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Insurer counts on start-up to boost revenue

KRUNGTHAI Panich Insurance has partnered with insurance-tech start-up Roojai.com to drive up income from motor-insurance premiums, hoping this channel will help catapult it into the top 10 by 2020.

KPI currently ranks between 18th and 20th in total premium income, and its income growth in the first six months was flat amid the slowdown in bank lending, which has dampened demand for credit insurance. 
Bancassurance contributes half |of KPI’s total premium income because it is a subsidiary of Krungthai Bank.
The company is transitioning from first-class motor insurance to the second-plus and third-plus classes, so its performance in the first half was |slightly behind target, Somboon Wongrassamee, president of KPI, said yesterday.
The company targets premium-income growth of 3-5 per cent this year from Bt3.1 billion last year.
Online car insurance is a new channel for KPI. It is the exclusive partner of Roojai Company, a pure e-commerce player. They kicked off the service in January. 
Roojai’s ambition is to grow in the motor-insurance segment over the next four years with targets of Bt3.15 billion in premium income and 3 per cent in market share. Based on these targets, KPI hopes to get into the top 10 by 2020.
It will start strongly promoting its brand to motorists upcountry, where KTB has a strong presence. 
In the past it may have paid less attention to building brand awareness among motorists.
Looks to 50:50 split 
Motor insurance accounts for 42 per cent and non-motor insurance 58 per cent of premium income. The company is now aiming for a 50:50 split.
Nicolas Faquet, chief executive officer and founder of Roojai, said the growth in Internet usage nationwide was the key for his company to be better known and to expand in this market.
The company expects the e-commerce market to show an annual increase of 18 per cent from US$3.01 billion (Bt105 billion) this year to $5.83 billion in 2020.
In the car-insurance market, traditional sales channels command the biggest share of 85-92 per cent, followed by online brokers at 10-15 |per cent and aggregators at 1-2 per cent. 
Pure e-commerce players have less than 1 per cent.
The slowdown in new-car sales is not a problem for his company, but the growing sales of motor insurance through e-commerce mark a change in consumer behaviour.
Since www.roojai.com and the Roojai mobile application were launched six months ago, they have attracted more than a million visitors and 1,500 policies have been issued, generating premium income of Bt13 million. 
The company is targeting premium income at Bt78 million this year, which it is confident of reaching, Bt335 million next year, Bt904 million in 2018 and Bt3.15 billion by 2020, when it will count more than 250,000 customers.
“We have no plan to sell non-motor insurance because we want to offer the best service in motor insurance,” Faquet said.
“We are not just an insurance broker but we are an innovator that offers as many as five types of motor insurance to cope with the different needs of motorists. 
“Even though we just launched the brand early this year, Roojai is the most visited insurance website, showing that our platform can enhance customers’ experience in buying motor insurance online,” he said. 

Published : August 10, 2016