The way of banking is changing around the globe and FinTech or financial technology companies have played a huge role in this. These companies have been instrumental in providing banking, financial, and insurance technology services to every corner of the globe with their innovations. One Two One Advisor Sdn. Bhd. (121 Advisor) is one of the biggest FinTech & InsurTech companies that is accelerating the digital revolution with its cutting-edge technology offerings.
In a conversation with Mr. Kevin Steer, CEO of 121Advisor, we discussed the current industry scenario and how 121Advisor is transforming its client’s businesses.
Brief us about 121Advisor.
One Two One Advisor Sdn. Bhd. (121Advisor) was established in 1990 to deliver FinTech & InsurTech solutions. We have implemented solutions for Referral Management (for banks), Direct Online Sales for Insurance & Takaful with the auto-underwriting module, Mobile Points of Sales, Enterprise Product Configurator, Website development with marketing automation, Customer Service Portals, Claims Management Solutions, Agency Management solutions to compute commissions based on N-Tier hierarchy, Multi-lingual Chatbots with Robo Advisors, Predictive Analytics with Machine Learning & Community Knowledge Solutions.
We Don’t Follow Trends, We pioneer them.
What were the initial challenges you faced?
When we started in 1990, we struggled to find banks & insurers. However, by 1992 we got customers and delivered our solutions on time.
Which was that point that triggered the growth of 121Advisor?
In 1992 we designed and delivered several solutions to Banks, Insurers & Takaful Operators. Which triggered our growth.
What is the reason behind 121Advisor’s long-standing success?
121Advisor has grown significantly over the past 10 years gaining customers where we continue supporting them.
What are the products/services 121Advisor focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?
121Advisor’s products & services are integrated into ‘Customer First Connected Enterprise Digital Framework’. This enables us to create personas for targeted marketing, we can set up Persona rules to auto-match and trigger RPA processes for marketing automation to reduce costs. Also, we can create blogs that are used in targeted marketing with associated product recommendations. Some of our services include:
Predictive Analytics with Machine Learning:
Using this for predicting new products to buy, churns & lapsation, underwriting, etc.
- Multi-lingual Chatbot for Financial, Insurance & Takaful (FITbot): Multi-lingual Robo Advisor and a chatbot that utilizes hybrid trees and natural language processing (NLP) to engage with customers to offer a more personalized customer experience and generate more referrals.
- Web Portal Solution for Sales & Servicing (WebPoS): Multi-lingual mobile responsive website and portal solution to enable clients to experience a unified personalized digital experience where content, sales, marketing, and work management are consolidated instead of siloed.
- Referral Management & Marketing Automation (ReMMA): Used for banks to effectively and efficiently auto-assign leads, tracks, and manages lead referrals and conversions based on user-defined workflows. Marketing automation results in personalized content delivery targeted campaigns and engagement.
- Sales Activity Mobile App (SAMA): Allows agents to effectively plan and manage sales activity to ensure all leads and prospects are addressed. Managers can monitor real-time to render assistance where necessary.
- Community & E-worksite Marketing & Distribution (CeMD): Community portal solution allows organizations to engage with members of their community to nurture trust and create advocates thereby improving customer retention. Recently launched u12know knowledge portal.
- Enterprise Product Configurator (EPC): Reduce the time to market for insurance and takaful products. Built to rapidly setup product rates, illustrations, validation engine as well as an automated testing module allows quick product deployment.
- Multi-channel Distribution Management Solution (McDMS): For general agencies, IFAs, brokers, ALCs to simplify operations by consolidating their diverse requirements. With built-in performance management and compensation computation, our clients have seen improved sales with reduced administration costs.
Mobile Point of Sales Apps (TIMMS)
Mobile Point of Sales Apps for iOS, android & desktops, for Insurance & Takaful solutions, including Contact Management, Quotation & Submission of proposals online.
- Choices Online Store (COS) solution: Allows insurers and takaful operators to provide direct purchase of products online. Allows insurers and takaful operators to provide direct purchase of products online. Can integrate with Multi-lingual Chatbot for Financial Insurance & Takaful (FITbot) robo-advisor services as well as referrals via Referral Management & Marketing Automation (ReMMA).
