Hong Kong puts insurtech on fast track
Hong Kong is issuing the first licence for an online-only firm next month, as it ups its fintech game.
Clement Cheung, CEO of Hong Kong’s Insurance Authority (HKIA), told Reuters it is planning to issue its first licence next month as a result of its fast-track system.
This is the first licence issued through HKIA’s fast-track system, which follows the example of Singapore’s equivalent.
This fast-track system is HK’s way to counter the criticisms that it hasn’t kept up with financial technology developments as well as other geographies. According to the HKIA’s Annual Report 2017-18, this fast-track system was launched in September 2017.
Throughout the past year, the regulator estimated the release date of the first licence as early as late 2018/early 2019. Pretty accurate prediction.
The name of the insurer hasn’t been revealed, but it is estimated the city’s insurance market has $63 billion in premiums, with players like AIA Group, Prudential and Sun Life Financial.
Currently, most insurance products in Hong Kong are sold via intermediaries such as agents, banks and brokers.
As part of Hong Kong’s fintech push, the banking regulator is also expected to issue the first batch of licences to online or “virtual” banks by end of this year.
The IA is also looking to set up a policyholders’ capital protection fund in 2020 and implement a risk-based capital regime for insurers a year or two after that.