Singapore racing ahead to become the InsurTech hub

Technology and innovation is shaping the future and transforming the world. In this new era, Singapore has a bold ambition of becoming the world's first Smart Nation. The initiatives and traction seen in the financial and insurance technology space undoubtedly echoes this ambition.

As Singapore strives towards becoming a Smart Financial Centre and a world-class FinTech hub, the Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS") announced a series of initiatives aimed at fostering the FinTech/InsurTech sector and building its Smart Financial Centre.

In June 2015, MAS committed S$225 million over five years to support the development of a vibrant FinTech/InsurTech ecosystem for innovation. Notably, MAS launched compareFirst, which allows consumers to compare the premiums and features of life insurance products and thus improving the transparency of the insurance industry significantly.

Other MAS' key initiatives includes (a) the digital offering of life insurance products without advice; (b) a Hackcelerator initiative aimed at creating market-ready solutions to 100 industry problem statements, including 14 statements from insurers; and (c) a regulatory sandbox enabling insurers to experiment with innovative financial products or services in the production environment but within a well-defined space and duration.

In the race to offering cutting edge and innovative solutions, several insurance companies have launched innovation labs in Singapore, e.g. Aviva’s Digital Garage, Allianz's Asia Lab, and MetLife's LumenLab, providing a dedicated space to explore emerging technologies to, among others, deliver innovative solutions and enhance user experience. Insurance companies have also launched innovation platforms, e.g. Allianz's Digital Arena and MetLife's Collab, inviting start-ups to share their ideas or solutions in connection with the insurance industry. The opening of the innovation labs in Singapore bear testimony to the insurance companies’ confidence in Singapore’s proposition as a leading insurance market and its vision to be an innovation lab for new and emerging insurance risks.

We foresee that insurance companies will continue to innovate and advance their digital capabilities by implementing new tools, customer service portals and data analytics in order to deliver new offerings and have greater overall efficiency, whilst MAS and other regulators in associated fields will continue to pursue a holistic approach in developing regulatory and developmental framework that is underpinned by the overriding principle of providing a conducive environment for innovation within the confines of a safe and sound system. 

Contributor: Stephanie Magnus