Regional execs extol digital potential at summit

October 10 2019 by Yvonne Lau

At the FT Asia Insurance Summit on October 9 in Hong Kong, top regional players elaborated on their firms’ digital strategies.

FWD’s group chief digital officer, Ryan Kim, noted that acquisitions and expansion requires great integration and automation efforts. FWD has been involved in a spate of regional acquisitions, most recently nearing completion of a US$400 million purchase of Vietcombank, according to sources cited by Bloomberg.

The group’s key focuses are on data and investment strategies geared towards insurtech and fintech, such as their commitment made in 2017 to spend HK$500 million (around US$63 million) in the Hong Kong insurtech space in five years.

Jonathan Larsen, chief innovation officer of Ping An Group and chairman and chief executive of Ping An Global Voyager Fund, pointed out the importance of a management’s appetite for innovation, philosophy towards R&D and its capital resources; these are the particular advantages that allow Ping An to be innovative, he added.

Ping An, Larsen noted, prefers not to invest in early stage start-ups but ones that are further along, in order to best capitalise on diverse capabilities for the firm. The group’s subsidiary, Ping An One Connect, an artificial intelligence platform, has been a success story, becoming one of its fastest growing companies.

Meanwhile, MSIG’s Hong Kong chief executive Philip Kent highlighted the abundance of digital potential ahead and that insurers have noticeably become more coherent in identifying technology opportunities that are strategically aligned with their business models.

For MSIG and its global digitalisation efforts, their focus is geared towards how to best integrate technology and human capabilities, within its resource capacity. They are also keen on automation, such as using robotic processes as the main gateway.

This year’s FT Asia Insurance Summit, in its sixth year, focused on best practices for an evolving market in Asia; digital strategies was one of the core topics.

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