According to The Australian Financial Review, Japanese insurance giant Sompo says it is in talks with ASX-listed insurer Suncorp about forming an alliance after the pair became co-investors in a US insurance tech start-up.
Japan's third-largest property and casualty insurer has a market value of $12 billion. Chief digital officer Koichi Narasaki told The Australian Financial Review that the two insurers were working towards a formal partnership due to a common interest in digital innovation.
"[In January] we had some very good discussions and a mutual meeting about digital with the [Suncorp] executives. We don't have any conflicts or other issues because our franchises never overlap, so we can share our insights, our technologies and our ideas," Mr Narasaki said.
"We are working on an alliance ... a joint field trial."
The visits to Sydney were becoming a "semi-regular" event for Mr Narasaki and his team. He said they were interested to hear about the success Suncorp was having with the San Francisco-based, on-demand insurance app Trov.
In April this year the Suncorp-backed Trov closed a $US45 million ($59.44 billion) Series D funding round which brought its total funding to $US85 million.
The Trov app has been billed as Tinder for insurance and allows users to turn coverage off or on for items such as iPhone, camera equipment and laptops. The lucrative Millennial market is its focus.
Sompo lead the round with reinsurer Munich Re. At the same time Sompo acquired the exclusive rights to bring Trov to Japan and potentially other parts of Asia.
Mr Narasaki said Sompo was waiting to clear regulatory hurdles before it could officially launch the app in Japan, which will fill a gap in its offering.
"We will target the Millennial generation specifically in Tokyo. They are in their 20s, they don't need a car, and don't need auto insurance," he said.
"They don't even own their own apartments. They just rent, so the home owners' insurance doesn't work for them."
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