Digital gamechangers in finance, insurance

is on the cusp of innovation in economic and financial sector development.

This was evident during the weekend of November 24 to 26, 2017 during the Karnival Kewangan . An effort by Bank Negara Malaysia, the carnival serves as a spot for financial and non-financial services both public and private to meet and peddle their good — specifically, financial and coverage.

During the three-day affair, it was highlighted that financial inclusion was still very much needed here in the state.

The good news is that in Sarawak, the figures are growing. According to Bank Negara Malaysia (), the network of agent banks here has increased to 632 agents from only 14 back in 2012.

Currently, basic banking services are available in almost 97 per cent of districts and to 99.7 per cent of people in the state.

This came as no surprise as Sarawak is the third largest state in Malaysia in terms of population, contributing to 10 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with the economic growth of the state expected to be sustained.

“The ‘Digital Sarawak’ initiative by the state government will encourage innovation in line with the incoming digital age developments,” commented Datuk Muhammad Ibrahim, BNM Governor.

“The mobile application Sarawak Pay, that was launched recently, will also transform the e-payment system landscape in the state. This application will allow the delivery of financial services to all districts to be more efficient and effective.”

Bridging Sarawak’s gap with digital products

Following this, Muhammad Ibrahim said a new initiative, “Perlindungan Tenang”, was launched during this carnival, whereby  insurance products that bear this logo will offer insurance plans that are affordable, easily understood and with a simple claims process.

“These products are designed to meet the needs of low-income households that are still not able to afford any insurance and Takaful protection,” he added in his opening speech.

“It is also targeted at the eight million working Malaysians and 700,000 micro-enterprises, potentially raising the coverage of insurance and Takaful in the country.

“In addition, these products will be marketed innovatively and widely through various channels, including mobile phones and the internet.”

This tallies with Bank Negara Malaysia’s focus, one of which is to ensure financial inclusion for all.

“Towards this, we are pleased that the delivery of financial services in Sarawak has widened to rural areas such as Telang Usan and Belaga,” he added. “Our initiatives to ensure agent banks serve throughout the state will continue so that no segment of society will be left out of the financial services framework.

“The late Chief Minister of Sarawak, Pehin Sri Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Dr) Adenan Satem once said, “We’ve tried our best to bring development to the rural areas but it’s not enough. We will do more.”

To support this aspiration, the BNM governor said strategic cooperation between relevant parties were established to launch Mini Karnival Kewangan programmes in areas that do not have adequate access to financial services.

The effectiveness of these Mini Karnival Kewangan programmes in rural areas have paved the way for improvements in the provision of quality financial services to meet the needs of the local community, such as additional ATM machines and mobile counters via customer service coaches, he said.

On the insurance front, other associations are making inroads to widen the access to insurance services in Sarawak in a more integrated manner.

This comes as Muhammad Ibrahim announced that Persatuan Insurans Am Malaysia (PIAM) and the Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) will formally establish their respective chapters in Sarawak.

“In addition to that, Bank Negara Malaysia supports the Government’s initiatives to enact the Residential Rental Act, announced at the recent 2018 Budget speech, to safeguard the rights of tenants and landlords,” he revealed.

“We are also working with Cagamas to increase the supply of houses for rent through innovative financing models for both tenants and developers.”

Eye on financial literacy levels

Inculcating a knowledge based culture to build financial literacy is the shared responsibility of consumers and the financial industry.

“With the necessary knowledge on financial management, we will be able to understand the risks and returns associated with financial products; practise long term sound financial planning and avoid falling victims to financial scams.

“To support financial literacy, Bank Negara Malaysia is collaborating with various parties to establish the Financial Education Network. A national level strategy will be formulated to improve financial literacy and the financial well-being of the rakyat.

“This national strategy will be targeted at all levels of society, from children to adults. A website will also be developed for people to obtain high quality information on financial education.”

This week, BizHive Weekly looks at three examples of such innovations and why they stand out from the bane of financial products:

AmBank offers Malaysia’s first Digital Auto Finance Instant Approval service

AmBank (M) Bhd (AmBank) is the pioneer bank to introduce Mobile Application Terminal (MAT), its latest innovation that provides Auto Finance Instant Approval in the Malaysian market.

This terminal allows users to submit applications, capture documents’ images as well as obtain immediate approval within 30 minutes if all required conditions are fully met.

“With the launch of MAT, we are hoping to strengthen our brand presence in the auto industry market by positioning AmBank as the “top-of-mind” brand amongst car buyers,” said Jade Lee, managing director of AmBank’s retail banking division.

“MAT will also offer a new level of customers’ experience, with car financing application are able to be performed at all convenience, anytime and anywhere,” added Lee.

