The move of Konnect NET

Auckland-headquartered healthcare technology companies HealthLink and Konnect NET have come together this week not just in spirit, but also in person. Konnect NET staff have moved into HealthLink's premises in Newmarket. Their press release states: "However, there will be no change to current products, services or support for HealthLink and Konnect NET customers."

HealthLink and Konnect NET merged at the end of last year to form Clanwilliam Health - you can read more about them here.

Clanwilliam Health leadership team is pictured below. 

Clanwilliam Health leadership team


Change the belief of “Insurance is sold, not bought”

The development of insurance technology in Japan has been lagging behind other countries despite them having the second latest insurance market in the world. 

Here is an interview with Kazuya Hata, the Founder & CEO of JustInCase.

'Given the continuous rising trend of the use of smartphones, new or used, as well as the push for turning into a cashless society from Japanese government, justInCase launched its first product which was the smartphone insurance in 2018. Not only was it the first insurance in Japan which can be enrolled, managed and claimed through mobile app, it is also embedded AI-based technology which is applied to analyze actions that may cause smartphone damages and reflect the corresponding risk by scoring. The higher the score user has, the higher premium discount they can enjoy in the following contract period given no claims reported in the current contract period.'

Critically, Kazuya Hata stated that their objective was to change the underlying belief that insurance is sold, not bought. 

Insurtech set to disrupt the Chinese insurance market

The Chinese insurance market is on path to becoming heavily automated. This exponential change to the market is thanks to the launch of a new insurance scheme being utilized by one of Jack Ma’s many business ventures.

With the changing socio-eco levels and the increased awareness of health care, China is set to become the world’s largest insurance market in a little over ten years.

Seven months after its launch, a new insurer, Xiang Hu Bao now provides services about 65 million clients. Clients can pay very small amounts in premiums which are pooled to help those suffering from various types of illnesses. At the current date, 49 critically ill clients have been compensated. 

The method of operation is as innovative as it is heavily dependent on technology, opposed to traditional insurance methods that are dependent on employees to communicate with clients at all stages of the insurance process. With the vast number of China’s population being equipped with smart phones means that over 700 million people can potentially sign up for the service, make their monthly payment, and submit relevant medical documents using their smart phone. Xiang Hu Bao takes a percentage of pay outs. Insurtechs are expected to generate up to $174 billion in premiums by 2020. The ease of use of Xiang Hu Bao makes it an attractive alternative to traditional insurance companies. To advisers as well as clients. The disruptive nature of Xiang Hu Bao could be an indication of the direction the global insurance market is taking. Click here to read more

Another robo-adviser goes online

Another robo-adviser has gone online. How many robo-advisers will there be? The way we phrase that question may not be helping us assess the future. Rather than define the business as 'robo' why not ask, how many advice businesses will have some advice automation in the future? Put that way, I find it hard to argue that many won't have much advice automation.

Automation index

Lemonade, a general insurer, publishes this cool automation index, tracking policies per employee from the start of doing business. Link.


How do New Zealand insurers compare? Well, it is hard to say because we do not know exactly how many people that they employ. Based on some disclosures, however, and an imperfect count of policies. This is a rough guide for a reasonably large insurer: about 1000 policies per employee. Have fun working out what your number is, and whether you can catch Lemonade.

Do check out that link, by the way, as it has a good, detailed, discussion of automation and how Lemonade has been able to achieve its high ratio.

Is robo-advice an implementation strategy? I don't think so

Michael Kitces from Nerd's Eye View has written this article discussing some of the real marketplace challenges for Robo-Advisers and the growth of robo-adviser solutions for advisers. Their view is that robo advice is fundamentally an implementation strategy, and not a customer acquisition one.

My view of digital advice is that the place where digital can be most useful is in customer acquisition, extending gradually back towards full advice-giving. That contrast could be something about the relative volume challenges of the different types of adviser we tend to focus on. Investment advisers have relatively fewer client interactions, and much more advice implementation and administrative tasks for each one. Insurance advisers are the reverse - they have many, many, interactions with people, and tend to have fewer administrative tasks for each one. So when each of us looks at digital we see it automating the high-volume interactions that are most troublesome to the process.

Obviously the actual development of digital advice will be far more complex and organic than these models imply, but I'm not going to bet that digital can't help you acquire clients. I guess I'm betting the other way. Look at all the marketing automation tools we employ already.

Insurtech not a one-way bet

Start-ups of any kind are not a one-way bet, and while there is plenty of money to be made in the insurtech sector, there is plenty to be lost too. Development capital is being raised for insurance ventures of all kinds: at different parts of the value-chain, support, back office, sales, needs analysis, for advisers, for direct to consumer, and on and on. Huge sums are being spent, and most will be wasted - because only a few of these ideas can succeed, even if they all had good ideas, and great execution, the market cannot sustain them all. It is not, therefore, surprising when a start-up fails, as Mosaic is reported to have done recently. As a business owner I am always distressed to hear when projects like these do not succeed. I hope the people involved can find a place for the good ideas they have elsewhere.

Insurtech start-ups in the KiwiBank accelerator

While there are no life and health insurance start-ups in the accelerator there is plenty to be interested in. Two appear to have a general insurance flavour, the best of which is Stash, a outfit I have come across before and deserves to break out into broader market success. I also like the concepts for the blockchain identity development and the KiwiSaver advice service. Check out the list here.