EP 66 – Yen Ming Lee – PolicyStreet – What We Wanted to Do Was Beyond the Sandbox


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.

Yen Ming Lee

Yen Ming is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and has an extensive experience in strategy, brand development, marketing, sales, digital, channel management, research, customer relationship and product development spanning over more than 17 years in 7 multi-national corporations before he left to start PolicyStreet. He has headed several business divisions in multi-national corporations which includes Maxis, Standard Chartered, Citibank, HSBC and Andersen Consulting. Prior to joining PolicyStreet, he was the Director for Standard Chartered Bank spearheading digital initiatives for the bank.

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In this episode, Michael Waitze talks to Yen Ming Lee, co-founder and CEO of PolicyStreet. In 2016, the Malaysian InsurTech started as a marketing partner for selected insurers distributing term life policies. But PolicyStreet wanted to offer more products and services, so Yen Ming successfully completed his CFP and the team turned PolicyStreet into a Financial Adviser company approved by Bank Negara Malaysia. Today, they are working with 34 insurers in Malaysia.

PolicyStreet has just completed another funding round. In addition to a traditional VC raise, the startup worked with pitchIN, a Malaysia-based crowdfunding platform to raise money from smaller investors as well. This strategy not only allowed the general public to participate in the raise but also turned 234 investors into brand ambassadors for PolicyStreet, helping the team to create more visibility. Equipped with the latest funding, the InsurTech is looking into expanding into other markets in Southeast Asia.

Earlier this year, PolicyStreet announced a partnership with Foodpanda to offer COVID-19 coverage to their riders. Michael and Yen Ming talk about leveraging super-apps and e-commerce platforms for digital distribution. While Michael loves the term “alternative distribution”, Yen Ming prefers not to differentiate between distribution channels. In the end, the same insurance is merely being distributed to the same consumer just via a different channel.

Other companies mentioned in this episode: 

PasarPolis, Gojek, Grab, Tokopoedia, Lazada

Listen to the episodes with PasarPolis and Grab

Episode 89