ZhongAn Online Embarks Global Technology Empowerment Journey Expanding Insurance Boundary
Rapid development in five technology series marks the third upgrade of technology strategy in five years
HONG KONG, Sept. 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- ZhongAn Online organized its first Corporate Day in Shanghai today, where it showcased to the market its technology offerings and applications in insurance, healthcare and consumer finance sectors through pioneering cutting-edge technology. In addition, the Company announced the launch of new core insurance system "Graphene", a latest product of its S-Series Insuretech. With Graphene, insurance companies are able to link up their channels within a week, process over 2 billion insurance policies, and launch new products in one to three days, thereby propelling cost-saving and efficiency.
As China's first internet-based insurer, technology is at the heart of ZhongAn's DNA. Since inception, the Company has invested in technology research and development to build up technological capabilities that differentiate from traditional players and its own "super intelligence". The set-up of wholly-owned subsidiary ZhongAn Technology has helped extend these technological offerings to other players in the market.
The technological development of ZhongAn is due to enter a new milestone, where ZhongAn offers technological capabilities to external parties and promotes information upgrade in relevant sectors, actualizing quality and rapid growth of its corporate clients. In the first half of 2018, ZhongAn created five business lines, providing services to approximately 300 corporate clients. Meanwhile, it also formulated the international strategy for its technology offerings, seeking to capitalize opportunities in the Greater Bay Area and develop international market through its base in Hong Kong with an initial focus on Asia.
Jeffrey Chen, Chief Executive Officer of ZhongAn Insurance, said, "Insuretech has become more mature after the first few years of development. At first, technology empowerment in the insurance sector emphasized on channels innovation, while it has gradually moved towards the crucial stage of refined management and innovation. Internally, we will further reshape risk control, claim settlements, etc. with technology, while building ZhongAn ecosystem by marketing technology solutions in China and globally, navigating financial regimes and deepening technology inclusion."
The first internet insurance policy of New Generation in China
To address the demand of the new generation, ZhongAn offers innovative insurance solutions based on its health, consumer finance, auto, lifestyle and travel ecosystems, which are accepted and recognized by the new generation.
ZhongAn serves the new generation by driving its dual engines, "Technology and Insurance". Technology empowers insurance while insurance validates technology. For example, to handle immense amount of insurance policies, ZhongAn has developed Wujieshan, the first cloud-based core insurance system in China and put it under continuous optimization. Currently, Wujieshan is capable of processing up to 32,000 insurance policies in one second. It also offers stability, safety and efficiency to online orders at low cost.
As at end-August, the average age of ZhongAn employees is just 29.5. This young and energetic team has already served 300 million users in the first half of the year in which consumers of the new generation aged 18-39 accounted for 57.8% of its users. Take travel insurance as an example. As at end-June, young adults aged 20-35 accounted for 47% of all policyholders of ZhongAn.
Jeffrey Chen said on the Corporate Day, "ZhongAn is dedicated to life and risk management since its inception five years ago. Bearing this awe in our hearts, we hope to support and encourage the new generation to unleash their imagination and push beyond their own limits, moving ahead with fearless spirit."
Third upgrade of technology strategy in five years led to the introduction of Graphene
Moving ahead with its fearless spirit, ZhongAn has offered small amount, high-frequency and fragmented insurance products to consumers since its inception, a breakthrough from traditional low-frequency insurance with high premium. This business model calls for ultra-high requirements for core IT systems.
While the insurance sector moves towards internet-based operations, many players are exposed to higher risks and costs in the modification of core IT system, which may pose limitation to them in developing more new businesses. This has led to the birth of Graphene.
On the Corporate Day, Kevin Chen, the Chief Executive Officer of ZhongAn Technology, officiated the launch of Graphene, a new core insurance system crystalized through ZhongAn's technological experience, which also marks the latest product of its S-Series. Graphene is designed to be highly compatible, high-performing and sustainable. It allows insurance companies to link up their channels within a week, process over 2 billion insurance policies, and launch new products in one to three days, hence further saving costs and boosting efficiency.
In just five years, ZhongAn's technology strategy has been upgraded from 1.0 to 3.0. The introduction of Graphene is the remarkable achievement stepping into stage 3.0. As at the first half of the year, ZhongAn incubated five series of technology services to the market, including the S series of Insuretech products, the X series of intelligent data products, the H series of Insuretech products, the T series of blockchain products and the F series of financial products, providing services to approximately 300 corporate clients. Currently, the S series and the H series are the most mature series.
ZhongAn marks its stage 1.0 of technology development with the focus on the cloud-based core system Wujieshan for agile operations and development of innovative businesses.
At stage 2.0, ZhongAn engaged external partners rapidly with its self-developed open platform under the bundled model. As a result, it gained access to more scenarios, connected to more services, and strengthened risk management. The collaboration between ZhongAn and DJI was built on such rapid innovation. High-end equipment like the drones of DJI, are kept in strict confidence before the launch, and ZhongAn is able to customize innovative insurance products in a day through its open platform upon obtaining relevant information one day before it hits the market.
Various technological achievements prompted ZhongAn into stage 3.0, where it transforms technology into commodities and provides services to external parties. Since its inception, ZhongAn Technology has been leveraging the technological strengths to power up self-growth and empower external parties. Apart from the insurance sector, it also supports other ecosystems, such as healthcare, automobile and financial industry, dedicated to applying its experience and ability in overseas market.
In December 2017, ZhongAn implemented the internationalization strategy and set up ZhongAn International in Hong Kong. Recently, ZhongAn International has entered into the shareholders' agreement with SoftBank Vision Fund, pursuant to which, the parties will invest USD200 million in installment as needed to promote the marketing of technology solutions of ZhongAn in overseas market.
Wayne Xu, President of ZhongAn International, said, "Starting this year, we consider offering our technology abroad. Licensing and regulatory requirements for the insurance sector exist in every country and region, and this may not change any time soon. However, all countries and regions share the common view that technology is the key to future development."
In parallel with expanding service provision, ZhongAn continues to increase investment in technology research and development, which grew by 91% year-on-year to 374 million for the first half of the year. In terms of human resources, there were 1,536 engineers and technicians working at ZhongAn as at 30 June 2018, accounting for 53.2% of the total workforce.
Jeffrey Chen believed that new business ecosystem would emerge for the insurance sector while empowering traditional industries. Supported by cutting-edge technology, the sector would actively seek for cross-sector connection and aim for a more open business model. A big insurance ecosystem with insurance institutions as the centre and risk service as the core would be developed gradually.