The Future of Insurance Podcast – Theresa Blissing

Co-Host & Founder, Asia InsurTech Podcast

Season 1, Episode 13, July 20th, 2021

Guest Bio

Theresa Blissing has more than 15 years experience in the insurance industry both in Europe and Asia. Excited by the first signs of change in an industry typically resistant to change, she followed her passions into technology and big data after working with Italian insurer Generali for 10 years. Theresa is responsible for some of the first academic research into the adoption of Big Data into the Southeast Asian insurance business. Prior to starting Accelerating Insurance, Theresa worked with a German management consultancy as Asian Insurance Lead. As a well-recognized expert in the field, her advisory practice now brings to bear a deep knowledge of the InsurTech landscape in Asia and a fundamental understanding of upcoming trends, innovations and new technologies with the experience and know-how for applying it to incumbents. She is also the Founder of the Asia InsurTech Podcast.

Highlights from the Show

  • Theresa has been interested in how tech is reshaping insurance
  • In 2015, she moved to Asia to look specifically at how the Asian market is different given the very unique needs, cultures and developments in the Insurance industry in the region
  • This was the focus of the podcast she launched with Michael Waitz in 2019 – to fill the gap in covering the developments in the Asian InsurTech space
  • Asian markets are very unique from the Western markets, and from each other, especially the smaller and developing markets like Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc
  • Digital ecosystems are developing in these markets
  • There is a distinct Asian Advantage to leapfrog certain developments by lacking the legacy tech systems and culture, meaning they can get into things from a Greenfield starting point rather than having to change the way they’ve always worked
  • Interesting trend of US tech companies coming into Asia to get involved in insurance rather than their home markets
    • Amazon is starting to sell insurance in the Indian market in conjunction with Prime
    • WhatsApp is launching an e-wallet and will be adding insurance into it
  • Grab, has 160m downloads of their ridesharing app in Southeast Asia (excluding China), and have integrated insurance products into their app for low-income markets like drivers on their platform
    • They can offer a critical illness product that just deducts a few cents per ride
    • Grab has secured a digital banking license in Singapore
    • A ride hailing company is morphing into a FinTech/InsurTech company
  • Monetizing a large userbase, though the question is how many you can actually convert
  • New companies are really good at building products for digital consumption and lifestyles given customer desires, pain points and expectations while existing companies are more focused on what they come up with internally regardless of whether the market may want it or not
  • How we design products and solutions comes down to the mindset
  • The mindset – if you’re starting a startup today, you really have to understand your customer and add value to their life or you won’t make it – that leads to new companies thinking differently out of necessity
  • Technology is easy. Changing people is the hard part.
  • Could an approach be for the consumer facing brand being the B2C tech company, with the insurer partnered behind them providing the coverage
  • Tech players doing it without an existing carrier is tough, as many tech players underestimate how difficult insurance can be, and Theresa believes is a big part of why Insurance hasn’t been disrupted yet
  • For incumbents, it is important to think about how flexible you can and will be when working with startups because being too slow or difficult could mean the effort to start your own carrier is lower than partnering, which is what tech startups did after trying to partner with existing players
  • Grab sold 90m policies in the first few months, which you can only do if you have the right tech stack, built on SaaS and the Cloud so you can scale and respond quickly
  • Lives have changed to being more on-demand, and this trend is accelerating, so the industry must change with it
  • The Gig Economy is another major shift as the way people work is changing, and remote working changes exposure and the kind of coverage we need, so employee benefits and protections need to change, too

Watch the Episode

Listen to the Episode

Thank you to our sponsor

Special thanks to Medallia for sponsoring this episode.

Like the music in the show?

Stream or download music from UPbeat Music on your favorite platform.