Grab, China firm to jointly create digital insurance marketplace in SEA

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on January 17, 2019.
-A +A

KUALA LUMPUR: Grab Holdings Inc will establish a joint-venture (JV) company with China’s ZhongAn Technologies International Group Ltd to enter the digital insurance distribution business in Southeast Asia.

ZhongAn Technologies is a subsidiary of ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co Ltd, the first internet-based insurer in China.

In a joint statement yesterday, the companies said the JV will create a digital insurance marketplace that offers innovative insurance products in a range of categories with fractionalised premiums, directly to users through the Grab mobile app.

The JV will also collaborate with global insurance partners to develop products that are tailored specifically to Southeast Asians’ lifestyle needs.

As part of the agreement, ZA International, which is the entity for overseas business development formed by ZA Insurance, will provide technical assets to build the platform and its insight into Internet ecosystems to the JV.

Grab will launch the digital insurance platform through its mobile app and tap its wide user-base to deliver customised insurance products to millions of users.

“It will give millions of uninsured and underinsured people access to insurance products through their mobile phones, allowing them to directly browse and pay for affordable insurance products through the Grab app, without going through an agent or broker,” read the statement.

The platform will be launched in Singapore in the first half of this year, before being rolled out in other markets. To kick things off, Grab, in conjunction with Chubb, will offer a drivers’ insurance product to its driver-partners in Singapore to protect them from loss of income due to illness or accident.

This year, Grab will also be expanding into cross-border remittance and online healthcare. Last year, the group expanded beyond its core transport services to provide users with food delivery, financial services, parcel delivery, grocery delivery, content and more.

Grab president Ming Maa said the launch of its insurance platform is part of the group’s commitment to become the leading everyday super-app in the region.

“With over 130 million downloads in Southeast Asia and a presence across 336 cities, our deep understanding of consumer behaviour and needs uniquely allows us to deliver innovative insurance products that create value for our customers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rueben Lai, who heads Grab Financial, said the group aspires to bring relevant and affordable financial services to Southeast Asia.

“Through this partnership, we hope to provide our users, driver-partners and merchants with relevant and affordable insurance protection from life’s uncertainties.

“As the only digital payments player to have licences across the six major Southeast Asian countries, we will leverage our regional reach and work with global insurance partners to quickly scale up across our markets,” he said.