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Warburg Pincus to invest $350M to set up Southeast Asia digital insurance firm

JOHN SCHNOBRICH-UNSPLASH

SINGAPORE — Warburg Pincus LCC is investing $350 million to set up a Southeast Asian digital general insurance platform called Oona Insurance, marking the US-based private equity firm’s largest investment in the insurance sector in Asia.

Warburg Pincus is partnering with Abhishek Bhatia, a former group chief officer of Asian insurance company FWD Group’s new business models unit, to set up the new business, the buyout firm said in a statement on Thursday.

The private equity firm is one of the largest in Southeast Asia, having invested nearly $3.5 billion in 17 companies in the region since 2013. Headquartered in New York, it has more than $85 billion in assets under management, according to the statement.

Warburg Pincus said Oona comprises its insurance assets — Indonesia’s PT Asuransi Bina Dana Arta Tbk and Philippines’ Mapfre Insular Insurance Corp. — which will give the platform an immediate foothold in Southeast Asia to build business and scale up.

“With consistently rising incomes and accelerating digital adoption, we believe Oona is well positioned to capture the tremendous growth opportunity for digital insurance across Southeast Asia,” Saurabh Agarwal, Managing Director at Warburg Pincus, said in the statement.

The two assets, which will be rebranded as Oona, will provide the digital insurance platform with an initial product portfolio including motor, property and group health insurance, according to Warburg Pincus.

Oona plans to introduce new products such as travel, health and others that are emerging on the back of increasing adoption of internet, e-commerce and digital payments in Southeast Asia, Warburg Pincus added.

“General insurance is a significantly underpenetrated industry in the region and a sector that’s ripe for digital disruption,” Mr. Bhatia, Oona’s group CEO, said.

“All the assets and operations will be consolidated under a coherent operating model and a common brand and tech stack, positioning us well to capture the rapidly growing opportunities for digital general insurance in the region,” he added. — Reuters

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