A 2021 wrap and the Insurtech 100 launch interview

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Hello all.

Excuse the shameless self-congratulatory start to this week’s SøNws.

It’s been a wonderful 2021 for Sønr and I want to say a big thanks to all the team for the hard work and to all our clients for the support.

Over the year, we’ve continued to invest heavily into our SaaS platform and have worked closely with clients to identify and realise opportunities to drive business forward through partnering with Insurtechs.

And it looks like it’s paid off. I genuinely couldn’t be more proud.

Just this year we’ve welcomed over a dozen new clients from around the world. We hope to sign contracts with another 4 before the year is out (!), and we have a crazy number of conversations lined up for 2022.

Big love and thanks again to all our clients – Bupa, Tokio Marine, Allianz, Wakam, Munich Re, Talbot, Royal London, Ageas, Southern Cross, Generali, Vitality, HUK Coburg and all the others. Here’s to a successful 2022 all round.

If you’d like to know how Sønr can help your business, hit me up and we can speak in the New Year.

Now, before I dive into what’s going on in the market, a quick Insurtech 100 update.

It’s had overwhelmingly positive feedback; liked, shared and downloaded tens of thousands of times and has really brought home just how much interest there is in Insurtech currently.

In the New Year we’ll be publishing a series of videos interviewing the founders of those companies featured and going a little deeper into their businesses.

To kick things off, we caught up with Chris Payne and Penney Frohling – two super smart EY Partners who we worked with to produce the report.

Sønr and EY talking through the Insurtech 100

Penney talks through some of the analysis she pulled together for the report and Chris provides some great insight into where he sees the market heading and the role Insurtechs play. Plus, we collectively explore what the future of the Insurtech 100 might look like.

It’s a good one. Pour yourself a coffee/mulled wine (dependent on time zones?) and enjoy.

Right, let’s dive in for the final market update of the year.

Embedded continues to make perfect sense

The timing isn’t great as Europe starts to close down once again but CoverGenius is set to partner with airline Ryanair to offer comprehensive travel insurance. The insurance will be integrated directly when flights are being booked.

The main aim of the partnership is to address a current gap in travel protection and the news comes following CoverGenius hitting a valuation of $711m following a successful funding round.

Another partnership, this time between UAE bank Mashreq who is working with Indian insurance distribution platform provider, Turtlemint.

The deal will enable Mashreq to provide an integrated platform and transparent advice giving for its insurance customers. As well as more effectively matching customer needs to products it expects a massive reduction in time to produce recommendations. Nice.

On the investment front Indonesian startup Fuse has secured a $25m Series B extension amid plans to expand in South East Asia including Vietnam and Thailand.

Fuse was launched in 2017 and it connects insurance companies with multiple distribution channels and partners to make insurance services accessible and affordable. Within the last six months, Fuse has closed three rounds, which brings total funding to more than $70m.

Property news close to home

A couple of interesting UK announcements this week.

London-based leak prevention solution LeakBot has stated it plans to go public via a reverse takeover with SPAC Spinnaker Acquisitions. The new company will launch in the UK’s main market as Ondo InsurTech Plc.

LeakBot is an internet of things (IoT) company that detects water leaks in buildings with its patented Thermi-Q technology.

And Locket (formerly Hiro) is celebrating after it hit its £750k funding goal in just 10 minutes. At the time of writing, the company has already raised £1.1m.

Led by former Neos co-founder Krystian Zajac, Locket is an MGA (though has plans to go full-stack) that leverages automated quote & buy journeys, ML-based pricing models, and smart device integrations to help customers protect their homes.

One to watch for sure.

Dynamic car insurance – try before your buy

Over in Ireland telematics startup nSurely has raised $602k (€535k) in an early-stage funding round.

nSurely is hoping to launch pilot projects in multiple European countries next year, including the UK. The firm is based in Cork, and randomly, already operates in the Middle East.

Now, over to Sweden and a super interesting one that I imagine we’ll see plenty more of in the coming year.

MGA Covercube has partnered with Greater Than, which predicts accident probability per driver in real-time.

The partnership delivers a freemium version of the Covercube app that allows motorists to try the dynamic pricing function without any commitment. By using the new app, motorists will see how much they can save on their premiums by driving smarter and safer.

A couple from a little further afield:

Mexican startup Miituo has successfully raised $10m over two rounds.

They specialise in pay-per-KM based cover with customers submitting photos of their odometer readings (with external vehicle shots to help validation…) to provide accurate pricing.

I assume the relative simplicity translates directly into relatively lower costs than traditional carrier offerings. Time will tell but with 41,000 policies sold to date they’re certainly moving in the right direction.

Finally, a fine tale of Open Innovation.

This time it’s Bank of China Group Insurance who have turned to no-code experts, CoverGo to help streamline its motor insurance platform. Providing more efficient means to develop and distribute their products, it looks like part of a wholesale re-think of the motor business.

A bold and exciting move – one to watch.

Life Insurance – younger, broader and very different

I find the developments across life insurance fascinating at the moment. It definitely missed the invite to the innovation party a few years back but seems to be crawling its way back.

Out in Canada, Walnut Insurance is launching a new life insurance product targeted at millennials.

The new offering will introduce a digital wellness subscription on top of its life insurance membership, designed to serve the needs of younger Canadians. The subscriptions will provide flexible mental and physical wellbeing and cyber cover via partnerships with the likes of Headspace, ClassPass and Dashlane.

Interesting huh?

In the UK Stubben Edge has acquired Akoni Hub, a cash management service targeted at IFAs.