Amongst the key features of MAT are:

1. It is embedded with biometric reader which allows customer to perform thumbprint verification.

2. It allows users to access EPF website for EPF i-Akaun information.

3. It is embedded with calculator to gauge with the estimated calculation of monthly instalment.

4. It is equipped with built-in camera to capture required documents upon submission.

5. It is equipped with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) capability – a software to capture info from documents such as Driving Licence, Vehicle Ownership Certificate (VOC), Registration Card, Business Card as well as Salary Slip and auto populate them at specific fields in the MAT.

MAT has been successfully deployed since July 1 last year to 138 AmBank Sales Advisors and has received more than 2,400 hire purchase applications via the terminal nationwide.

AmBank is aiming for 50 per cent of its car finance applications to come via its latest innovation, Mobile Application Terminal (MAT) within one year of its implementation.

Currently, the bank received 15,000 manually applications monthly, said group chief executive officer, Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir.

“We aim to strengthen our brand presence in the car industry market by positioning AmBank as the ‘top-of-mind’ brand among car buyers through MAT,” he told reporters after the official launch of MAT on November 27.

Sulaiman said MAT allowed users to submit loan applications, capture documents’ images as well as obtain immediate approval within 30 minutes if all required conditions were fully met.

“MAT will also offer a new level of customer’s experience, with car financing applications are able to be performed at all convenience,” he said.

He said MAT was embedded with biometric reader which allowed the customer to perform thumbprint verification.

It has also a calculator to estimate monthly instalment and generate e-forms with digital signature/s, he said.

On the hire purchase loan, Sulaiman said, the group was on track to achieve the full year (2017) target of mid-range single-digit growth.

“The intention is to grow all our customer finance in the areas that we want to grow and car finance is one of the segments we targeted,” he said, adding that AmBank’s car finance currently stand at 11 per cent.

This tallies with AmBank’s Digital Journey is about making banking an easy, simple and fast experience for its valued customers across all touch points; branches, telephone, machines, online, mobile or even right in their lifestyle-ecosystem wherever and whenever they need to perform a banking transaction.

The group is now accelerating the next phase of its digital capabilities with a Group-Wide digital roadmap that focuses on integrating its services into the daily lives of its customers in an innovative and practical manner.

Country sees first telco-assurance product with GOLIFE

In a move deemd game-changing by its chief executive officer, insurance provider Sun Life Malaysia partnered with local telco U Mobile to introduce their first telco-assurance product, GOLIFE during the Karnival Kewangan Sarawak.

Underwritten by Sun Life Malaysia and distributed by U Mobile, GOLIFE is the first of its kind because customers can apply, subscribe and manage their life microinsurance plans entirely via their mobile phones.

A mobile-based life microinsurance product, GOLIFE is the first product that came out of a memorandum of understanding that was signed in May this year by the two companies.

“Our business purpose is to provide lifetime financial security to more Malaysians and distributing insurance coverage via mobile devices allows us to reach more customers at lower cost, better targeting potential customers and engaging existing customers.

“It is also apt that we choose to introduce GOLIFE, which is also an affordable life microinsurance product in support of our government’s objective to achieve an insurance penetration rate of 75 per cent by 2020,” said Raymond Lew, Sun Life Malaysia’s chief executive officer and president/country head.

To note, Sun Life Malaysia  — Sun Life Malaysia Assurance Bha and Sun Life Malaysia Takaful Bhd — is a by Sun Life Financial Inc and Avicennia Capital Sdn Bhd, a fully owned Khazanah Nasional Bhd investment holding company specialising in insurance and takaful.

Sun Life Malaysia offers a comprehensive range of life insurance and Takaful products and services to Malaysians and is focused on helping customers achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives.

Sun Life Malaysia distributes its products through a range of distribution channels including bancassurance, agency, direct marketing, telemarketing and government and corporate business.

U Mobile was also excited for this partnership, said its chief executive officer, Wong Heang Tuck, as the telco continues to chase innovations to provide the best experience to our customers.

“As part of our continued efforts to give unlimited peace of mind, today, we are delighted to be able to launch the first life microinsurance with Sun Life Malaysia.

“I believe many people will be able to benefit from such a service as it convenient and extremely relevant,” said Wong.

Lew and Wong were both in Kuching for GOLIFE’s launch during the Karnival Kewangan Sarawak to share the significance and benefits of the product.

“GOLIFE is the first product to be rolled out and both are looking forward to launching similar products in the near future,”

The GOLIFE plan will be offered to select U Mobile postpaid customers for free as an introductory offer from November 24, 2017 until February 28, 2018.

From end- 2018, interested U Mobile customers can subscribe to GOLIFE from as low as RM5 a month or RM0.16 daily through the U Mobile Self Care Portal ( or MyUMobile app.

Several key benefits of this insurance product is its simple online registration and high affordability, with a pay-as-you-go concept with no fixed commitment.

It promises easy and  fast claims with submissions done online via web portal and taking five working days to process.

