How insurtech startups are revolutionizing Korea’s insurance industry
The digital insurance market is growing in South Korea. Insurtech is reshaping the insurance industry with the rise of the sharing economy and the ability to improve operations using artificial intelligence.
Insurtech is the use of technological innovations to rethink the current insurance industry in an effort to save time and money. Fintechs have done it before for the finance industry and now many venture capitalists believe the same will happen for the insurance industry. Through innovation, big data and AI, insurance startups in Korea are looking to revolutionize the industry.
We’re already seeing insurtechs providing on-demand policies that allow Korean customers to purchase home, car and travel insurance when they need it. This form of on-demand offering is just one aspect of how insurtech can be used to deliver more value to customers.
Seoul Fintech Lab is a fintech startup incubator fully funded by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. They have over 95 fintech startups on their agenda, and among them are innovative insurtech startups looking to disrupt the insurance industry in Korea. We have presented a few of them below.
Smallticket is the leading insurtech Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) player in Korea. They were the first to launch an on-demand mobility insurance product in the country. Their insurance product provides essential insurance coverage to workers in the gig economy such as food delivery people. In addition, Smallticket offers a full pet health care rewards service. Their Petping app, a smart pet care platform, has the potential to revolutionize the pet insurance and care industry in Korea.
Tobecon is an insurance underwriting platform using machine learning. By using insurtech-based underwriting, insurance companies can reduce associated costs by up to 90% per case. In addition, the filtering process, which took up to 5 days, can be handled in real time. Tobecon has also created a biological age analysis application called MOM, which analyzes 20 types of life insurance records and predicts major diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Open Plan is the creator of an on-demand insurance platform called Toggle. With Toggle, customers can easily find and purchase short term insurance through the website or app. The best feature of the product is its mini-insurance subdivided into daily, hourly, location and environment, rather than the existing annual billing. Further, insurance products are divided into life related categories such as leisure, travel, home, automobile, and even cyber risk, to name a few.
Starpickers uses sensor-based computing for the delivery of electric motorcycles and scooters through the installation of a black box that can detect accident risks and reduce the rate of loss of insurance products. The black box is also able to identify basic information such as precise location, travel route, speed, illegal / reckless driving information. By connecting the black box to a smartphone via Bluetooth, accident information can also be identified in real time. And with the application of AI, tens of thousands of information can be processed instantly.
Sagolink provides accurate information to protect the rights of traffic accident victims and helps them to be properly compensated for damage caused by the accident. It provides references to similar accidents and an online service that requests insurance compensation as well as the calculation of expected settlement payments for traffic accident victims.
Petfins is a life financial services platform company specializing in companion animals. The platform allows customers to compare the prices of various pet finance products, purchase insurance, and claim the money. In addition, Petfins works in partnership with banks and insurance companies for financial products for pets.
The future of insurtech in Korea
Depending on the success of these insurtech startups, we might see big insurance companies in Korea partnering with them. Insurtech partnerships could allow insurance companies in Korea to position themselves as versatile, connected and potentially disruptive leaders in the industry. It is important for these well established insurance companies to embrace the development of new innovative technologies by these startups. The innovation that is closely associated with insurtech focuses on constant learning and growth. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how the insurance industry in Korea welcomes insurance startups looking to bring something revolutionary to a traditional industry.
About John Yoon
John Yoon is the co-founder of Seoulz. He has covered the tech startup scene in South Korea for over 7 years and has written over 700 articles on the Korean startup ecosystem. He works with many government organizations in South Korea to help Korean startups expand into the global market as well as global brands wishing to enter South Korea.
Seoulz is Korea’s leading English-based tech medium and ranks # 1 on Google for some of the top keywords related to major tech trends in South Korea. Seoulz helps connect global investors with startups in South Korea.
About the Seoul Fintech Lab
Seoul Fintech Lab (SFL) is a fintech startup support institution offering an incubation and acceleration program fully funded by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. SFL selects promising fintech startups from around the world and provides office space, one-on-one mentoring, and business growth programs to successfully scale up and attract investments.