Southeast Asian fintech startup Jirnexu, the region’s only full stack fintech solutions provider for financial service institutions, has been approved by Malaysia’s central bank to compare, sell, process payments and issue e-policies for insurance products.

Jirnexu is the first company in Malaysia permitted to sell selected general and life insurance products from multiple providers, and the first to build a dedicated e-commerce marketplace for insurance.

Receiving approval to join Malaysia’s Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Financial Technology Regulatory Sandbox, which allows participants to introduce innovative fintech services and products, Jirnexu will soon begin transacting term life and motor insurance directly on their financial comparison site

Jirnexu Director of Insurance Lucas Ooi said they are excited that Bank Negara has entrusted Jirnexu to drive the fast-growing consumer adoption of digital insurance.

"We will work closely with our stakeholders to build Malaysia’s first e-commerce marketplace and offer a more comprehensive suite of insurance products—starting with term life and motor insurance.

"Our most recent investment round will play a significant role in developing the technology for Malaysians to search and obtain their insurance from a single platform in a matter of minutes,” he said.

He added that general insurance premiums reached RM17 billion in 2016 while new business premiums in life insurance grew to RM9.75 billion.

"Following our success working with banks to innovate new solutions such as RHB’s recent introduction of Southeast Asia’s first chatbot for processing personal loans online, our proprietary technology continues to raise the bar for the financial service industry.

"We are already working with insurers such as Zurich, Etiqa and UforLife to integrate our technology with their platforms, helping them reach the fast-growing, underserved market of digital consumers,” said Ooi.

Meanwhile, Mukesh Dhawan, General Manager of Life Insurance at Zurich Insurance Malaysia Berhad, said the firm has been partners with Jirnexu for more than a year and their partnership has proven to be very valuable.

"With Jirnexu now as a participant of the Sandbox, we are confident that we can play a greater role in getting more Malaysians insured.

"Zurich is in a unique position to offer a full range of Insurance and Takaful solutions,” he said.

BNM introduced the fintech regulatory Sandbox framework last October to support innovation that improves the quality, efficiency and accessibility of financial services in the country.

For the first time earlier this year, startups that offer services ranging from insurtech to remittance and money exchange were admitted to the Sandbox.

According to BNM, Malaysia’s life insurance penetration rate has remained stagnant over the past five years.

According to Swiss Re data, insurance penetration rates across ASEAN stood at just over three per cent in 2015, well below the global average of six per cent.

Commenting on the latest development, UforLife General Manager Kenny Thing said, through its partnership, Jirnexu has helped UforLife underwrite more than RM140 million of sum assured to date, on track to represent a four-fold increase from 2016.

"I have no doubt that through the Sandbox, Jirnexu will be a significant force in accelerating the growth of life protection levels in Malaysia,” he said.

Etiqa Insurance and Takaful Chief Strategy Officer Chris Eng said, being able to integrate its system with Jirnexu's technology and better adopt automation will enable the company to improve the accessibility of digital insurance to Malaysians.

"We are excited to see how Etiqa and RinggitPlus can collaborate to deliver market leading customer experience,” he added.

Jirnexu provides a proprietary full stack technology, XpressApply, for financial service institutions to manage every stage of the customer acquisition and lifecycle management journey—marketing, acquisition, fulfilment and retention.

XpressApply powers Jirnexu’s online financial aggregators RinggitPlus in Malaysia and KreditGoGo in Indonesia.

The company aims to be the Amazon of financial products by providing consumers with greater choice and convenience to purchase financial and insurance products anytime, anywhere and on any digital device.