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August 20, 2014

Disrupting the Benefits Business

Rosaline Chow Koo ’88, who will attend the School’s Pan-Asian Reunion in October, has launched Asia’s first employee-benefits big data startup.


Rosaline Chow Koo ’88 learned fearlessness while growing up with her illiterate immigrant parents in South Central LA during the Watts riots. “I learned to decide quickly whether to stay and fight, or flee. It honed my survival and decision-making skills,” Koo says. “It also motivated me to work very hard to make a better life.”

After earing a cybernetics degree from UCLA and an MBA from Columbia, she supervised Procter & Gamble factory lines in Iowa before working at Bankers Trust Company in New York. In 1996 Koo moved to Singapore, where she launched two startups during the dot-com boom before joining Mercer Marsh Benefits; in eight years, she grew the company by 800 percent into the leading employee benefits provider in Asia Pacific, serving employers in 14 countries.

Advice for Students: “Asia is the fastest growing part of the world and offers many entrepreneurial and corporate opportunities. But it’s important to understand that working in many parts of Asia is culturally very different from working in the United States.”

In 2013, Koo combined her expertise in business and benefits to found ConneXionsAsia (CXA), a startup that helps employers address the escalating costs affiliated with worsening employee health, underutilized benefits, and burdensome benefits administration. CXA converts a company’s existing insurance premium into a fixed budget for employees, who can personalize their benefits from the startup’s network of insurance, wellness, fitness, and healthcare providers. Companies use CXA’s platform for insurance enrollment, wellness selection, claims administration, health screenings, health-risk assessment, corporate challenges, and employee goal setting and tracking. Customized user data from CXA helps firms improve workforce health and reduce medical-claims costs.

A rapidly growing company, CXA has many Fortune 100 clients and recently acquired one of Singapore’s largest brokerage firms so that companies buying insurance through CXA would get the platform without spending more. “Given our continued success in channeling healthcare spending into prevention instead of treatment, there’s no reason why our platform cannot be exported to the rest of the world,” Koo says.

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Pan-Asia Reunion 2014

Celebrate Columbia Business School’s global alumni network and thought leadership at the 2014 Pan-Asian Reunion in Singapore, featuring a two-day symposium on emerging business trends with discussions led by preeminent faculty members and alumni leaders.

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