Speaking of start-ups, many people imagine an unknown future or the risk of failure, and they are discouraged from acting on their dreams.
Fred Ngan is an actuary, an expert trained in the actuarial science of risk assessment. He understands the risks and uncertainties involved in entrepreneurship. Despite this background, Fred decided to charge headlong into establishing Bowtie, an insurance technology (InsurTech) company which subsequently became the first company to be issued a virtual insurance company license in Hong Kong.
Fred is no stranger to change. As a child, he attended five schools. He even tried holding back a grade and skipping a grade. He had moved 16 times within 10 years and worked in several cities before returning to Hong Kong from overseas. However, amid all these changes, what Fred yearned for the most was to own his own business.
As a certified actuary at the age of 25, Fred has spent years assessing available data to determine risks and to develop products and strategies – everything he dealt with was “already known”. With a start-up, however, he had to go from ideas and plans to discover. What would have been a broad and certain future became a gigantic “unknown”. Even so, Fred thought this choice that seemed opposite to everything he had worked for offered an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“Many friends asked if I had thought it through, if I had made the right calculations. But many people were too calculating, too rational, and they missed too many opportunities.”
Insurance is an industry with a long history. The business hires massive amounts of people to explain the complex terms and details of different insurance products to clients and to fill out lengthy forms and gather supplementary information. All this is behind the times in the digital age.
Recognising this industry pain point, Fred realised that it is only with technology that insurance procedures can be streamlined. It is also only with technology that the industry can be reinvented and insurance redefined. Having spent years in the insurance industry and witnessing the rapid growth in FinTech, Fred gave up his stable actuarial consultant job to pursue his childhood dream of entrepreneurship. He partnered with another actuary and founded Bowtie, which was awarded Hong Kong’s first virtual insurance company license by the Hong Kong Insurance Authority in December 2018.
“On uncertain entrepreneurial journeys, the Cyberport Entrepreneurship Programme has helped start-ups formulate their development plans and set them on a path to success.”
By participating in the Cyberport Creative Micro Fund and Incubation Programme, Fred obtained many valuable opportunities to showcase his business, even at international conferences. This has elevated Bowtie’s standing.
Bowtie will be releasing its flagship product during the first half of 2019. The product promises a fast, convenient, intermediary-free, and commission-free system that allows all the tedious insurance work – from taking out a policy and filing a claim to awaiting approval – to be performed entirely online. This innovation is set to open an insurance revolution and, because Fred took a chance and believed in himself and his company, Bowtie is positioned to lead this revolution.