EMPOWERING INSURANCE: Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO of Tapoly, on Breaking Glass Ceilings
EMPOWERING INSURANCE: Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO of Tapoly, on Breaking Glass Ceilings
Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, founder of Tapoly, Europe's pioneering on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, has broken through her fair share of glass ceilings. 

With her on-trend sense of style and keen eye for technology-driven business opportunities, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy is a far cry from the stuffy, starched suits of the incumbent insurance industry. But she is also the perfect example of an industry that is in transition – and one that is embracing a brighter, more diverse future.

As the first member of her family to go to university, founder and CEO of an award-winning insurtech, and now an author and thought leader in the space, change and challenge are two areas she excels in. 

Recognised by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Women Founders to Watch (ranking 6th), she’s also listed among the Insurtech Institute’s Top Ten InsurTech Influencers and Most Influential Women in Tech

Janthana’s new book, Navigating Insurtech: Opportunities and Challenges in Digital Insurance, which will be released on May 3rd, provides actionable advice for insurance firms aiming to integrate insurtech solutions, backed by authentic case studies, expert insights, and interviews with industry frontrunners.

Insurtech Insights caught up with her to find out more.

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Your story is very interesting, because you grew up in rural Thailand, and were the first member of your family to go to university. Could you tell us a little about your journey into the banking and then insurance industry, starting from that childhood in Thailand?

Growing up in rural Thailand provided a unique perspective on life, deeply rooted in the values of hard work and community. Being the first in my family to graduate from the university was not merely an achievement; it marked a transformational journey that paved the way for others within my larger family to do the same.

In my early years, the fear of lacking financial security drove me. This fear fueled my ambition and led to the accomplishments I have made today. Nowadays, my actions are guided by passion and a love for what I do, which includes adding value and solving problems within the industry and community I serve.

The transition from banking to insurance was a natural step in my mission to effect meaningful change.

Reflecting on my journey from a small village in Thailand to the insurance industry, I see it as a testament to the power of education, perseverance, and a willingness to embrace growth and change. It strengthens my resolve to use my position to advocate for accessible insurance products, aiming to bridge the insurance gap in underserved communities within the gig economy.


How and why did you come up with the idea of Tapoly? Was there an ‘Aha!’ moment when you realised the plan – and if so, can you tell me about that?

The “Aha!” moment that led to the creation of Tapoly came from a personal challenge I faced while trying to find insurance coverage for my Airbnb letting activities. I had entered the sharing economy as a host, eager to make the most of my property. However, I quickly realized that obtaining the appropriate insurance was far from straightforward. Traditional insurance policies were either too expensive or did not cover the specific risks associated with short-term rentals. I soon realized the flexible insurance coverage I needed simply didn’t exist.

I saw an opportunity to bridge this gap. The idea was to create a platform that offered flexible, on-demand insurance tailored specifically for the gig economy, including freelancers, and small business owners. This platform would not only provide the necessary coverage but also be accessible and affordable, aligning with the variable nature of gig economy earnings.

Drawing from my personal experience and leveraging my background in investment banking, I set out to develop Tapoly. The goal was clear: to offer a solution that caters to the unique insurance needs of the gig economy and beyond, making it easy for individuals and small businesses to get the protection they need without the traditional hassle and high costs.

This “Aha!” moment was not just about solving my own problem but about addressing a widespread challenge, signaling a shift towards more adaptable and user-friendly insurance services for the digital age.

What were the initial challenges you faced in setting up Tapoly (funding/talent/tech)?

Launching Tapoly came with significant hurdles, as we were among the first few insurtech companies to explore the concept of on-demand insurance, a novel idea that was difficult to sell to the traditional insurance industry and potential customers alike.

Convincing the Insurance Industry: The initial hurdle involved persuading established insurance players of the necessity and viability of on-demand insurance, and obtaining the capacity we needed wasn’t easy. The challenge lay in demonstrating not just the demand for such a solution but also its potential for profitability and risk management in a landscape that was rapidly evolving with technology and changing work patterns.

Scaling the Business: Parallel to the challenge of industry acceptance was the task of scaling our business in a market where customers were not only unaware of the concept but also of Tapoly’s existence. This made it hard to secure investment, as our value proposition was not well understood at the time. We had to build awareness from the ground up, convincing potential users of the value proposition and trustworthiness of a new insurance model and a new company, which required time, money, and a lot of effort.

What solutions to these issues have you found to be most effective?

Based on my experience, overcoming the challenges of launching Tapoly required significant investment and innovative thinking. Beyond financial investment, here are the key strategies we have deployed to get us through the hurdles.

Demonstrating Value to the Insurance Industry: Convincing traditional insurance companies about the benefits of on-demand insurance was crucial. We utilized data and case studies to showcase consumer demand, market trends, and the potential for new revenue streams that on-demand products could offer. By highlighting our technological capabilities and their effectiveness in risk mitigation, we secured the necessary capacity and partnerships.

