A finance veteran is betting $50 million on a life insurtech in Singapore

  • Michael Spencer, the founder and CEO of NEX Group, is betting $50 million in insurtech Singapore Life.
  • The insurtech focuses on offering life insurance digitally, while most of Asia still largely depends on agency sales for life insurance.
  • The company’s model may be new to the market in Singapore, but having such an experienced backer could help its future success.


Michael Spencer, founder and chief executive of broker NEX Group, which was sold to CME group for £3.9 billion ($5 billion) earlier this year, is in advanced talks to invest $50 million in insurtech Singapore Life, according to The Financial Times.

Global Insurtech Investment

As of now, he has an 18% stake in the company, but this investment would bump that up to 60%, giving him controlling power. Singapore Life launched last year, and was funded by former HSBC executive Walter de Oude. The insurtech, which was the first local insurance company in Singapore to be granted a license from the Monetary Authority Singapore (MAS) since 1970, sells its policies online and via private banks and brokers.

Singapore Life focuses on offering life insurance digitally, while most of Asia still largely depends on agency sales for this type of insurance. The startup offers term life, universal life, as well as endowment insurance policies.

Additionally, it launched a Stay Active program, which allows users to sync their fitness tracker or pedometer with Singapore Life to receive awards and price cuts, depending on their lifestyle. If a user is in the top 50% of participants with the most steps per month, they can get 5% cashback. 

Conventionally, life insurance is sold via a broker or agent, and even China’s tech-savvy insurer Ping An, the country’s second-largest life insurer, still employs large agency sales forces, according to the FT. As such, consumers in Asia might not be used to purchasing this kind of insurance online.

This model may be new to the market in Singapore, but having such an experienced backer could help its future success. Given Asian consumers generally still rely on agencies when purchasing life insurance, they may be hesitant to utilize Singapore Life’s services at first. However, having a backer like Spencer, who has experience running a company successfully, could help it overcome this hurdle.

Additionally, as consumers get more used to purchasing life insurance online, with more insurtechs launching, we will probably see increased uptake of such online solutions.

Tech-driven disruption in the insurance industry continues at pace, and we’re now entering a new phase — the adaptation of underlying business models.

That’s leading to ongoing changes in the distribution segment of the industry, but more excitingly, we are starting to see movement in the fundamentals of insurance — policy creation, underwriting, and claims management.

The Insurtech 2.0 Report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, will briefly review major changes in the insurtech segment over the past year. It will then examine how startups and legacy players across the insurance value chain are using technology to develop new business models that cut costs or boost revenue, and, in some cases, both. Additionally, we will provide our take on the future of insurance as insurtech continues to proliferate.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Funding is flowing into startups and helping them scale, while legacy players have moved beyond initial experiments and are starting to implement new technology throughout their businesses.
  • Distribution, the area of the insurance value chain that was first to be disrupted, continues to evolve.
  • The fundamentals of insurance — policy creation, underwriting, and claims management — are starting to experience true disruption, while innovation in reinsurance has also continued at pace.
  • Insurtechs are using new business models that are enabled by a variety of technologies. In particular, they’re using automation, data analytics, connected devices, and machine learning to build holistic policies for consumers that can be switched on and off on-demand.
  • Legacy insurers, as opposed to brokers, now have the most to lose — but those that move swiftly still have time to ensure they stay in the game.

In full, the report:

  • Reviews major changes in the insurtech segment over the past year.
  • Examines how startups and legacy players across distribution, insurance, and reinsurance are using technology to develop new business models.
  • Provides our view on what the future of the insurance industry looks like, which Business Insider Intelligence calls Insurtech 2.0.

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Source: Business insider

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