The Insurance Authority (IA) has granted its first authorisation of a non-life insurer owning and operating solely through digital distribution channels under Fast Track.
Avo Insurance received the licence on 8 October. Asia Insurance, the general insurance unit of Hong Kong-listed Asia Financial Group, owns 51% of Avo, while Zhang Lei, founder and CEO of investment management firm Hillhouse Capital, holds the remaining 49%.
Mr Clement Cheung, CEO of the IA, said, “The first non-life virtual insurer authorised under Fast Track is a local company, whose strategic focus is providing innovative and customer-centric products, like health and travel insurance, for under-served segments through bespoke digital distribution channels without the involvement of intermediaries.”
He added, “The authorisation of new virtual insurers under Fast Track encourages and facilitates wider applications of InsurTech in Hong Kong. InsurTech provides the opportunity for both consumers and the industry to improve the customer experience, enhance inclusiveness, build a sustainable FinTech ecosystem, reduce the compliance burden and induce greater supervisory efficiency. We will continue to work with the relevant stakeholders to maximize the value of InsurTech for the betterment of society.”
The Fast Track scheme was introduced by the IA in September 2017 to provide a dedicated queue for newcomers seeking to operate solely through digital distribution channels. Applicants for Fast Track authorisation must possess an innovative and robust business model, while satisfying all the prevailing regulatory requirements on solvency, capital and local asset requirements to ensure the interests of policy holders are duly protected.
The first life virtual insurer under Fast Track was authorised in December 2018. The insurer is called Bowtie Insurance.