Tune Protect seeks interest in Vietnam-based insurance firm

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by TMR FILE PIX

TUNE Protect Group Bhd has been in talks with a Vietnam-based insurance company to pursue a partnership, in line with its plan to increase the portfolio in the insurance technology (insurtech) segment.

Tune Protect CEO Khoo Ai Lin (picture) said the stake acquisition is expected to be completed by year-end.

“We want to make sure the company we are looking at is aligned with our business direction. We are not in a rush, although we are a little bit under pressure.

“We don’t want to look at this company just as a vendor. In fact, we have been discussing and it is now close to be completed,” she told reporters at the group’s AGM in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The insurer had partnered with Indonesia’s PT Asuransi Buana Independent and Association of Indonesian Tours and Travel Agencies East Java to distribute travel insurance through an integrated business-to-business online platform.

Recently, the group acquired 9.9% of equities in a UK-based insurtech start-up, Laka Ltd, for RM2.64 million to widen its distribution in the digital platform.

Khoo also said the group had embarked on its strategic plan, which is expected to increase Tune Protect’s policyholders to 42 million by 2022.

“The strategic plan, named GAIN, is a three- to five-year plan. It will take time in terms of heightening our capabilities.

“Our aspiration is to get about 42 million policies within three years. Currently, we are doing about 10 million policies each year. It is supposed to gradually increase to 14 million over the period.”

Meanwhile, Tune Protect corporate development and investor relations head Koot Chiew Ling said the group is expected to contribute 4% to revenue growth through the “dynamic pricing” mechanism that was introduced via AirAsia online platform.

“We have seen a good traction when we launched the mechanism in January. According to the indication, we are on track to achieve the target.

“It has been rolled out to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia which are the four largest market of AirAsia,” she said, adding that the group does not discount the possibility to introduce the mechanism in its other airline partners.

Dynamic pricing is a mechanism to determine the targeted audience portfolio that able to customise travel insurance packages according to the travellers.

Tune Protect is collaborating with several airlines — namely AirAsia Group, the Phillipines’ Cebu Pacific Inc and an Emirati low-cost airline Air Arabia — to distribute its travel insurance.

On its voluntary separation scheme (VSS) exercise, Khoo said the group is unlikely to shed more employees in 2019.

“We have offered the VSS last year because we are moving towards a digital space and have been adopting automated processes. For now, I think we are good,” she said.

Tune Protect completed its VSS exercise with RM4 million in payout to 58 successful applicants in December last year. The reduction involved 15% of the unit’s permanent workforce at its 83.3%owned subsidiary, Tune Insurance Malaysia Bhd.

Yesterday, Tune Protect’s share price closed two sen or 3% higher to 68 sen with a market capitalisation of RM551.2 million.