- Customer Self-Service Portal (CSSP) solution: Reduces operating cost by enabling the customer to view their detailed information in terms of profile, policies and contracts purchased online, make renewal payment, submit service requests, seek information, or file a complaint.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented global challenge that no one could have predicted. While there were a lot of companies hitting troubled times, there have also been those doing very well during the pandemic.
How do you decide to take 121Advisor a step further in terms of your products/services?
121Advisor recently Launched a knowledge portal www.u12know.com in Malaysia in September 2020, where we are onboarding users, we now have 4,000 users.
121Advisor, wants to improve the financial literacy and personal wellness for southeast Asian millennials, by providing an online community portal known as u12know.com, where community members can self-educate on various financial and wellness topics, seek opinions & professional advice from community members & Independent Financial Advisors and finally purchase products or services if they so choose. This will be rolled out to multiple countries in South East Asia with multi-lingual translations for each country.
The portal consists of 3 components:
- Providing Financial Advice for each lifestyle (e.g. cost of getting married, how much to have a child, child education, medical & critical illness planning).
- My Business providing advice on corporate loans, employee benefits, product liability, director protection.
- Health & Wellness providing health calculators with a ‘Total Health Score’ to assess a person’s wellness (healthy, unhealthy, at risk).
Is there any new addition to the list of products/services? Anything exciting you would like to share?
The launch of u12know in Malaysia, that will be rolled out to multiple countries in South East Asia with multi-lingual translations for each country.
Can you please brief us about your professional experience?
Kevin Guy Steer is CEO of 121Advisor providing FinTech & InsurTech responsive mobile sales, distribution solutions, and services for Insurance, Takaful, and Banking. For the past 20 years, he has been involved design and implementation of innovative IT solutions in the Asia Pacific Region including Malaysia, India & China, delivering highly scalable multi-lingual enterprise solutions.
Mr. Steer holds a Bachelor of Arts Engineering degree, a Master of Arts (Electrical Sciences) degree from Cambridge University UK, and a Master of Science (Computing) degree from Imperial College, London, United Kingdom.
Kevin Steer joined Artificial Intelligence Ltd, UK in 1988 as a Research Engineer working on massively parallel Artificial Intelligence applications. He played a major role as a Consultant with Strand Software Inc, US, Oregon Advanced Computing Institute in the US and was appointed as a consultant to Boeing Aerospace Inc, US (1989 –1990).
What are the key achievements of your entrepreneurial journey?
- Focus has been on Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
- 20 years in Insurance, Takaful, and Banking, design, and implementation of innovative IT solutions in the Asia Pacific Region including Malaysia, India & China.
- Launched 121Advisor in 1990.
According to you, how has the Insurance sector changed over the years?
With the current Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen many Insurers & Takaful Operators move towards digital solutions for customers. This has included the sale of online products with eKYC (Know Your Customer). As well as, the introduction of AI solutions using predictive analytics for new products to target customers, lapsation, AI-based underwriting; AI-based fraudulent claims analysis, Know Your Customer (eKYC). Also, the introduction of ChatBots & Robo Advisors as well as Robotic Process Automation.
How do you look after your employees? What makes your team unique?
As a ‘techie’ Kevin works with his team to help them understand the Banking & Insurance processes, and help them in the design of data models. The team has a great understanding of financial services & insurance processes so that they can implement new solutions. 121Advisor has a great team including 45 people. We do both online cloud services as well as mobile app development. Our team understands Personas and how to trigger Marketing Automation workflows.
Is there any special experience with your clients you would like to highlight?
Our Clients are happy with our services, as we keep introducing new modules. Especially our newly launched u12know solution, where we will be discussing with Banks, Insurers, Takaful to onboard them for direct selling online.
One person who you admire the most?
I admire the FinTech Global teams, along with new FinTech & InsurTech start-ups
Constant vigilance- a need or a strategy? Please share your views.
121Advisor has always looked for a new solution to offer to Banks, Insurers & Takaful Operators, we are constantly monitoring new InsurTech start-ups on the solutions they provide. Based on this we can develop new modules.
It’s a rat race out there. How do you cope with that?
Yes, it is a rat race out there. We keep monitoring new start-ups to see what they are offering to customers and then come out with new modules.