Hong Kong’s regulator issues first GI virtual licence

October 9 2019 by Yvonne Lau

Insurtech start-up Avo will be the first in the city to receive a virtual general licence by the Hong Kong Insurance Authority. The licence will be granted under the Fast Track scheme.

As a locally-based digital insurer using a B2C model, Avo will use digital distribution channels to sell life, travel and motor-related products directly to consumers. Chief executive of Avo and Asia Insurance, Winnie Wong, noted that the company will focus on technology such as machine learning and big data to better serve consumers.

Asia Insurance, under Asia Financial Group, owns 51% of Avo, with the remaining 49% owned by the founder and chief executive of Hillhouse Capital, Zhang Lei.

The Insurance Authority has put in efforts to foster growth and development of Hong Kong’s insurtech sector. The Fast Track scheme introduced in 2017 was implemented to speed up the authorisation process for new digital players.

Commenting on today’s licence issuance, Clement Cheung, chief executive of the Insurance Authority, said: “Insurtech provides the opportunity for both consumers and the industry to improve the customer experience, build a sustainable fintech ecosystem and reduce the compliance burden.”

Bowtie, a local life and health focused start-up, was the first to receive a virtual life licence from the Insurance Authority last year.

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