AMTD Digital, the fintech and digital-enterprise arm of Hong Kong financial institution AMTD Group, is attacking the insurtech space with a double-pincer movement.
First, it is reorganizing its structure to make full use of the tech stack of PolicyPal, a Singapore-based insurtech with a focus on consumers.
PolicyPal started out providing customers in Singapore with the means to access insurance products in a simple and comprehensive way, through its proprietary technology. AMTD Digital acquired the company in 2020 and is now rebranding it as AMTD PolicyPal.
[AMTD Digital also acquired DigFin in 2021.]
PolicyPal is only licensed to market to consumers in Singapore, but its tech stack is being repurposed as a B2B vendor solution that will underpin AMTD’s insurtech businesses.
PolicyPal has also just acquired a U.S.-based but Asia-focused fintech, ValueChampion, to expand into becoming a full-fledged consumer financial-advisory business.
AMTD has a longstanding insurance brokerage arm called AMTD Risk Solutions, which mainly caters to corporate clients providing traditional, manual, services to meet companies’ idiosyncratic insurance needs.
PolicyPal’s tech stack will give AMTD’s insurance unit the ability to do more in a digital manner. AMTD Group is revamping its insurance brokerage into AMTD Insurtech Group, reflecting this new digital underpinning that gives it the ability to offer more standardized, end-to-end digital solutions for small businesses and consumers.
In Hong Kong, AMTD also announced the launch of a “AMTD-PolicyPal Smart Insurance” app. This is meant to be a front-end through which users will be able to both manage their insurance needs and purchase digital insurance offerings.
With the new app platform in Hong Kong, AMTD Digital will look to co-develop new products and work with other channel partners and insurance carriers alike.
In parallel – the second pincer – AMTD Insurtech Group is launching its first product. As an insurance broker, AMTD is assembling the players to offer a new, combined digital service for Hong Kong SMEs built around employee-compensation cover.
In Hong Kong, it is law that all of the city’s some 350,000 registered businesses must purchase employee compensation insurance. Because companies are a captive audience, the industry is rife with businesses selling over-engineered, overly complex, and overpriced products to businesses.
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Kevin Zhang, executive director of AMTD Insurtech Group, says digital tech enables the firm to deliver a standardized, fully automated service that meets companies’ actual needs, which are far simpler than the solutions currently on offer.
“We want to bring useful products, in a usable manner,” he said.
To deliver a digital, fully automated solution to employee comp, AMTD Insurtech teamed up with FWD General Insurance to serve as the underwriter, and with Reap, a local fintech that provides SMEs with ways to optimize cashflow and use credit cards to meet working-capital needs.
AMTD Digital is the orchestrator in the middle (via its licensed intermediary, AMTD Risk Solutions Group): a carrier such as FWD sets the pricing and manages the risk, and customer-facing channels such as Reap attract business that is sent to AMTD Insurtech – the licensed entity – for executing.
AMTD saw an opportunity to reshape the market by offering a simple, digital product that only takes a few minutes to purchase. “We want the sign-up experience to be like what people get when they make a purchase on Amazon, or register for a Gmail address,” Zhang said.
The employee comp product onboards users through drop-down boxes, designed to minimize the required information. The product will provide the statutory cover along with basic protection options such as cover against content loss, public liability, or business interruption.
AMTD Group continues to operate its traditional corporate insurance brokerage business, AMTD Risk Solutions, where Zhang also serves as general manager. This provides traditional, manual services around large-ticket, idiosyncratic products for large companies.
But the firm sees its digital activities as the focus of growth.
“We are the scene-setter,” Zhang said. “We originate the ideas and align the parties. We call this type of business ‘ecosystem as a solution’.”
But he says the firm will be selective about what it develops. “We’re not going to bombard the market with a big menu of products,” Zhang said. “There’s already too many choices out there. We want to simplify the market and distill choices down to what is useful – and by being useful, we can capture the market.”