Allianz launches Asia Lab to drive innovation

At the Asia Lab launch were (from left) Allianz Asia Pacific chief executive Mr Sartorel, MAS chief fintech officer Mr Mohanty, Allianz Asia Pacific chief operating officer Ruediger Schaefer, Allianz Asia Pacific head of data science Raymond Au and Allian
At the Asia Lab launch were (from left) Allianz Asia Pacific chief executive Mr Sartorel, MAS chief fintech officer Mr Mohanty, Allianz Asia Pacific chief operating officer Ruediger Schaefer, Allianz Asia Pacific head of data science Raymond Au and Allianz regional manager of innovation Roman Braendli. The lab will be part of a global network of labs that Allianz already runs. PHOTO: ALLIANZ

Insurer Allianz has opened an Asia Lab at its Singapore headquarters to harness digital innovation and use advanced analytics to offer better solutions to its 18 million customers in the region.

At an event to launch the Asia Lab, housed at its Asia Square regional headquarters, the German firm described its plan to unveil a new model of insurance in Asia.

"Allianz is on a journey to build the next digital model for insurance, the next business model for insurance," said Allianz Asia Pacific chief executive George Sartorel.

He gave the example of healthcare, where instead of providing just insurance to customers, Allianz may also offer variables such as applications and insurance premiums that reward healthy living to encourage people to improve lifestyles.

In recent months, Allianz has been working on various projects to analyse consumer data and come up with new digital products to improve healthcare, mobility and smart city-living. It has partnered with local start-ups and research labs in universities such as Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Information mined from the new lab will help Allianz to make decisions on how to price its premiums and produce new insurance packages. The data may also help Allianz to identify possible fraud cases early through patterns in data analyses.

The lab will also be part of a global network of labs that Allianz already runs. It aims to pick up local innovations by Asian start-ups, enterprises and research institutes, and prepare them for the regional market.

"The Asia Lab will enable Allianz to redefine our customer proposition and address the evolving needs of Asian consumers," said Mr Sartorel.

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty said MAS had supported the new lab as it corresponds with MAS' goals.

These goals are to provide fundamental infrastructure for global firms, to encourage industries to build their own infrastructure, and to promote cyber security in the midst of this development.

A total of 10 technology specialists and data scientists will be working in the lab.

Allianz may also bring in researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The team has started on five projects so far, including a project which focuses on digital solutions for patients with chronic diseases.

The amount invested in the new lab was not disclosed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2016, with the headline 'Allianz launches Asia Lab to drive innovation'. Print Edition | Subscribe