Introducing Malaysia’s digital insurance marketplace,

Another new mover and shaker is Malaysia’s digital insurance marketplace,, which was launched on Thursday to provide Malaysians with an innovative way to get insured in two minutes.

In conjunction with the launch, also announced its partnership with Tune Protect Malaysia, the first agency online retail portal of the General Insurance market in Malaysia. is an Insurtech start-up which encourages and helps users in finding and purchasing the best-fit insurance online through a fast and intuitive chatbot-like interface.

The partnership defines FatBerry’s and TuneProtect’s mission to empower consumers by providing an innovative digital purchase platform for insurance in this increasingly tech-savvy world.

The collaboration will kick start with Tune Protect’s personalised general insurance products offered on – namely Motor Insurance, Travel Insurance and PA Insurance.

“Our partnership will provide consumers with an easy-to-use online tool to understand and find the right insurance.

FatBerry’s technology platform is truly innovative, fast and user-friendly,” said the general manager of the Region Representative of Tune Protect Malaysia, Choo Hock Soon.

The launch was attended by FatBerry chief operating officer Martin Khu, chief executive officer Priscilla Lim, Tune Protect Malaysia chief executive officer Khoo Ai Lin as well representatives from both Tune Protect Malaysia and FatBerry.’s chatbot-like online interface provides consumers with choices of personalised insurance that is catered to their need within 2 minutes.

Consumers can subsequently decide and pick the insurance products of their choice to complete purchase online with various integrated payment options.

With the detariffication of the insurance industry in Malaysia since July 2017, FatBerry believes in providing transparency and options to consumers via its online interface that can help consumers make informed decisions.

The simple-to-navigate consumer dashboard also enables consumers to retrieve their quote and policies online easily.

“FatBerry believes in empowering end-to-end consumers to make effective decisions, by providing this platform of convenience that helps consumer to save time and money” said FatBerry Chief Executive Officer, Priscilla Lim.

FatBerry as a fintech startup believes that technology will play a major role in the financial ecosystem, with user behavior driving a new distribution channel for insurance products, particularly General Insurance.

FatBerry simplifies wealth management for consumers. Convey your needs and let the system propose the types of coverage most suitable for you, explained in a simple manner.

Visa-AKPK app lets you glimpse into your future

One in two Malaysians may not be financially ready by the time they retire — do you know which side you’re on? A new app by Visa and Visa and the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) might tell you just that.

The partnership between Visa-AKPK launched a new mobile app called Financial Insight that gives Malaysians a glimpse of how they look when they retire and whether they are saving sufficiently for their retirement.

This is the fifth year that these two corporations are collaborating to promote financial literacy in Malaysia.

Visa country manager for Malaysia, KB Ng said Visa Malaysia was happy to strengthen this partnership for the fifth year running in promoting financial literacy in Malaysia, which is aligned with the government’s efforts.

“Everyone knows it is important to save, but not many people know how much they need for retirement,” he said in a statement introducing the app.

“We hope that the introduction of the Financial Insight mobile app will enable Malaysians to understand the importance of saving regularly, and be aware of how much they should set aside each month so that they will be financially sufficient by the time they retire.”

The Financial Insight mobile app was created for Malaysians after a pre-assessment on financial literacy was conducted by Visa and AKPK on 1,000 Malaysians.

The survey showed that more than 55 per cent of Malaysians do not agree that they would be financially ready by their retirement age. The Visa AKPK study also highlighted that one in five Malaysians save less than 10 per cent of their monthly salaries even though nine out of 10 Malaysians set aside monthly savings.

The Financial Insight mobile app allows Malaysians to take a photo of themselves, and answer questions such as how much they are setting aside for savings each month, how much they hope to retire with, and what age they hope to retire.

Based on the individuals’ inputs when they answer questions generated by the app, the app will tabulate the calculations and show Malaysians an image of themselves upon retirement and whether they are sufficiently prepared for retirement.

The app also provide tips on what Malaysians need to do if the results indidcate a poor outlook on their retirement.

“It has always been our aspiration to become a household name in promoting financial wellness,” added Azaddin Ngah Tasir, chief executive officer for AKPK. “We now act as catalyst to inspire and empower people to engage with their finances and start their own journeys.

“Our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to Visa for this fifth successful year of strategic and successful collaboration for championing this noble cause in the interest of Malaysians.”

The Financial Insight will be available for Malaysians to download from the app stores for iOS and Android users in mid December. Weekly prizes including movie vouchers and a grand prize of RM5,000 will also be given to participants who use this mobile app.

AKPK’s vision is to create a society that is financially savvy. We want to be recognised as the trusted provider of financial education to adult consumers and continue to promote financial prudence.

To achieve this, the agency’s mission is to Make Prudent Financial Management A Way of Life by empowering Malaysians through consumer financial education, financial counselling and debt management programmes to enable them to regain control of their finances.

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Source: Borneo Post Online

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