Hong Kong issues first virtual insurer license
The very first virtual insurance company license by Hong Kong’s Insurance Authority- under its Fast Track pilot scheme-was granted on December 20, 2018 to Bowtie Life Insurance Company Limited (Bowtie). Bowtie’s platform will offer life and medical insurance plans to customers instantly and directly. Bowtie will also offer health insurance products under the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) pending Food and Health Bureau’s approval.
By eliminating paper, commissions and intermediaries, Bowtie’s mission is to enable a new generation of consumers to access insurance protection and take control of life protection decisions for themselves.
Bowtie is backed with HKD 234 million from Sun Life Financial and supported by leading international reinsurers. It has a shareholder base that includes Hong Kong X Technology Fund and angel investors.
Ngan and fellow Co-CEO and Co-founder Michael Chan are entrepreneurs who grew up in Hong Kong. They first met in the United States where they worked as actuaries in global advisory firms. After returning to Hong Kong, they have already built two successful insurtech start-ups in a few short years prior to founding Bowtie.
Fred Ngan, Co-CEO and Co-founder of Bowtie said “While digital technology is on the rise, we believe the industry is in need of change. Hong Kong welcomes a virtual insurer to design what online insurance can be – truly customer-centric, transparent and commission-free.”
“Bowtie is all about delivering convenience to consumers through technology.” said Michael Chan. “Our market research is telling us Hong Kong consumers would love to be able to sign up for health insurance and submit claims online, but the industry has not fully embraced digital technology to optimize the consumer experience. This is exciting because we get to reinvent the very structure of an insurance company and replace everything with modern technology.”
Bowtie has been garnering engineering talent from local and Silicon Valley technology start-ups, as well as industry leaders including former C-suite executives from major insurance companies. The team is 100% based in Hong Kong and comprises actuaries, engineers, designers, a strong service team and even a medical doctor.
Fabien Jeudy, CEO of Sun Life Hong Kong commented,”As part of our digital transformation strategy, this is a strategic investment by Sun Life in a Hong Kong based start-up that strengthens our market position.We believe in Bowtie’s vision and commitment to enhancing the customer experience. Our investment complements our business, while enabling new distribution modes through the latest technology and digital innovations.”
Pending Food and Health Bureau’s approval, Hong Kong consumers can expect to see health insurance products on Bowtie’s digital distribution platform during the first half of 2019 when the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) begins accepting customer applications.
Source: Bowtie Life Insurance Company Limited