GoBear: Friendly bear helps with personal finances
For us, comparing insurances is a common concept, but the market is wide open in Southeast Asia. Four years ago, GoBear, a joint venture of Aegon and Walvis Participaties, jumped at the opportunity to fill the market gap. It’s been a great success; this year, more than 30 million consumers from seven countries will use the personal finance meta search engine.
André Hesselink, its CEO, came up with the idea for GoBear. He wanted to make it easier for people to find and compare bank and insurance products. Hesselink had connections with BCD Holding, whose investment arm, Walvis Participaties, was in talks with Aegon about the concept. After a feasibility study, they determined that Asia was a suitable market due to its fast-growing Internet penetration and middle class population.
In August of 2014, Aegon and Walvis set up a joint venture and developed GoBear as a meta search engine for car and travel insurance. Its first market was Singapore, which officially launched in March 2015, followed by Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Vietnam. Last year, GoBear added new product categories, such as health insurance, credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, deposits and savings accounts, which were added last week. “We have just completed a soft launch in Indonesia and will officially start there at the end of August,” says Ivonne Bojoh, GoBear’s Chief Experience Officer.
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