Kevin Steer: A Thought Leader Fueling the growth of Businesses through AI

Kevin Steer, CEO & Co-Founder of 121Advisor, is a dynamic leader who hails more than 40 years of experience in the entire spectrum of Banking & Finance.

Kevin Steer
Originally published by -Prime View on April 09, 2021

He started his career for Schlumberger Asia in 1979 as a Field Engineer and Manager. Later, he joined Artificial Intelligence Ltd, UK in 1988 as a Research Engineer. He played a major role as a Consultant with Strand Software Inc, US, Oregon Advanced Computing Institute in the US and was appointed as a consultant to Boeing Aerospace Inc, US (1989 – 1990).

In 1990, he moved to Malaysia working as a Consultant to Computer Systems Advisers Bhd on a client-server banking systems for a local bank. In 2010 he co-founded One Two One Advisor Sdn Bhd, providing FinTech & InsurTech solutions to the Banking, Insurance & Takaful sectors.

In academics, Kevin did graduation from Cambridge University (UK) in 1978 and holds a Bachelor of Arts Engineering degree, a Master of Arts (Electrical Sciences) degree from Cambridge University UK, and a Master of Science (Computing) degree from Imperial College, London, United Kingdom.

A Glimpse of 121Advisor

Catering to both the FinTech & InsurTech sectors, One Two One Advisor was formed in 2010.

121Advisor’s product is called ‘Customer First Connected Enterprise Digital Framework’ that integrates all of the above solutions. 121Advisor motto is “We Don’t Follow Trends, We Pioneer Them”.

Over the past 10 years, the company has implemented many disruptive online solutions including Referral Management with Marketing Automation (for Banks), Mobile Point of Sales, Online Direct Selling, Online Claims, Agency Distribution, Online Customer Service Portals & Corporate Websites. With the growth of AI & chatbots; 121Advisor implemented disruptive solutions including multilingual Chatbots & Robo Advisors along with AI-based Predictive Analytics / Machine Learning for predicting New Products, Lapsation, Fraudulent Claims & future predictions for Investment Funds.

The Inspiration behind the Initiation

Having worked in the insurance & takaful sector for a number of years, 121Advisor’s mission was to provide disruptive InsurTech & FinTech solutions for insurers, takaful operators & banks.

As a CEO & ‘techie’, Kevin has always been looking for new disruptive solutions to continue evolving the business. What was interesting was that he worked for an Artificial Intelligence Company in 1986, and that piqued his interest in AI. When 121Advisor started seeing the evolution of Chatbots, Robo Advisors, Predictive Analytics, Behavioural Intelligence & Robotic Process Automation.

121Advisor started researching on AI solutions and the team implemented 24×7 multi-lingual Chatbots, Robo
Advisors for lifestyle financial planning, as well as implementing Predictive Analytics solutions for predicting new products to buy, lapsation of policies, fraudulent claims & future grow/decline of investment funds; which are integrated with RPA solutions to trigger workflows to notify the relevant people.

By 2014 the company was profitable and 121Advisor used the profits for R&D on developing new disruptive solutions. Here is a graph that shows the company’s growth over the past decade.

Clientele and Challenges on the Way

The clientele includes Manulife, MCIS (part of Sanlam Group), Etiqa, Gibraltar BSN (part of PrAmerica), FWD Takaful, Zurich Takaful, AmMetlife, AmMetlife Takaful, as well as Banks – BSN Bank (Bank Simpanan Nasional), & MBSB Bank.

In 2010, the words ‘FinTech’ & ‘InsurTech’ were not available, so it took a while to convince customers of 121Advisor’s digital skills & capabilities. In 2011 the team started implementing various solutions, and by 2014 we started growing customers, providing solutions both for banks, insurers & takaful companies.

Millennials are the least insured generation since WWII … insurance companies are ripe for disruption.
-Mark Dowds, Trov

The Roller Coaster Ride toward Success

We grew the business and now have 18 plus clients, with 12 product solutions. The company has been disruptive and offered various product solutions to customers, they have continually developed new disruptive solutions including predictive analytics, plus multi-lingual Chatbots & Robo advisors.

A well-executed user experience builds trust.
-Tom Creighton, Wealthsimple

A Day in Kevin’s Life & Favourite Book

He gets up at 5 am, and goes to the office at about 7.30 am, as a ‘techie’ he reviews emails and advises his team on their solutions, he also designs data models for customers to implement. He goes to sleep at about 10 pm.

Valuation Seventh Edition – Measuring & Managing Value of Companies
-Wiley is Kevin’s favourite book

Road Ahead

In future, u12know will include health and wellness calculators to advise people on their health and what they need to work on to get healthy; this will also include a “Total Health Score”, based on the health calculators to indicate whether they are very healthy, healthy, unhealthy or at risk.

121Advsior will also be including another solution u1Notice, which is a mobile app integrated with WhatsApp for Business that enables customers to receive reminders & renew their policies online.

For their knowledge portal (u12know), Kavin Steer will be expanding to Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Then later expanding to Europe & the US.

Feathers in the Cap

  • 121Advisor has been honoured as Top 10 Insurtech Consulting/Services Companies in APAC, 2018 by CIO Outlook
  • It was recognized by IndustryWired as Top 20 Companies with Most Disruptive Solutions in 2020

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