By: 8 September 2023

At the awards, FinTech Intel caught up with Edlyn Khoo, of HIVE by Income, to shed light on the company’s effort in driving financial innovation in the insurance sector across the region

Asia FinTech Awards 2023: HIVE by Income

HIVE by Income (HIVE) was shortlisted for InsurTech of the Year at the Asia FinTech Awards 2023. At the awards, FinTech Intel caught up with Edlyn Khoo, head of regional business, Income Insurance to shed light on the company’s effort in driving financial innovation in the insurance sector across the region. 

Tell me more about HIVE and the motivation behind its launch?

HIVE operates as the InsurTech subsidiary of Income Insurance, a leading composite insurer in Singapore. Based in Singapore, HIVE functions as an Insurance-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform. It offers a launchpad for insurers and digital platform owners throughout the region to launch, localise and scale innovative embedded insurance propositions. Our pre-built InsurTech integrations significantly expedite partners’ time to market. It also empowers them to capture new customer segments and enhance engagement at a minimal incremental cost, all driven by data-backed competitive advantages. 

Our motivation for launching HIVE emanated from our direct involvement in digital business transformation within our domestic market. Recognising the shared challenges faced by incumbent insurers across the region in their transformation endeavours, we leverage our technological investments, experience, and insights gained from pioneering digital-first business models in Singapore. Through HIVE, we aspire to catalyse and expedite the transformation journey for insurers within the region. 

HIVE plays a pivotal role in drastically reducing the time-to-market for novel offerings. This agility in product development, coupled with our deep-rooted expertise in the insurance domain, forges a mutually beneficial landscape for both insurers and platform partners. This synergistic approach fuels financial innovation while bestowing valuable advantages upon all stakeholders involved. 

How does HIVE foster financial innovation and provide benefits to its partners?

HIVE is at the forefront of driving financial innovation and extending benefits to its partners through an insurance-as-a-service approach. By leveraging technology, HIVE bridges the gap between non-financial platforms and insurers, resulting in affordable and accessible insurance options for consumers. This convergence of ecosystems and insurance expertise ensures that even those previously without insurance access can now adopt it seamlessly. Through smart technology integration, platform partners gain the ability to provide personalised, cost-effective insurance solutions tailored to the individual needs. This not only unlocks new revenue streams but also offers vital financial protection to a broader audience, fundamentally transforming the way insurance is perceived and accessed.  

This drive for financial inclusion has shifted from addressing general issues to catering to the specific requirements of distinct communities. To bolster this inclusive approach, HIVE partnered with JupViec, known as the “Uber for maids” in Vietnam, to introduce “JupViec Care.” This microinsurance solution operates on a pay-as-you-earn basis, with premiums starting as low as SGD$0.12 (US$0.09). Remarkably, within just four months of launch, half of the platform’s helpers had already started to build financial protection by stacking personal accident microinsurance policies, issued each time a gig job was completed in the app. Through this embedded insurance model, HIVE’s vision extends to collaborating with additional gig worker platforms, such as ride-hailing and food delivery, enabling a greater degree of financial security for the underserved variable income earners. This strategic move aspires to establish a sustainable and financially inclusive economy. 

What are the biggest barriers within the InsurTech sector that need to be addressed?

Within the dynamic landscape of the InsurTech sector in Asia, several notable barriers require attention to foster sustained growth and catalyse innovation.  

Firstly, a diverse regulatory landscape. The varying regulatory landscapes across Asian countries can pose hurdles for InsurTechs seeking cross-border operations. HIVE’s platform is ingeniously designed to adapt to diverse regulatory frameworks, empowering insurers to navigate the complex web of regulations across Asian markets. This flexibility ensures compliance while enabling the provision of cutting-edge insurance solutions. 

Boosting financial literacy is another area of focus. Promoting comprehensive understanding of insurance concepts and improving financial literacy are pivotal to driving InsurTech adoption. Educating consumers about the merits and mechanics of digital insurance holds the potential to escalate adoption rates. HIVE’s strategic collaboration with partners focuses on imparting educational content that enhances financial literacy and demystifies insurance concepts, cultivating a receptive audience for digital insurance offerings. 

Also, forging synergistic partnerships. Collaboration between traditional insurers and other industry stakeholders can be intricate due to differing business models and priorities. The challenge lies in identifying partnerships that align strengths and create mutual value. HIVE’s platform serves as a conduit, facilitating seamless cooperation between insurers and ecosystem players. It enables the creation of ingenious insurance products tailor-made for specific audiences, thereby fostering productive partnerships. 

Addressing these barriers through innovative solutions positions HIVE at the forefront of driving change within the InsurTech sector, fostering an ecosystem where regulatory challenges, financial literacy gaps, and partnership complexities are transformed into catalysts for progress and innovation. 

Why did you enter the Asia FinTech Awards?

The Asia Fintech Awards provides a platform for us to showcase our commitment to insurance innovation, and propel our agenda of impact finance, using tech for positive customer and societal outcomes. We hope to partner more in the impact finance space to collectively address pressing global challenges, driven by the financial sector’s essential role.  

Image: HIVE by Income 

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Josh Poyser
Josh Poyser is an editor at FinTech Intel. He has written about fintech for several years and appeared at FinTech Connect 2023 on the 'Unlocking Success: The Art of Fintech PR' panel.