Leveraging Technology for Scalability: To ensure our business could grow efficiently, we employed proprietary, cutting-edge technology to automate processes and manage costs. This strategy ensured our platform could support a growing user base without sacrificing service quality or facing significant extra costs.

Networking and Strategic Partnerships: Building strong relationships within the insurance and technology industries was key. Through participation in industry conferences, insurtech accelerators, and forming strategic partnerships, we increased our visibility, credibility, and access to essential resources.

How is Tapoly making use of AI?

At Tapoly, we predominantly use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to increase customer satisfaction, particularly in the following areas:

Customer Service and Support: Tapoly has developed AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants to provide immediate, 24/7 support to our users. These tools can handle a wide range of queries, from basic questions about policies and coverage to more complex issues requiring escalation.

Personalized Pricing: AI algorithms analyze customer data to offer personalized insurance products. This customization enhances customer satisfaction, as users receive recommendations that closely match their specific needs and circumstances.

Incorporating AI into our operations allows Tapoly to stay at the forefront of innovation in the insurance industry, offering sophisticated, user-friendly, and efficient insurance solutions that meet the evolving needs of the gig economy and beyond.

What’s your prediction for the gig economy and insurance offerings in 2024, given your immersion in the market right now?

Given the current trends and my understanding of the market, my prediction for the gig economy and insurance offerings in 2024 revolves around increased customization, technological integration, and regulatory evolution. Here’s a closer look at these predictions:

Increased Customisation: As the gig economy continues to grow, we’ll see a greater demand for personalised insurance products tailored to the specific needs of freelancers, contractors, and gig workers. Insurance offerings will need to be as flexible as the work arrangements they cover, with the ability to turn on and off coverage in sync with the gig worker’s schedule and projects. This customisation will extend beyond just pricing to include coverage types, terms, and conditions.

Technological Integration: Technology will play an even more critical role in the delivery and management of insurance for the gig economy. We’ll see the widespread adoption of AI and machine learning for risk assessment, pricing, and fraud detection, as outlined. Blockchain technology could also become more prevalent, providing transparency and efficiency in policy management and claims processing. Additionally, the use of IoT devices and telematics will offer insurers real-time data to create even more personalized insurance solutions.

Regulatory Evolution: As the gig economy expands, regulatory bodies will likely introduce new frameworks and guidelines to protect both gig workers and consumers. This could include mandates for gig economy platforms to offer or facilitate access to insurance for their workers, or new types of insurance policies specifically designed for the gig economy. Insurers and tech companies will need to work closely with regulators to ensure that these new products and services comply with evolving laws while still meeting the needs of gig workers.

In conclusion, the future of insurance in the gig economy in 2024 will likely be marked by more personalised, flexible, and technologically advanced offerings that are closely aligned with the unique needs of gig workers. This evolution will necessitate close collaboration between insurers, technology companies, gig economy platforms, and regulatory bodies.

What’s it like being a female CEO in today’s insurance industry?

Being a female CEO in today’s insurance industry means navigating a landscape filled with both distinct challenges and rewarding opportunities. The sector, known for its traditional, male-dominated hierarchy, especially in leadership positions, is steadily embracing inclusivity and the importance of diversity at all echelons.

Among the challenges are the persistent stereotypes and biases that can skew perceptions of a woman’s leadership capabilities. Achieving visibility and being taken seriously at networking events, conferences, and meetings pose additional hurdles. However, the presence of more women in leadership roles can catalyze change by challenging these norms and demonstrating the value of diverse representation. 

Overall, the role of a female CEO in the insurance industry is to steer through these challenges while capitalising on the opportunities to foster change, mentor the next generation, and introduce innovative perspectives to leadership and problem-solving.

If you could retake your journey into the insurance market today, would you change anything in your story?

It’s tempting to consider what might have been done differently with the benefit of hindsight.Yet, every step taken, decision made, and obstacle faced has crucially influenced both the direction of the business and my development as a leader. Despite the challenges encountered, the invaluable lessons learned through tackling the insurance industry’s complexities wouldn’t have me change a thing.

What inspires you in insurtech today?

The cultural shift towards a more inclusive and diverse environment is particularly exciting. This evolution not only fosters a broader range of perspectives and ideas but also enhances the creative problem-solving necessary to address complex challenges in insurance. Moreover, the opportunity to drive change within the insurance sector by introducing innovative solutions energizes me. 

Bringing innovation to the industry doesn’t just mean adopting new technologies; it’s about rethinking traditional models and making insurance more accessible, efficient, and tailored to individual needs. This potential to impact the industry positively, by leading it towards a more equitable and customer-focused future, is what truly inspires me in insurtech today.

Interview by Joanna England

Joanna England is an award-winning journalist and the Editor-in-Chief for Insurtech Insights. She has worked for 25 years in both the consumer and business space, and also spent 15 years in the Middle East, on national newspapers as well as leading events and lifestyle publications. Prior to Insurtech Insights, Joanna was the Editor-in-Chief for Fintech Magazine and Insurtech Digital. She was also listed by MPVR as one of the Top 30 journalist in Fintech and Insurtech in 2023.

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