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Cathay Financial sets eyes on four overseas startups to future proof its business


Cathay Financial has recently expressed interest in incorporating four services from its startup program into its operations.

Last year, the financial holding company partnered with Ping An Technology to establish a startup-oriented program called Cathay Financial Innovation Lab. It offers funding, operational assistance, mentorship, a demo day, and ultimately a chance to collaborate with the two finance giants to companies worldwide, focusing on Fintech, InsurTech, RegTech, Property Tech, and AI solutions.

Out of 400 candidates, nine startups were selected and went through six prooves of concept testing this year. Cathay Financial laid eyes on four of them.

David Sun, senior executive and vice president at Cathay Financial, said the company aims to catch up with global trends and enhance its competitive edge through a partnership with startups.

Accelerating underwriting process

First, South Korean medical AI startup Lunit is likely to partner with Cathay Financial, helping its subsidiary Cathay Life Insurance accelerate the underwriting process.

Lunit, an abbreviation for "learning unit", is best known for the precision of reading mammograms. Its accuracy has reached 97% or above. The algorithm can identify breast cancer and major lung diseases.

At Cathay Life Insurance, medical professionals receive about 30,000 requests for mammogram analysis solely for the use of underwriting every year. Lunit's diagnostic accuracy in processing medical imaging data assists the company's radiologists in identifying potential diseases of a life insurance applicant. It saves the doctor's time and increases the efficiency of its underwriting process.

It's Cathay Financial's long-term plan to cooperate with startups for POC.
Cathay Financial

Simplifying claims process

Another potential partner of Cathay Financial is ClearQuote, an Indian startup that simplifies how the company processes car insurance claims.

With a photo or screenshot of a video, the startup's app, based on computer vision and deep learning technologies, identifies and assesses the damages on cars after accidents or collisions, from scratches, dents, to bumper tears. This can help Cathay Financial quickly settle insurance claims without sending people to inspect the damages.

In India, ClearQuote also helps companies make underwriting decisions by offering a standardized auto repair quotation based on the assessment report and repairing services.

Making better investments

Amenity Analytics, a text analytics and mining startup based in the US, is also likely to partner with Cathay Financial's global investment branch.
The company offers a product that identifies emotion, key messages, and disinformation in text and audio through natural language processing (NLP).

For Cathay Financial, the analytic tool can dissect investors' word choice and evaluate their tone to the extent that it can sense any negative sentiment such as crash alerts despite positive words and sentences.

The holding company plans to use this technology to manage its global investment portfolio, said San. But since the service is now only available in English, it still needs to be trained on Mandarin language datasets before its launch in Taiwan.

Safeguarding privacy in virtual banking

Cathay United Bank's virtual banking service KOKO plans to collaborate with BehavioSec to safeguard its online login processes from identity thieves.

The US-based behavioral biometrics startup develops a technology that learns users' login habits, such as typing speed, keystroke rhythm, and swipe motions, to build an authentication mechanism for identifying the right user. This also eliminates two-factor authentication and hence improves the overall users' digital experience.

Their model's accuracy is over 80%, and Cathay United Bank plans to use it to detect fraudulent threats in its banking apps.