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Start-ups convince in Japan with innovation

Start-ups convince in Japan with innovation

Tokyo (SCCIJ) – Two start-ups based in Switzerland or owned by a Swiss company are making inroads in the Japanese market. Scandit AG, a Swiss provider of a mobile computer vision software, issued a license to Hitachi Solutions. And a young Zurich Insurance subsidiary in Japan partnered with justInCase Inc., Japan’s first insurtech start-up, to sell an innovative peer-to-peer insurance policy.

Start-ups convince in Japan with innovation

Barcode scanner of Scandit in the field (© Scandit)

Improving logistics efficiency

Hitachi Solutions provides a “field business information sharing system” mainly to manufacturing and social infrastructure companies that links field and office information. Smart glasses for remote support, tablet terminals for daily work report creation, and manual search improve the efficiency of field operations. To further promote digital transformation in this field business, Hitachi Solutions will integrate the Scandit software into its system. Sales will begin on March 3, Hitachi Solutions said in a statement.

The Swiss application for smartphones and tablets identifies and reads barcodes and QR codes with high precision, speed, and efficiency. The data source can vary from product or delivery details to flight information, stock counts, or patient verification. A group of researchers from MIT, ETH Zurich, and IBM Research founded Scandit, headquartered in Zurich, in 2009. Its mobile image processing utilizes cloud-computing, the ‘Internet of Things,’ and an augmented reality technology (video). Even if the code label is dirty or torn, the software reads it with a high recognition rate. The agreement with Hitachi Solutions is its first such deal in Japan.

Start-ups convince in Japan with innovation

The smartphone site image of Rikan Insurance (© Zurich Insurance)

First “social insurance” in Japan

Separately, Zurich Insurance began offering the first peer-to-peer (P2P) insurance in Japan. Its Japan subsidiary Zurich Small-Amount Short-Term Insurance based in Tokyo cooperated with justInCase Co., Ltd. They launched a website on January 30 to sell insurance against cancer called Rikan Insurance on the principle of “social insurance.”

In peer-to-peer insurance, individuals pool their premiums together to insure against a risk. In contrast, the insurer in the traditional business model keeps the premiums that it doesn’t pay out in claims. Rikan Insurance promises a payment of 800,000 yen for cancer diagnosis. It calculates the total amount of insurance money for all policyholders monthly and adds a certain administrative fee. The amount is divided by the number of policyholders at that time to calculate the insurance premiums. JustInCase collects them afterward.

The Financial Services Agency has certified the sales of Rikan Insurance as a demonstration experiment (a so-called regulatory sandbox system) based on the Act on Special Measures for Productivity Improvement. Zurich Small-Amount Short-Term Insurance wants to pursue the potential of P2P insurance in Japan and develop new products.

Zurich Insurance Company Ltd had acquired a 100% stake in Life Support Japan Small Amount and Short Term Insurance and renamed it as Zurich Small Amount and Short Term Insurance Ltd in October 2018. The parent company was founded in 1986 in Japan, as part of Zurich Insurance Group. It offers a wide variety of insurance products and services to its individual.

Text: SCCIJ based on press material

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