Interview with Stephen Goldstein of Pivot Asia on InsurTech trends in Asia

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Stephen is a serial entrepreneur currently working with Pivot Ventures, a launchpad based out of Singapore to connect high impact Insurtech startups with insurers and reinsurers in the Asia Pacific region.

In this interview we get Stephen’s take on what makes InsurTech in Asia different from America or Europe.

Stephen made 3 points

  1. Insurance in Asia is still a  fairly young market compared to America or Europe. In Asia InsurTech evolved along with the nascent Insurance market.
  2. Most of the Insurtech in Asia comes out of Corporate Innovation Labs. This is often not as effective as it should be as the Innovation Labs usually lacks a P&L discipline to guide development and this also means the corporate powers that be may not always take the output from the Innovation Labs as seriously as they should.
  3. From the Insurance Carrier POV, penetration is still low. Asia is still more more of a greenfield/blue ocean market and lots of market education is needed. In America or Europe there is more emphasis on  optimising existing processes. In Asia the bigger play is usually distribution. Sometimes the distribution process in Asia is mandated by regulators, for example in relation to agent/broker commissions.

As I had such an expert on the phone, I also quizzed Stephen for his take on some currently hot subjects in Insurtech. 

For example, we talked about the use of Blockchain for Insurance settlement. Stephen’s take is that using Blockchain for stored contracts makes a lot of sense as a shared immutable single version of that contract makes it much quicker to get to consensus among multiple parties. A smart contract can then execute automatically, speeding up settlement time and reducing settlement cost. 

We also talked about the PR that ONE, a German P2P Insurance venture is putting out where they specifically go after the Lemonade, the high profile US P2P Insurance venture.

Stephen’s take was that ONE does look like a step forward towards dynamic pricing using telematics and IOT. But he also cautioned that  experiments like this will take time to play out and that pricing is a difficult science with a lot of devil in the claims process detail.

Finally we went on to talk about the Captive insurance industry based on this news out of  Malaysia. Stephen agreed that captives make sense where there is a data play based on the domain of the captive; for example Insurance for Construction would be different to Retail.

We look forward to staying in touch with Stephen and getting his insights in future.

Bernard Lunn is a Fintech deal-maker, author, investor and thought-leader.

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