Mar 5, 2021

Insurtech Symbo Platform Holdings raises $9.4m in Series A

SymboPlatformHoldings
Insurtech
Insurance
APAC
William Girling
2 min
Insurtech Symbo Platform Holdings raises $9.4m in Series A
Singaporean insurtech Symbo Platform Holdings has successfully closed US$9.4m in its recent Series A funding round...

Priding itself on an informed approach - insurtech solutions by brokers for brokers - Symbo Platform strives to modernise insurance distribution through cloud-based solutions that add significant value.

Characterising insurance’s biggest problem as “reach[ing] the right audience, at the right place, at the right time,” the company’s platform offers a comprehensive suite of solutions:

  • Platform and product management
  • Underwriting and policy admin
  • Product middleware
  • Self-servicing and claims
  • Account differentiation tools
  • Analytics and insights

Ultimately, Symbo Platform’s purpose is to make intuitive, tech-based solutions that allow insurance professionals to refocus their energy on what’s truly essential: running their business.

Meeting the market’s potential

The company’s Series A funding round was led by CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, with added participation from Think Investments, Insignia Ventures Partners, and others.

Symbo Platform has been supporting clients in the APAC region since 2017; the $9.4m funds will reportedly be used to help it expand even further and hire new talent, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Perhaps explaining why CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund took the lead on this round, Dennis Cong, Managing Partner, commented:

“Digital-driven insurance and healthcare markets have huge potential, especially in India and Southeast Asia where customers are largely underserved, struggling to manage their insurance policies, or ending up being sold generic and irrelevant products.”

Indeed, the opportunity for developing APAC’s insurance market is significant, especially since many countries within it have large insurance gaps

Companies like PasarPolis are trying to address this in Indonesia by introducing affordable microinsurance products in a country where 90% of its customers are first-time insurance buyers. Symbo Platform’s position as a facilitator for insurance distribution could make it an important component of the region’s transformation. 

Currently empowering over 80,000 agents and supporting more than $100m worth of premiums, its impact could soon prove to be profound.

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Jun 19, 2021

Insurtechs are winning the race with legacy system companies

Insurtech
Insurance
AI
Technology
Tom Allen, Founder, The AI Jou...
3 min
Insurance has long been due an overhaul. The AI Journal’s founder Tom Allen explains how innovative insurtechs are changing the incumbent narative

Nestled in its own place within the world of financial services, insurance is arguably more unpopular than retail banking.

That’s hardly surprising given that, from a customer service perspective, insurance is something of an off-kilter transaction. You pay a sizable premium in exchange for a service you hope you will never have to use. This image problem is exacerbated by ubiquitous tales of insurers not paying out when it is time to make a claim.

The insurance sector has long been due to an overhaul, and this is where the disruptive force of insurtech comes in - one of fintech’s most upwardly mobile subcategories. Accordingly, last year, insurtech in the UK alone attracted £262m in investment, a growth of 60% on 2019, according to Tech Nation. Insurtech’s momentous growth has been captured in a new report by The AI Journal exploring this burgeoning sector. 

What exactly is insurtech?

Put simply, insurtech refers to technological innovations that seek to make insurance cheaper to buy and more efficient to use. In a similar vein to fintech, the large, established institutions have been dipping their toes into insurtech, but it’s the disruptors who are genuinely looking to shake up the status quo, diving into and exploiting those areas that traditionalists have little imperative to explore.

Examples are price comparison sites (one of the earliest forms of insurtech that was eventually snapped up by the insurers it initially sought to disrupt), claims software, customisable policies, or even smart-tech-enabled dynamic policies whose premiums can fluctuate depending on changing circumstances.

The latter, for instance, could use someone’s fitness tracker or smartwatch to monitor fitness levels, thus reducing the premium of a life insurance policy; or track a GPS system that records the location of a car and assesses risk levels accordingly.

Most consumers tend to shop around for their insurance needs and perhaps end up buying their contents insurance with one provider, their car insurance with someone else, and their pet insurance with yet another underwriter. Managing all these different policies, with their varying renewal dates and payment terms can be complex. This has led to the increase in apps that pull everything together.

More prosaically, insurtechs are developing AI that uses machine learning to act as an insurance broker, eliminating the need for a human intermediary and therefore offering more cost-effective and impartial advice.

Insurtechs and risk

But there are some obstacles in the way of insurtech’s continued evolution.

Insurance companies are averse to risk. Understandably so, as at the crux of the industry is the role of the actuary, whose job it is to analyse and measure the probability and risk of future events. So it’s little wonder that there’s a reluctance among the traditional players to welcome the disruption that insurtech brings.

Insurance is heavily regulated, a minefield of legality and labyrinthine jurisdiction, which means the idea of shaking it up can be anathema. And why would they, when their old-school business models are working perfectly fine?

There’s an understandable nervousness and unwillingness to work with startups, who themselves need to work with the bigger firms in order to underwrite risk.

While it seems like a catch-22 situation, there is growing, if cautious, interest from insurance companies, who can see the benefits of insurance with a friendlier face, innovative solutions, and a competitive edge through differentiation. As that tentativeness dissipates, the growth of insurtech will gather even more momentum.

Tom Allen's analysis is based on the findings of a new report on the fintech and insurtech industries produced by The AI Journal

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