Lucas Ooi

Jirnexu gains Malaysian central bank approvals

Southeast Asian fin-tech startup Jirnexu has been approved by Malaysia’s central bank to compare, sell, process payments, and issue e-policies for insurance products.

Jirnexu is the first company in Malaysia permitted to sell select general and life insurance products from multiple providers, and the first to build a dedicated e-commerce marketplace for insurance.

Receiving approval to join Malaysia’s Bank Negara (“BNM”) Financial Technology Regulatory Sandbox (“Sandbox”), which allows participants to introduce innovative fin-tech services and products, Jirnexu will soon begin transacting term life and motor insurance directly on their financial comparison site

Lucas Ooi

“We are excited that Bank Negara has entrusted Jirnexu to drive the fast-growing consumer adoption of digital insurance,” Jirnexu director of insurance Lucas Ooi said.

“We will work closely with our stakeholders to build Malaysia’s first e-commerce marketplace and offer a more comprehensive suite of insurance products—starting with term life and motor insurance. Our most recent investment round will play a significant role in developing the technology for Malaysians to search and obtain their insurance from a single platform in a matter of minutes.

“General insurance premiums reached RM17 billion in 2016, and new business premiums in life insurance grew to RM9.75 billion. Following our success working with banks to innovate new solutions—such as RHB’s recent introduction of Southeast Asia’s first chatbot for processing personal loans online, our proprietary technology continues to raise the bar for the financial service industry. We are already working with insurers such as Zurich, Etiqa and UforLife to integrate our technology with their platforms, helping them reach the fast-growing, underserved market of digital consumers.”

Bank Negara Malaysia introduced the fin-tech regulatory sandbox framework last October to support innovation that improves the quality, efficiency, and accessibility of financial services in the country. For the first time earlier this year, startups that offer services ranging from insurtech to remittance and money exchange were admitted to the Sandbox.

According to BNM, Malaysia’s life insurance penetration rate has remained stagnant over the past five years.  According to Swiss Re data, insurance penetration rates across ASEAN stood at just over three per cent in 2015, well below the global average of six per cent.

“Through our partnership, Jirnexu has helped UforLife underwrite more than RM140 million of sum assured to-date — on track to represent a four-fold increase from 2016,” UforLIfe general manager Kenny Thing said. “I have no doubt that through the Sandbox, Jirnexu will be a significant force in accelerating the growth of life protection levels in Malaysia.”

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