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Michelle Chan

Head of business development, Hong Kong, FWD

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“Hong Kong is a hard market in which to go digital,” said Michelle Chan, head of business development at insurer FWD. “But we need to push because that’s the trend.”

Chan joined FWD this summer to help it expand its digital touch points, building on partnerships with digital platforms and telecom operators. The company has struck deals with 7-11 to offer claims service at its stores, and with HKT for efficient online withdrawal using the telco’s new Tap’n’Go wallet. Chan is looking to add more such relationships.

FWD is itself a young company, still in its fifth year. Although it began in Hong Kong along traditional lines, selling policies via agents, its executives don’t want to compete against huge incumbents by simply replicating them: the company has to innovate new ways to sell insurance. “The key is to make the customer happy,” Chan said.

Chan’s background includes work at HKT, where she was involved in payments and group loyalty programs. She has also handled marketing, product and business-development roles at Huawei Technology, Nokia Siemens Network, and at ASTRI, the government-backed research body.

In her free time, she is co-founder of T3 Academy, a non-profit organization attempting to disrupt engineering education by upgrading workers’ data-entry and analytics skills. She also advises the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, and co-chairs the Fintech Association of Hong Kong committee on artificial intelligence.

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Michelle Chan