Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has approved FinTech startup Jirnexu to compare, sell, process payments, and issue e-policies for insurance products.
Jirnexu claims it is the first company in the country permitted to sell select general and life insurance products from multiple providers, and the first to build a dedicated e-commerce marketplace for insurance.
Following its approval to join the central bank’s Financial Technology Regulatory Sandbox program, Jirnexu says it will soon begin transacting term life and motor insurance directly through its financial comparison site RinggitPlus.com.
According to BNM in 2016 there were 136 companies licensed to sell insurance in the country complemented by 124, 288 registered agents. Despite these numbers, the regulator said the life insurance market has remained stagnant over the last five years.
According to Research and Markets’ “Malaysia Insurance Sector Report 2017/2018” insurance penetration rate stands at between 40% and 50%.
As medical costs rise, the government has made it a national policy to increase insurance penetration to 75% by 2020, with life insurance expected to experience rapid growth for the foreseeable future. To this end, the Malaysian government is undertaking reforms to liberalize the conduct of the general and life insurance businesses, opening the door for increased competition in the local market.
“We are excited that Bank Negara has entrusted Jirnexu to drive the fast-growing consumer adoption of digital insurance. We will work closely with our stakeholders to build Malaysia’s first ecommerce marketplace and offer a more comprehensive suite of insurance products—starting with term life and motor insurance,” Jirnexu director of insurance Lucas Ooi said.
“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.”