Aliaksandr Marko - stock.adobe.c

FWD teams up with AWS on cloud

The pan-Asian insurer plans to host its core applications on AWS in a five-year agreement that comes on the heels of an earlier deal with Microsoft to tap Azure cloud and AI services

Hong Kong-based pan-Asian insurance group FWD has teamed up with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in a five-year agreement to host its core business applications on the hyperscaler’s cloud infrastructure.

The applications range from finance to customer and insurance agent interfaces, including Omne by FWD, a customer self-service and lifestyle app.

AWS has also supported FWD’s efforts to develop a cloud-based centralised finance hub for collecting, validating, and processing financial, investment and actuarial data.

At the end of 2023, 97% of FWD’s applications were migrated to the cloud – up from 27% as of 31 December 2020 – with 93% of applications targeted for retirement decommissioned.

Sandeep Pandey, group chief technology and operations officer of FWD, said cloud computing is a holistic business strategy for the company, and not just a priority for the technology function.

“This digital-first mindset has delivered operational infrastructure and capabilities that are not only secure and cloud-based, but also fully integrated across business functions and with valued partners like AWS.

“With these foundations in place, we can now further scale our generative artificial intelligence [GenAI] deployment in an efficient, effective and responsible way, in line with our vision of changing the way people feel about insurance,” he added.

FWD embarked on its AI journey in 2019 and now has almost 200 active AI models applied across its business, with more than 600 use cases.

Earlier this year, it announced that it was working with Microsoft in a four-year deal to deploy Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI service and other Azure cloud services, such as private networking and monitoring, as well as advanced AI models.

FWD is also an early adopter of Copilot for Microsoft 365, an AI companion that supports employees in their day-to-day work.

Ryan Kim, group chief digital officer of FWD, said the collaboration with Microsoft “marries FWD’s pioneering spirit in Asia in some of the fastest growing insurance markets in the world, with the global scale and skill that Microsoft brings in engineering and AI”.

“We’re excited to harness more next-generation innovations to develop new industry use cases and standards that we believe will shape the insurance journey of the future,” he added.

Organisations across Asia-Pacific have been doubling down on GenAI initiatives, more so than other parts of the world. According to a study by Enterprise Strategy Group and TechTarget, 75% of APAC respondents plan to adopt generative AI, with nearly a third already running GenAI workloads in production or are testing the technology.

The enthusiasm for generative AI in the region is also reflected in IT budgets, with over half having allocated budgets to GenAI. Among them, 39% have allocated between 5% and 20% of their IT budgets to the technology.

Read more about cloud and AI in APAC

Read more on Cloud computing services

Data Center
Data Management