Bowtie Wins Hong Kong’s First Virtual Insurer License
HONG KONG, December 20, 2018 – Bowtie Life Insurance Company Limited (Bowtie) today announces that it has been granted the very first virtual insurance company license by Hong Kong’s Insurance Authority under its Fast Track pilot scheme. As a homegrown insurtech and now a fully-licensed virtual insurance company, Bowtie is set to offer insurance protection directly to customers, without any insurance intermediaries.
Bowtie is backed with HK$234 million (US$ 30 million) raised in its Series A round from Sun Life Hong Kong Limited and has a shareholder base that includes Hong Kong X Technology Fund and angel investors.
“While digital technology is on the rise, we believe the industry is in need of change,” said Fred Ngan, Co-CEO and Co-founder of Bowtie. “Hong Kong welcomes a virtual insurer to design what online insurance can be – truly customer-centric, transparent and commission-free.”
Ngan and fellow Co-CEO and Co-founder Michael Chan are serial entrepreneurs who grew up in Hong Kong. They first met in the United States where they worked as actuaries in global advisory firms. After returning to Hong Kong, this duo have already built two successful insurtech start-ups in a few short years prior to founding Bowtie.
“Bowtie is all about delivering convenience to consumers through technology.” said Michael Chan. “Our market research is telling us Hong Kong consumers would love to be able to sign up for health insurance and submit claims online, but the industry has not fully embraced digital technology to optimize the consumer experience. This is exciting because we get to reinvent the very structure of an insurance company and replace everything with modern technology.”
Inspired by this same vision, Bowtie has been garnering engineering talent from local and Silicon Valley technology start-ups, as well as industry leaders including former C-suite executives from major insurance companies. The 100% home-grown team comprises actuaries, engineers, designers, a strong service team and even a medical doctor.
“As part of our digital transformation strategy, this is a strategic investment by Sun Life in a Hong Kong based start-up that strengthens our market position,” said Fabien Jeudy, CEO of Sun Life Hong Kong. “We believe in Bowtie’s vision and commitment to enhancing the customer experience. Our investment complements our business, while enabling new distribution modes through the latest technology and digital innovations.”
Pending Food and Health Bureau’s approval, Hong Kong consumers can expect to see health insurance products on Bowtie’s digital distribution platform during the first half of 2019 when the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) begins accepting customer applications.