MetLife has announced the launch of new innovation center, futureLab, which will develop new business models and capabilities for the company in Asia.

Based in Sinagpore, futureLab will collaborate with key regional organizations, specifically from Singapore’s academic community such as the National University of Singapore to identify insights and opportunities in main drivers of market growth.

MetLife Asia new chief innovation officer and futureLab founder Zia Zaman said: "Innovation in the insurance industry in Asia has been incremental and, at times, western-centric. We want to provide innovative solutions that meet the fast evolving needs of the Asian consumer.

"futureLab will harness disruptive innovation principles and the start-up philosophy of Silicon Valley, together with the strong creative talent pool available in Singapore, to develop solutions that meet the needs and aspirations of tomorrow’s consumers."

Said to perform three main roles, the lab will develop unique insights and will serve as an incubator to launch new MetLife businesses, and also as an executive briefing facility that offers collaborative visioning space for MetLife and its partners.

MetLife Asia president Christopher Townsend said: "Asian markets are some of the most dynamic in the world and the competition in the region is fierce."

The company, which operates in around 50 countries, provides life insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management services.