Philippines-based insurance technology (insurtech) startup Saphron has announced raising S$1.35 million ($1 million) in seed funding from fintech-focused venture capital firm Sage and venture lab Talino Labs.
In a statement, Saphron said Southeast Asia faces major financial gaps, with insurance penetration at just 3.4 per cent of GDP, versus the global average of 6.3 per cent.
“There is a serious need to make insurance radically accessible around the region by helping address the risks that set back millions of vulnerable families and drive them further into debt,” Saphron founder and chief technology officer Francisco Reyes Jr said.
With the seed funding, Reyes said Saphron’s platform will be optimised with artificial intelligence and real-time data analytics for underwriting and customer service.
It will also have a multi-platform payment gateway that can accept payments from mobile payment platforms, which is now being practised in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Per a report released by global reinsurance firm Swiss Re, families in the ASEAN bear 35-75 per cent of their total medical expenses, with the exception of Brunei (6 per cent) and Thailand (12 per cent), versus families in Japan, the United Kingdom, or the United States, which bear only 11-15 per cent of their total medical expenses.
Commenting on the investment, Sage and Talino Labs said in a joint statement that their investment in Saphron further underlines their commitment to addressing the “large protection and financial gap”.
“There is a lot of growth potential in Southeast Asia, but for industries to leapfrog and become even more relevant to today’s consumers, it’s important to combine the latest technology with in-depth industry expertise,” said Talino Labs Venture director Micaela Beltran.
Saphron’s first client is the Pioneer Group, a commercial insurance provider in the Philippines. The firm caters to class A to D Filipinos and provides coverage for migrant workers and the low-income sector in the country.