The news that Hiscox, the global specialist insurer, has become our new owner heralds an exciting time for DirectAsia.com and indeed the whole of the region’s insurance industry. It means more money and more resources will be available to invest and grow our award-winning brand. And of course that enables us to bring easier, cheaper and hassle-free insurance to more people across Asia.
As MD of DirectAsia.com this means a tremendous amount to me both professionally and personally. It signals a significant turning point in the DirectAsia.com story which began as a mere idea in 2005. At this time it became clear to me that many consumers in Asia were keen to buy insurance direct and online, especially motor, following similar models in South Korea, US and Europe. The majority of Asian markets, however, were being stifled by incumbent insurers and the agency networks which meant insurance companies were unable to handle the channel conflict of competing with their own agents as well as the different pricing for the same product that this would entail.
At this point I started to talk to different investors about starting a brand new direct insurance company without the constraints of working with agents.
In 2006, I met Anthony Hobrow and joined the Whittington Group where we began researching in earnest the opportunity of direct to consumer insurance. The results of comprehensive research were compelling and the following year the build project began. We brought in like-minded entrepreneurial insurance experts from around the world. We set to work on building from scratch a company with world-class service processes, segmentation and IT that would out-do the old incumbents who were dependent on legacy systems and traditional processes. Today we’re proud to say that we were one of the first online insurance businesses to launch in Singapore (2010), followed by Hong Kong (2012) and then Thailand (late 2013). Currently DirectAsia.com has over 54,000 customers and continues to thrive and grow.
This latest milestone in the DirectAsia.com story sees the introduction of Hiscox. And this, I believe, will herald a significant turning point in our history. It means we now have more clout and more resources to turn DirectAsia.com into a true leader of online insurance in Asia with more people being able to benefit from our world-class products and customer-service. Our mission to transform how insurance is done in Asia has only just begun…
That can only be good for our customers today and our customers in the future.