The deal will enable Stubben Edge, which currently provides advisors with life insurance products, to link cash management services to insurance products. The company also revealed that it aims to get an insurance license in 2022.

“Ultimately, we want to launch an investment proposition. We want to make our platform a one-stop shop for cash, insurance, and investments.”

Stepping into the US and it’s all about big numbers.

Integrity Marketing has landed an impressive $1.2b to ‘propel its omnichannel insurtech platform in 2022’. Integrity is a leading life and health distributor and also a platform provider – offering a range of solutions including wealth management and financial planning.

Finally mental health platform Cerebral has landed a $300m Series C.

With more than half of Americans suffering from some form of mental health issue, coupled with limited capacity for support, stigma and cost of care, there’s a huge opportunity to provide more accessible support.

As you might expect from such a big raise, Cerebral is aiming to become the number one choice one-stop-shop for mental health provision – from support to prescription delivery and beyond.

It’ll be interesting to see how they get on.

Interest in cyber continues to build

Right, I realise I’m doing my usual essay writing. Let’s try and quicken the pace and get into some of the cyber stuff we’ve been tracking this week.

Cyber MGA Coalition has launched a captive insurer enabling them to begin taking risks on its cyber insurance programmes. It will provide additional capacity to its current long-term agreements from carriers.

Whilst specific to the US, cyberspace has been a hotbed of activity this year and Coalition are making waves – with a claimed 70% reduction in claims from carriers using their solutions. Nice. I like these guys a lot.

On the partnership side, Cyber insurance firm BOXX teamed up with Equifax to offer $1m in identity theft protection coverage as holiday shopping gears up for record eCommerce sales.

BOXX was founded in 2018 and is an insurance cover holder with Lloyd’s of London, providing cyber insurance policy coverage globally.

And finally, on the investment side, one that stood out was Sysdig, which announced a $350m Series G, following a $188m raise back in April.

That’s a whole lot of money in not a lot of time. Equally the cloud and container market in which they operate is increasingly competitive and market share is increasingly hard fought to gain and retain with the amount of VC-backing going around.

Accelerating the future of insurance

In the UK Genasys has raised £12.25m from Frog Capital.

Genasys was founded back in 1997 and provides end-to-end policy administration and claims solutions for insurers, MGAs and brokers. There’s huge savings associated with more efficient means to manage those high-volume processes so it’ll be interesting to watch their growth.

And out in the US, AgentSync is the first SaaS unicorn focused on building infrastructure for the $1.3T US insurance market. Known for its compliance management software, AgentSync – one of our Future 50 Americas companies – has become a Unicorn after raising $75m at a $1.2bn valuation.

Since its first Seed round 17 months ago, the company has seen 3.5x YoY ARR growth, and a valuation up a whopping 55x. Jeez.

The new funds will be used to meet demand and scale product development for existing and new solutions.

Innovation making the world a better place

There’s lots to be said about great innovation. When it plays a role in making society a little more equitable, I’m 100% behind it.

Agricultural microinsurance startup IBISA from Luxembourg has raised $1.7m in a pre-seed round led by InsurTech Gateway.

They provide parametric cover for small farms in emerging markets to protect against extreme weather events. The straightforward product means both the application and claims process are easy, with the blockchain-based infrastructure translating into lower overall costs.

These all constitute key reasons for insurance penetration being low amongst arguably some of the most vulnerable to the impact of climate-related change. Love it.

In the UK Demex, the platform for analysing, pricing, and transferring climate-linked risks at scale, has raised $9m in Series A.

Demex, which was launched in 2020, aims to help build global climate resilience in the face of increasing bouts of extreme weather. The company recently launched a free public resource to help understand localised weather variables.

And finally, catastrophe insurance MGA Delos has closed a $5.3m Seed round.

The firm that focuses on California wildfire risks, offers insurance to homeowners in communities “abandoned by other insurers because of wildfire risk”. The firm will use the new funds to further expand in California’s homeowner insurance market.

Away from climate and Indian startup OneAssure has raised $655K in a pre-seed funding round.

OneAssure provides a digital marketplace to buy and manage health policies across huge under-served populations in both urban and rural areas. As you can imagine it’s a big old market.

Unsurprisingly, the investment will be used to fuel growth, with the startup looking like it’s looking for partners to accelerate and scale customer acquisition.

Finally, in Latam, Chubb is partnering with Chile’s Betterfly to create more offerings in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina.

The two companies are aiming to reach 100m under-served Latin American markets in the next 4 years. Betterfly, which has developed a rewards-based digital benefits platform, raised a $60m Series B earlier this year.

Right, that is nearly me.

Two things to call out:

  1. Check out our recent Spøtlight interview with Janthana Kaenprakhamroy of Tapoly.

    Tapoly is on a mission to simplify commercial insurance and make on-demand solutions available and accessible for everyone.

    It’s always fun doing one of these with a good friend and great to hear more about Janthana’s backstory as well as her ambitions for the future.

  2. The third Zurich Innovation Championships closes in just 6 days!

    You may remember this from previous years – it’s a worldwide challenge for entrepreneurs, bringing agile innovative startups the reach and experience of a global insurer. And it’s a good one.

    They’ve four different challenges and it’s well worth a look. There’s a tonne of good stuff to be had if you get selected.

And with that, 2021 is a wrap. Well, the SøNws writing at least.

Keep well, have a great break if you’re taking time off and celebrating and I look forward to catching up in the New Year. As always do drop me a line if you’d like to connect.


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