Grab Expands Into Lending in Southeast Asia via New Venture

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Grab, the leading on-demand transportation and fintech platform in Southeast Asia, has announced a partnership with Chubb, the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, to offer insurance solutions for Grab's driver-partners.

Tan made the announcement at Money 20/20 Asia, which kicked off today in Singapore. The companies will also look to leverage data technology from Grab's platform such as telematics, machine learning and predictive analytics to offer personalised insurance solutions to the specific needs of the different driver-partners.

What's new with Grab Financial is the addition of loan and insurance services to individuals around in Southeast Asia.

It will be part of newly launched Grab Financial, which offers services ranging from payments to rewards and loyalty services, the firms said in a statement on Tuesday.

At the heart of the new company's offering is Grab's ability to gather and analyse alternative data points on consumer behaviour, which can be used to develop sophisticated credit and risk assessments. This will include providing working capital loans, financing for smartphones and durable goods, and consumer goods financing. "That's the reason we're doing it".

Ride-hailing service Grab is being heavily linked with a deal to buy out Uber's business in Southeast Asia, but those rumors aren't stopping it from building its fintech platform after announced a financial services unit.

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"Many in our region have no access to loans that they can use to purchase a new home or grow their small business".

Grab has partnered with Credit Saison, a Japan-based lending firm that is likely the country's biggest lender, with a worth of $3 billion and around 70 million credit cards in circulation. US-based insurer Chubb is also signed on as a partner. From working with governments, to taxi operators and financial institutions, Grab's open-market model is aimed at making transport and transactions safer, more affordable, and more reliable. It is also backed by some of the most powerful investors in the region, like SoftBank, China's Didi Chuxing, and Indonesia's Lippo Group, and can bring their vast resources to bear in its push into financial services.

Even though southeast Asia is one of the fastest-growing regions for smartphone adoption, only 27% of adults have a bank account.

A Google and Temasek study late last year forecast that Southeast Asia's internet economy would exceed US$200 billion by 2025, from an estimated US$50 billion this year.

Chubb Asia Pacific regional president Paul McNamee said, "We are delighted to work with a digital pioneer like Grab to protect their 2.6 million driver-partners".