The Hong Kong Insurance Authority (IA) has awarded a virtual insurance licence to OneDegree Hong Kong.

The licence will allow the company to offer non-life insurance directly to consumers via an online-only platform.

Founded by a former JP Morgan banker in 2016, OneDegree has been granted the licence under the regulator’s Fast Track programme.

The regulator introduced this scheme in 2017 to advance the development of insurance technology company in Hong Kong.

OneDegree is financially backed by investors like BitRock Capital and Cathay Venture.

It has now become the third online-only insurance company since the Hong Kong regulator started granting such licences in late 2017.

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The online pet insurer said that it will soon be rolling out a wide array of products.

The company’s first product will be pet insurance. The company also intends to launch health and cyber insurance offerings, among others.

OneDegree CEO Arthur Lee said:   “We can respond much faster to new trends and changes in consumer demands, compared with our peers.

“Our cost-efficient model also allows us to create innovative products to address protection gaps in the market – pet insurance being one example. Ultimately, consumers will be the biggest beneficiary of digital transformation as technology brings more convenience and choices.”

OneDegree co-founder Alex Leung said: “We’ve seen how technology has disrupted big industries from obility to communication, and that transformation is happening in insurance right now.

“At OneDegree, we recognised this emerging trend early on and since 2016, we have been working to build our technology and ecosystems to offer a more integrated user experience.”