Ramallah-(BNEWS)- Palestine has launched a regional competition for insurance technology through the Palestine Capital Market Authority (PCMA) in partnership with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and sponsored by the Palestinian Insurance Federation (PIF).
PCMA – the regulator for non-banking financial sectors in Palestine – has also partnered with the open innovation firm Fintech Galaxy to power the first PCMA Insurtech Wizard Hackathon and Insurtech Wizard Challenge, which will be hosted on the PCMA Ebtaker platform.
The strategic partnership between the PCMA and Fintech Galaxy provides a modern sandbox environment for the realization of inclusive digital insurance solutions in Palestine – a market currently dominated by ten insurance companies, including two that provide Takaful insurance services.
As the regulator for non-banking financial sectors in Palestine, the PCMA has developed its own regulatory fintech innovation hub, the Ebtaker platform. The first of its kind in the Arab region, it encourages and guides inclusive and sustainable fintech and Insurtech innovations for the non-banking financial sector.
Hosted through Ebtaker, the Hackathon and Challenge both aim to facilitate the innovation of new and mature digital solutions capable of driving market development for inclusive insurance products and improving access to and understanding of insurance products for MSME and low-income customers in Palestine.
Some of the challenges of the Palestinian insurance sector include low levels of insurance literacy, mistrust and a lack of inclusive products. Consequently, growth rates are stagnant, and businesses across the country often remains without insurance protection. Insurance technologies can play a critical enabling role in realizing the potential through better underwriting and automatization as well as improving the customer experience and easing access.
For the Insurtech Wizard Challenge, entrants must be mature regional or global, enterprise-ready Insurtech or Tech Firms with solutions that enhance access to insurance products and services through innovative distribution channels. Solutions should specifically target new segments like MSMEs in high-growth areas such as agribusinesses and female-led SMEs or low-income customers.
The winner of the Challenge will be granted $5,000 and the opportunity to cooperate with one of the insurance players in the Palestinian insurance market on a proof of concept of their solution.
The Insurtech Wizard Hackathon provides entrants with two themes, or ‘Problem Statements’, each attracting a prize of $5,000. Applicants should be idea-stage start-ups in teams of between two and five. They can build on existing products but must exhibit a clear and well-defined genuine innovation or enhancement.
The first theme, ‘Creating Access to Inclusive Insurance and Insurance Literacy’, points toward a lack of innovative solutions for MSMEs and low-income customers, many of whom lack awareness and knowledge of the importance of insurance. Submissions should provide a solution to driving market development either through better data gathering or analysis to improve adequate risk pricing and therefore affordability or decrease administrative burdens when engaging with insurance providers to increase inclusion for non-insured SMEs and low-income customers.
The second Hackathon theme - ‘Improving the Customer Experience’ – states that the complexity and uncertainties regarding insurance policies and claims management contribute to low levels of trust and therefore stagnant consumer demand. Submissions should facilitate easy access of potential policyholders to material information, their rights and obligations; help customers and insurers track complaint and claim management processes and utilize AI and machine learning tools to increase the operational efficiency of managing customer complaint processes.
For his part, Mr. Barraq Al Nabulsi, General Director of PCMA, said: “This competition comes in the context of the Authority's five-year strategy (2021-2025), which aims to enhance the uses of financial technology in the non-banking financial sectors. At the beginning of 2021, the Authority launched its “Innovate” platform, which is the first-of-its-kind in the Arab region to encourage and direct comprehensive and sustainable innovations in the financial technology sector and insurance technology in the non-banking financial sector.”
Al Nabulsi added: “The regional and international focus of this competition is intended to help with the stability of the insurance market in Palestine and its ability to attract initiatives and innovative ideas to invest in Palestine, while also ensuring the availability of an incubating and supportive environment for owners of companies and innovations to come to Palestine.”
The platform forms part of the PCMA’s broader strategy to identify and highlight the opportunities available in the Palestinian insurance market, consequently attracting new innovations and enriching the local environment.
Commenting on the vital contribution that the PCMA Challenge and Hackathon will make, Ms. Mirna Sleiman, CEO & founder of Fintech Galaxy, commented: “Utilizing its Ebtaker platform, the PCMA’s Insurtech Wizard Hackathon and Innovation challenges will help leverage innovative insurtech solutions to accelerate Palestine’s transformation towards an inclusive, AI-powered digital economy. A robust, competitive and inclusive insurance sector is vital for the protection of businesses of all shapes and sizes – and an essential economic enabler in a country where insurance already contributes 2% of national GDP.”