ride-hailing company in Southeast Asia. Wei was also one of the first 100 engineers of Facebook where he spent six years after an eight-year-stint with Microsoft in the U.S. Wei received a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Washington.

Mr Koppelaar leads Symbo’s international growth across Southeast Asia. Symbo is an InsurTech serving the Asian insurance industry by empowering digital distribution and digital customer engagement across various channels partners. Prior to joining Symbo, he led the market management function for Allianz across Southeast Asia, overseeing distribution, strategy and channel partnerships for various Non-Life insurance products. Laurens holds educational degrees from Grenoble Graduate School of Business and Saïd Business School from the University of Oxford.

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At the Singapore Fintech Festival, AIP founder Theresa Blissing recorded a panel episode analyzing how InsurTechs and traditional insurers can collaborate and co-exist. The panel is joined by Yannick Even, Head of Digital & Smart Analytics APAC at Swiss Re, Wei Zhu, Founder and CEO of Axinan and Laurens Koppelaar CEO Singapore and Head of International at Symbo

The panel discusses the degree of disruption in the insurance industry in Asia. Are we expecting fierce competition or more of a partnership and co-creation model that enables insurers to offer better products and services at a faster speed to market? While startups are often stronger when it comes to tech capabilities and applying an agile methodology to developing and launching new products, incumbents have the expertise when it comes to navigating the regulatory environment. By leveraging each other’s strengths, we might soon see disruption in the industry. 

The panel also touches on how to make partnerships between incumbents and InsurTechs work and how to overcome obstacles. The challenges depend on the type of InsurTech and what problems they are trying to solve as well as the tier of the incumbent. 

If you want to learn more about Axinan, we recorded with Wei Zhu and Arijit Chakraborty and talked about Axinan’s business model and future strategy. Find the episode here.

Other companies mentioned in this episode:

Episode 48