People need security in their life, and insurance is seen as a major means of providing that. Technology and the internet have allowed the insurance sector to experiment with new business models. Among them is the rising robo-advisors.
Mintbao (薄荷保), an AI-enabled insurance firm, announced its first funding round with an investment of millions of dollars from BAI. The company offers intelligent insurance advisory services on mobile to help families and individuals make efficient, professional and wise decisions on insurance purchases.
People these days have increasingly awakened to the necessity of insurance, said Jennifer HU, CEO of Mintbao, but there are still doubts about traditional distribution channels and many are at a loss what insurance products they should choose. By bringing technology into the scene, Mintbao hopes to improve the existing insurance decision-making model, offer an alternative to traditional sales channels, and deliver brand-new insurance purchasing experience to the internet-savvy young generation.
Mintbao operates through its WeChat Official Account for now. Its robo-advisory system offers two kinds of services: “Intelligent Solutions” and “Intelligent Consulting.”
“Intelligent solutions” provides personalized, flexible and viable insurance and risk management solutions according to users’ family structures, income, debt, existing insurance protection, etc.
“Intelligent Consulting,” on the other hand, answers customers’ questions based on a database that contains information on nearly 10,000 insurance products customers are interested in, thus taking over the repetitive work previously done by humans and improving the efficiency of customer service.
The products Mintbao recommends include life insurance, critical illness insurance, health insurance and accident insurance, most of which are low-premium policies and can be purchased directly online. Mintbao focuses on advisory and recommendation services and doesn’t sell insurance itself. To give users more options, it’s cooperating with a dozen channels including insurance companies, brokers, as well as internet giants that customize insurance products.
Regarding customer acquisition, on the one hand, Mintbao advertises on online platforms like Zhihu (China’s equivalent to Quora) and WeChat to direct users to its consulting service; on the other, it cooperates with offline channels like mom and baby product stores and banks to launch targeted marketing campaigns. Sales commissions and consulting fee are its main sources of profit.
Mintbao has a team of nine currently. CEO Jennifer Hu had previously worked at foreign investment banks including UBS and Goldman Sachs. She later joined ZhongAn (众安保险) as assistant general manager in 2015, where she led the company’s IPO. LIN Changle, Mintbao’s chief scientist and the man behind the company’s robot-advisory system, had previously overseen the development of a robo-advisor for Merrill Lynch.
In the future, Mintbao expects to further enhance its ability to provide personalized solutions and, through its robo-advisory module, create detailed risk profiles for individuals and families so that it can help them draft financial plans for members’ retired life or children’s education, as well as other long-term financial protection needs.