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Technology

Fintechs to reshape landscape, says Singlife founder

Consumer-led innovation will make the role of fintechs even more crucial, according to  Singlife Founder and Group CEO Walter de Oude.
Consumer-led innovation will make the role of fintechs even more crucial, according to Singlife Founder and Group CEO Walter de Oude.

For years now, financial technology (fintech) has been disrupting the banking and insurance industries. And you can expect fintechs to play an even more influential role in the pandemic-stricken financial services landscape.

“With the continuous threat of COVID-19, governments such as ​Singapore and ​Malaysia’s Penang state are already encouraging digital finance and e-payments as a means to reduce physical contact and curb the spread of the virus,” Singlife Founder and Group CEO Walter de Oude told Digital Life Asia.

“The pandemic has already propelled digital adoption, with an ​85 percent uptake in banking and finance apps in Asia due to COVID-19. As traditional banks report declining profits against the backdrop of the pandemic, some financial institutions are looking to increase their ​digital offerings to generate income despite the sluggish economy. As we move from respond to recover, fintechs will reshape the financial landscape from reinventing customer service to round-the-clock services, prompting traditional finance to follow suit,” he said.

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Technology

Manulife survey: Filipinos adopting healthier lifestyle

Filipinos are adopting a healthier lifestyle and embracing digital services due to COVID-19 concerns, according to a new Manulife survey.

Concern about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic among insurance customers runs deeper in the Philippines than in most of Asia. This has prompted many Filipinos to adopt new habits around a healthier lifestyle and greater use of digital technology, according to a new Manulife survey. 

Nearly all of the Philippines-based respondents of the Manulife Asia Care Survey, who are all insurance policyholders, have adopted new lifestyle habits under the COVID-19 pandemic (98 percent). Majority of these new habits are geared towards healthier living and increased reliance on e-commerce, online, and digital services. Along with the increased interest in digital was a move towards more regular management of personal finance. And an extension of this is that Filipinos have a growing appetite for insurance.

“We support Filipinos in their heightened desire to make better lifestyle choices every day, whether on their health or finances. Through this study, we are able to identify their concerns, priorities, and goals so we can provide the necessary solutions to help address our customers’ financial and health needs and help them live every day better,” said Melissa Henson, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Manulife Philippines, in a press statement.

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Technology

First cybersecurity insurance for SMEs launched in PH

As more businesses embrace digital transformation and remote work becomes the new normal, investing in cybersecurity is more important than ever. Recognizing this, insurance technology (insurtech) startup Saphron has launched the first cybersecurity insurance for SMEs in the Philippines.

As more businesses embrace digital transformation and remote work becomes the new normal, investing in cybersecurity is more important than ever. Recognizing this, insurance technology (insurtech) startup Saphron has launched the first cybersecurity insurance for SMEs in the Philippines.

The insurtech startup’s newest offering is called Cyber Insurance and Breach Response for SMEs, or CYBRIS for short. CYBRIS is a cybersecurity insurance policy that protects a business from financial losses arising from a data breach or a cyber attack.

“In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to say that you’re in business but you don’t utilize technology. No matter what sort of business you’re in, it’s very unlikely that you will not come across data or information about the client. And there is an insurance policy [to protect] that,” said Saphron CEO Lorenzo Chan Jr. said in a press statement.

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Technology

Manulife PH ready for new normal from Day 1, says CEO

Manulife Philippines and CEO Richard Bates said the company's digital transformation journey for the past two years has empowered its customers, employees, and distributors.
Manulife Philippines and CEO Richard Bates said the company’s digital transformation journey for the past two years has empowered its customers, employees, and distributors.

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges to businesses. Manulife Philippines, however, has found it easier to adjust to the new business environment. This is thanks to its digital transformation journey for the past two years.

“The changes the COVID-19 pandemic have forced upon us have both put our digital transformation strategy to the test, and validated that we, as an organization, have taken many steps in the right direction,” Manulife Philippines and CEO Richard Bates told Digital Life Asia.

“When Manulife Philippines moved to a new head office location in 2019, we also made investments in our hardware and network infrastructure to enable new ways of working. The introduction of FlexWork to our team provided us with the tools and flexibility that allowed 100 percent of our employees to work from home from the onset of the community quarantine. There was no disruption to our operations. We were up and running, from our homes, from day one,” he said.

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Technology

Insurtech ’20: Insurance firms must accelerate change

UnionBank Chairman Justo Ortiz at Insurtech '20
UnionBank Chairman Justo Ortiz emphasized the speed of disruption and innovation at Insurtech ’20

Insurtech involves not only using technology to innovate and survive amid disruption in the insurance industry. To effectively compete, companies must adopt a different mindset and embrace the speed of change.

“We are not just dealing with new ideas. We are dealing with the speed at which new ideas turn into old ideas,” said UnionBank of the Philippines​ and Fintech Philippines Association​ Chairman Justo Ortiz at Insurtech ‘20.

Financial institutions are risk-averse because they are in a highly-regulated industry. Since they are not used to speed, banks and insurance firms have to overcome a number of hurdles to innovation. Launching innovative projects could take six to nine months, Ortiz said. At which point, it may already be too late.