IAG insurtech hub aims to drive innovation in Singapore
Singapore has one of the most developed fintech landscapes in the world and a growing insurtech scene, which Insurance Australia Group (IAG) aims to help develop through its insurtech startup, Firemark Labs, James Orchard, executive general manager of innovation at IAG, told SIRC Today.
IAG has formed Firemark Labs innovations hubs in Sydney and Singapore to tap into local and global networks. Orchard said the aim is to help bring “the outside in” to its business.
“It is critical to our growth strategy that we build and connect with innovation ecosystems that bring together universities, entrepreneurs and business, along with the regulators and government, who can help us evolve,” said Orchard.
In February 2017, IAG opened Firemark Labs in Singapore in partnership with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to better position its business within Singapore’s innovation network and entrepreneurial community.
Firemark Labs Singapore will act as an incubator for the company to work with technology startups in Asia to help develop more customer-centric products.
In July, it opened its innovation incubator in Sydney, Australia, to create an environment to co-create new insurance products and services.
Firemark Labs Sydney and Singapore are both supported by IAG’s $75 million new ventures fund which has been set up to invest in and partner with startups and established businesses, looking at ways to disrupt the value chain.
“We know that future customer experience will be shaped through new technologies, capabilities and a willingness to experiment,” said Orchard.
IAG has operated in Singapore since 2006 through IAG Re Singapore, which acts as the reinsurer for the majority of its international businesses and joint ventures.
Orchard believes the hub in Singapore will act as a gateway to new opportunities and insights from Asian markets.
“The location connects us into a diverse talent pool of entrepreneurs, technologists, developers and problem-solvers who will bring a global perspective and new ways of working to our business,” he said.
“This, coupled with our long-term presence in Singapore makes it a strong environment to take our innovation agenda forward into the future.”
Commenting when Firemark Labs Singapore was launched in February, Julie Batch, chief customer officer for IAG, said: “Singapore is recognised as having one of the most developed fintech landscapes with a growing insurtech scene. We are the first Australian insurer to launch a space dedicated to insurtech in Singapore and will join a network of global innovators with hubs set up in the technology hotspot.
“We know customer lifestyles are changing rapidly—everything from how we purchase products to how we get around is becoming faster, simpler and more digital.
“Launching Firemark Labs in Singapore will allow us to lead the development of talent, tools and networks that will help us quickly respond to changing trends and create new customer solutions.
“Our partnership with MAS will help position us as part of Singapore’s thriving technology community,” Batch concluded.
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