Some of my network may have seen that I made a trip over to Hong Kong at the beginning of December last year. With the run-up to Christmas and the New Year kick-offs out of the way, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the experience and share some thoughts now that the excitement of travelling has calmed itself.
In the fast-paced world of insurance technology, gaining insights from diverse markets is an invaluable opportunity; one not to be missed. My recent journey to the InsurTech Insights Asia conference in Hong Kong provided a unique perspective onto the challenges and prospects of the Asia Pacific insurance landscape.
The decision to attend
Picture this – a regular team meeting where the chance to attend the InsurTech Insights Asia conference emerges. For someone entrenched in the London and UK insurance markets, the allure of exploring the nuances of the Asia Pacific market was irresistible.
Questions arose – are the challenges similar to those in London? Can strategies successfully applied in the UK be replicated in the diverse Asian market? I re-count this moment well, reflecting on my eagerness to grab the opportunity with both hands, particularly as I had previously experienced Asia, many moons ago.
Happily, I soon found myself on a plane to Hong Kong, propelled by a mix of professional curiosity and my personal connection to the city. The agenda set the stage for a whirlwind experience – from late-night flights to battling jet lag and immersing in the conference proceedings at the Kerry Hotel in Kowloon.
Spread across two meticulously organised floors of the Kerry Hotel, the InsurTech Insights Asia conference showcased a thoughtfully curated selection of sponsors and exhibitors. I applaud the event organisers’ streamlined approach, avoiding the over-saturation common in similar gatherings.
Being a sponsor allowed for meaningful interactions with delegates and offered a chance to introduce Novidea to a new audience. The bustling foot traffic, however, sadly limited the opportunity to attend sessions and panels, despite there being many fascinating topics being presented by local and global industry leaders.
The good news, however, was that I gained many ‘real-life’ insights into the Asia Specific market.
Discovering opportunities in Asia Pacific
Naturally, the primary reason for Novidea’s presence at the conference, was to explore opportunities in the Asia Pacific insurance market. Armed with the technological advantage of having an end-to-end, born-in-the-cloud platform, built on the Salesforce tech stack, our team sought to better understand the market’s local needs, challenges and opportunities.
Drawing parallels between the Asia Pacific and UK insurance markets, beyond the cultural connections, there are many technological and operational similarities. Legacy tech stacks, operational inefficiencies, and the push for cost-saving solutions are common threads.
At the same time, truthfully, there still seems to be a divergence in the understanding, willingness, and ability to transform within the Asian market, which was somewhat surprising. At the conference, Insurance firms there tended to take a cautious approach, waiting to see success stories before embracing innovation. Again, this may have been a small subset of the reality and may not reflect the entire view of the market, but it was still an interesting notion to hear. With our strong track record, including traction with some big-name brokers in the region, the potential for Novidea to make a significant impact in the region quickly became clear.
Despite there being many established tech vendors with a keen focus on the region, the solutions tend to be localised, not catering for firms with operations across the region or indeed globally (a strength of Novidea’s with over 100 broker, MGA, and carrier customers in 22 countries, worldwide).
I had expected to see a plethora of cutting-edge solutions, as this is, to many in the West, ‘Brand Asia’. Somewhat surprisingly, however, I didn’t see too many other Insurtech service providers like us, despite much talk of transformation.
Novidea, with its 14 years of experience and a global client base, set about challenging the status quo, urging the Asia Pacific market to embrace change and move away from legacy systems. Insurance firms across the value chain can wake up to new possibilities to reshape their business and optimise their opportunities for operational efficiencies and accelerated growth.
Embedded insurance and shifting dynamics
As an interesting aside from our core business, it became clear that there is a fascinating exploration into embedded insurance unfolding in Asia, highlighting the evolving landscape where some vendors are effectively transitioning into brokers. My view reflects conversations at the event about the consumer’s increasing reliance on vendors for insurance coverage, unwittingly surrendering the ability to choose insurers or negotiate deals.
This paradigm shift poses both challenges and opportunities for the insurance industry. It will be fascinating to see how this pans out in the years ahead.
Novidea is ready
Now home, I have had time to reflect on the transformative experience of attending InsurTech Insights Asia. Despite the changing face of Hong Kong and other Southeast Asian countries since my previous visit, years ago, the city remains a symbol of growth and opportunity, one which I was very grateful to see in person.
Looking ahead, I cannot wait to embrace the opportunity to navigate the intricate world of insurance technology in Asia Pacific and discover how Novidea really can make a difference in this dynamic and exciting market in 2024 and beyond.