LINE: Japan’s communications app

_63596900_japan7Arguably, one the most popular apps used in Japan is LINE. This app became available in June 2011 and by January 2013, boasted 1 billion users in the world.

Although LINE is available in other countries, the popularity in Japan is quite exceptional. It is said that 40% of Japan’s population uses this app daily when only 69% of the population owns a smartphone.

So what is LINE?

LINE is a communication/calling app. It became popular as it doesn’t use the a phone line or provider. LINE uses the internet (either mobile data or WiFi) to call/text with each other. This allows people to communicate for free, as long as they have the internet. Not only is this app popular with teens, it is also seeing a surge in use amongst people in their 40s and 50s.

Another feature of the app allows people to share instantly and also create group chats, which reportedly has appealed to businesses aiding employee communications.

After the success of the main app, others have branched out under the “LINE” brand. These include news, games, weather, picture/video editing, and a camera app.

By creating apps that are targeted for different kinds of people, LINE has become an essential upload for Japan.


Engaging Insurance

fitness-1348867_1920This month Prescient has been exploring the rapidly changing nature of the global insurance market.  We’ve been delighted to speak with co-founders of two of the most exciting InsurTech businesses driving fundamental change within the sector, Jan-Philipp Kruip of FitSense and Alberto Chierici of SPIXII.

This is not just an interesting story about how technology successfully disrupts an established market.  Nor are these businesses on a quest to shake things up in a subversive sense.

FitSense and SPIXII have captured the imagination of insurance companies and investors alike, not merely because they are innovative and clever.  Crucially they are committed to enhancing relationships between customers and insurance providers, so that everyone is better off as a result.  Consumers will benefit from accessing more tailored products at the right price, while insurers build trust with customers, a key step towards positive referral and loyalty.

Chierici, a former part-qualified pricing actuary and data scientist (and one of an elite breed of actuarial entrepreneurs) is a true ambassador for insurance.  As he explains,‘We wanted to change the face of insurance and how it is perceived.  We did a lot of research and were amazed at the confusion and perceptions of mistrust.  We wanted people to appreciate and understand what insurance brings from a societal point of view.’

Positively obsessed by customer experience SPIXII is on a mission to make insurance simple, accessible and personal, starting by redesigning the way in which people buy insurance.  SPIXII is an automated insurance agent, a conversational chat bot accessible via messaging platforms or via native mobile app.

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All you need is a ‘hello’ to get started. From there, you can tell SPIXII about your plans, for instance if you’re about to set off to Barcelona for the weekend and want to find out what insurance options are available to you.

A good place to start is travel insurance but the scope is far more wide reaching and SPIXII is already in talks with 12 insurers to pilot the technology for selling multiple products, including motor, health, travel and home.

SPIXII is ideally situated to start the insurance conversation on a positive note, especially when addressing the needs and lifestyles of Millennials, widely documented as influential drivers of change.  Born between 1980 and 2000 the Millennial generation is the biggest in US history – bigger even than Baby Boomers.

Kruip of FitSense comes from a finance background and confirms that the needs of Millennials will require a fresh approach, estimating that within 10 years over half of people who take out insurance will seek to buy it in a different way – via mobile distribution and insurance on demand.


FitSense is in a strong position to help health and life insurance companies provide better insurance through capture and use of data from wearable devices. Kruip explains the benefits for more targeted propositions,‘We can use the data we generate to target Insurance products that are much more specific to each person.  At the moment there are four or five insurance products and they are very broad.  Everyone is engaged in the same way – underwriting is the same. This can be a limitation because insurance companies don’t know who their customers are.’

FitSense creates a much clearer profile through the data it gathers, to better inform tailored, relevant products to match specific consumer risk profiles, enabling tangible engagement and driving recruitment and retention.

If you want people to buy insurance you have to offer them something in return and healthcare is perfectly situated to adopt the FitSense value proposition – Vitality in the UK is a good example of how members benefit from data capture, with points awarded for healthy activity undertaken.

FitSense understands that initial engagement with customers with a mutually beneficial proposition is just the beginning of a long-term sustainable relationship.  It’s far easier to introduce new products to customers who are already engaged.  For instance, young, active people might not see a need for life assurance because they’re young (and invincible!), but if you can approach a keen cyclist with a bespoke proposition for cyclists then relevance is established and motivation for uptake grows.

Pioneering companies like SPIXII and FitSense are helping providers to revitalise consumer trust in insurance, bridging the emotional gap between end users and product providers.

As Chierici concludes, ‘We want to create a powerful new brand that customers will trust.  We also want to deliver value to insurance companies.’

Sounds like a healthy outcome all round.

For more information please visit FitSense at and SPIXII at I want SPIXII

You can also vote here for SPIXII to win the 2016 Virgin Media Business Award: