FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong to license first online-only insurer in December

The pioneer will be part of the new fast-track system.

Reuters reports that Hong Kong is set to license its first online-only insurer under a “fast-track” system by December as part of the city’s dedicated fintech push.

Also read: Hong Kong poise for insurtech growth in 2018

The player will operate in a market worth more than US$63b in insurance premiums and compete with players like AIA Group, Prudential Plc and Sun Life Financial Inc.

Launched late-2017, the fast-track system aims to speed up applications for insurers operating solely within the online space. The Insurance Authority is also looking to set up a so-called policyholders’ capital protection fund and implement a risk-based capital regime for insurers in an effort to enhance customer protection from a severe downturn in the sector.

“It has taken a bit of time, and sometimes people say ‘your fast track is not so fast’ but I wanted to look at the potential disruption to the market,” said IA CEO Clement Cheung.

Also read: Hong Kong ramps up efforts to capture GBA's insurance market

At present, most insurance products in Hong Kong are still sold via intermediaries like agents, banks and brokers.EY’s Fintech Adoption Index 2017 reveals that Hong Kong has an average fintech adoption rate of around 32%, compared to the adoption rate in China at 69%, India at 52%, and UK at 42%. 

To ride this growth momentum, as much as 3,107 job vacancies loom in 2019 as insurance players race to win over Hong Kong's tech savvy customers with customised products and service offerings, data from recruitment agency Hays show. The insurance industry currently stands at 90,000 employees but is facing a dire manpower shortage due to the lack of fresh graduates and new industry entrants. 

Here’s more from Reuters:

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