Australian insurer IAG is establishing an insurance technology (insurtech) hub in Singapore called Firemark Labs. The incubator in the city-state will enable IAG to work with top talent, startups, research and technology partners to co-create new products and services.
The use of the term ‘Firemark’ refers to a fire-proof metal plaque used in the 18th century to show that a building was insured. In an announcement on 17 February 2017, IAG explained that the new hub is aimed at enhancing its offerings and footprint across Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
The opening of the new hub is supported by Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which is aiming to drive innovation in the city-state’s financial sector.
In an official statement, Julie Batch, Chief Customer Officer for IAG, said, “Singapore is recognised as having one of the most developed FinTech landscapes with a growing InsurTech scene. We are the first Australian insurer to launch a space dedicated to InsurTech in Singapore and will join a network of global innovators with hubs set up in the technology hotspot.”
She adds, “We know customer lifestyles are changing rapidly — everything from how we purchase products to how we get around is becoming faster, simpler and more digital. Launching Firemark Labs in Singapore will allow us to lead the development of talent, tools and networks that will help us quickly respond to changing trends and create new customer solutions. Our partnership with MAS will help position us as part of Singapore’s thriving technology community.”
According to IAG, Firemark Labs is part of a broader business strategy aimed at leveraging data to drive enhance customer experiences, in addition to greater use of digital technologies and innovation. Firemark Labs is supported by its doesb us supported by IAG’s A$75 million venture fund, which was established in December 2016 to invest in, and partner with startups and emerging growth businesses.
Networking and building institutional social capital is a major factor behind the launch, given that it capitalises on IAG’s institutional knowledge and experience as Australia’s largest general insurer with new insights and perspectives from Singapore. This is in addition to connecting with a community of entrepreneurs, technologists, researchers and problem solvers based in the city-state.
“As the first Australian insurer-backed lab, IAG’s Firemark Labs will add to the diversity of our vibrant FinTech ecosystem. IAG’s initiative presents an exciting platform for both the insurance and innovation community to come together and co-create innovative InsurTech solutions across retail and reinsurance applications for the region, and will further bolster Singapore’s development as the global insurance hub,” commented Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer for MAS.