ACE Startup Feature – PolicyPal

Cutting through Complexity

Fuelled by their own experience, the co-founders of PolicyPal are on a mission to make the world of insurance more consumer-friendly.

Some of the best business ideas come from personal experience and that’s the case with PolicyPal. Launched in April 2016, the digital insurance app helps consumers track and manage all their insurance plans on a single and simple dashboard.

The idea was first mooted by co-founder and CEO Val Yap when her mother was diagnosed with cancer but a single forgotten payment rendered her mother’s insurance claims invalid. Shortly after, her father passed away from a sudden heart attack. Having no clue about his insurance coverage, Val had no choice but to go knocking on every insurer’s door. This frustration inspired PolicyPal.

Fast forward four months and co-founder and Product Manager Ng Yi Ming came into the picture. With his experience working for a major insurance company, Yi Ming was already a firm believer in the necessity of insurance.

“My friend was going to trek to Mount Everest Base Camp and he was ready to do it without travel insurance. I insisted that he protect himself, so he did. About two weeks after he returned safely, the area was hit by a massive earthquake. The insurance company sent a chartered plane to evacuate its insured and that really hit home for me,” said Yi Ming, who decided to leave the corporate world in search for work that would have greater social meaning. He found this in PolicyPal.

And while it is an insurtech startup, Yi Ming rejects the term ‘disruptor’.

“We founded PolicyPal because we believe in the importance of insurance. We have no intention of disrupting a century-old industry. Rather, we see ourselves as enablers who are using technology to make insurance easier and friendlier for consumers,” he said.

“There has been a mindset shift among consumers, particularly in the younger set,” he added. “People don’t want to be pushed an insurance product; they want to understand what they’re buying and what need it will fulfil for them. Trust is the cornerstone of the insurance industry and, as an independent app without a sales agenda, we offer them an objective overview of all their policies and point out what’s missing and where.”

PolicyPal uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and natural language processing technology to summarise, analyse and suggest improvements to current coverage plans for users. It also alerts users to payment due dates and policy renewal dates. Kate, the app’s artificial intelligent chatbot, is also on-hand to help users identify their coverage needs and attend to their recommendation requests.

Users can now choose to purchase certain insurance products directly through the app. At present, PolicyPal partners four major insurers — Aviva, AXA, Etiqa Insurance and NTUC Income. This is possible because PolicyPal has joined the MAS FinTech Regulatory Sandbox, a live environment where fintech startups can test new products and services within the regulatory landscape.

The six-month sandbox phase ends in August and PolicyPal is already in talks with MAS about its next steps. The startup has also received a fresh injection of seed funding in March this year, so what’s next for PolicyPal?

“We’re pushing ahead with further market and product development. On one hand, we’re working to reach out and engage with more consumers; on the other, we’re constantly testing and refining our product. We also won’t rule out the possibility of entering neighbouring markets as well,” revealed Yi Ming.

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