ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Daily Briefing: Insurance industry needs to catch up to technology; Robo-advisory firm exceeds US$1m funding

Can AI kick Singapore productivity up?


Despite being one of the oldest industries in the world, the insurance industry has (relative to the banking and financial industries) been less responsive towards the technological advancements that are rapidly transforming the world outside of it, particularly developments in the FinTech space.

As such, some insurance companies that have previously thrived under the traditional business model now face a new and imminent challenge today – to innovate and implement change or face the risk of business disruption and/or loss.

As recent as last year, PwC’s Global Fintech Survey 2016 reported that while 43% of the players in the insurance industry consider FinTech as part of their corporate strategies, only 28% explore partnerships with FinTech companies and less than 14% had an active participation in ventures and/or incubator programs.

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From Tech in Asia:

A report by Singapore’s Economic Development Board points out that while manufacturing is a “key pillar” of Singapore’s economy – around a fourth or a fifth of the GDP – the high labor cost and land constraints may make people look for somewhere they can get more bang for their buck.

Still, Singapore’s government is worried about the country’s underwhelming labor productivity, and it has thrown funding and support behind initiatives seeking to kick the city-state’s AI game into gear. Other programs focus on analytics, robotics, and self-driving vehicles, to name a few.

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From Tech in Asia:

While most robo-advisors have one product with a specific target customer, Bambu offers three different products: one for savings, one for investments, and one for private banking. It claims its product diversity will allow it to target more potential applications and a larger pool of clients.

Bambu says it has generated about US$500,000 in revenue. The company, which raised seed funding last year, has also managed to sign up notable business players, including Standard Chartered Bank, Crossbridge Capital, and Thomson Reuters.

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