NEW YORK — ASEAN-based insurtech SAPHRON has unveiled an AI-powered microinsurance platform aiming to serve millions of policies and address the huge insurance penetration gaps in Southeast Asia.
Presenting at the Global Insurtech Leaders Summit (GILS) in New York, Saphron Chief Executive Officer Lorenzo Chan and Chief Strategy Officer Winston Damarillo spoke about how the Manila-based insurtech is wielding artificial intelligence and process automation to enable microinsurers to scale their access and impact for the underserved market—at a fraction of the time and cost.
Bottom of the pyramid needs insurance most
“A lot of commercial insurers think that this lower end of the market can’t afford, can’t understand insurance. But they couldn’t be more wrong; insurers are the ones who know very little about the market we are supposed to serve,” Chan pointed out. “This is, in fact, the market that needs insurance the most. Hence, we’ve designed our products based on what they need, at a price they can afford.”
Chan, who is also a director of the Philippines’ leading microinsurer, CARD Pioneer Microfinance Inc., spoke from his own experience with 19 million enrollments in the micro segment, through a variety of partnerships such as microfinance institutes, rural banks, motorcycle distributors and pawnshops–which also operate as remittance centers in the Philippines.
According to Chan, often, the best-selling products are those customized to meet the market’s unique needs. These include bundled products that cover death, accident, and certain calamities and disasters, that are payable in monthly or weekly “payday installments.” Chan noted a key challenge, however: “The premium is such that you cannot afford to send a surveyor or an assessor to validate claims in the traditional way. So we provide other options to handle this.”
“And when a claim happens to this segment, they need their claims settled as soon as possible. When we started, our claims were settled within five days—from the day the incident was advised, not from the time requirements were submitted. Now we are looking at four to 24 hours,” Chan added.
AI, Robotics, Analytics, and Chatbots
How does a business efficiently and sustainably serve a market with smaller premiums and lower margins? Enter artificial intelligence, robotics, analytics, and chatbots—highly advanced “deep technology” that, in Saphron’s case, is masked by a deceptively simple user interface.
According to Saphron Chief Strategy Officer Winston Damarillo, “Deep technology is what will allow microinsurers to scale efficiently and serve the over 4.4 billion people who are uninsured or underinsured around the world.”
In an onstage product demonstration, Damarillo spoke of Saphron’s 10-10-1 model: “Ten dollars to purchase (the insurance product), ten cents to process, one minute to enroll.”
NAN.AI to the masses of uninsured
Saphron’s microinsurance platform, NAN.AI, is a play on the Filipino word for mother—“nanay”—also referring to the thousands of mothers who comprise many of Saphron’s microinsurance agents. It leverages technology and social media that every working mother has, and uses every day, such as Facebook on her smartphone.
NAN.AI allows microinsurance agents to enroll clients, monitor policies, and initiate claims—all in a fraction of the time and cost it takes for paper-based transactions.
“One proven and effective way to serve the world’s billions of uninsured is through microinsurance, and the key to making microinsurance efficient and sustainable for insurers is deep technology. Through our ecosystem and partnerships, Saphron is poised to make financial inclusion a reality for billions around the world,” Damarillo ended.
SAPHRON is an insurtech company driven to make insurance radically accessible and propel financial inclusion in Southeast Asia. Visit www.saphron.asia for more information.