A Christmas to forget for Humn.ai

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Marginal gains.
Invisible innovation.
A slowly moving (and occasionally really sharp) needle.

Any other takers for describing insurance innovation?

Earlier in the week I put out a LinkedIn post about changing up the narrative. I’m tired of the same conversations. The same panels, the same reports, the same regurgitated news (the irony, right?).

There’s good stuff getting done out there. It’s just by a (very) select few.

I want to celebrate that stuff. To unpack what’s working. What’s not. And to understand the whys and the hows.

I’ve been doing this stuff for a long time now and it’s moving too slowly. I want to get deeper into it all and share the learnings in the hope it might move stuff on.

Which incumbents are truly making change happen? Who should I be speaking with? On what topics? In what format with what output? How do we accelerate change (before we all retire and look back to realise nothing really different happened)?

Let me know. Comment on the LI post or ping me an email. Let’s discuss.

Right, before I get into some regurgitated news 🤷, two things worth a read this week:

  1. Why innovation labs don’t work
    There are some gems in this one and I’m not 100% aligned. That said it’s worth a read for this paragraph alone:“Innovation labs are like a 68 year old man who goes deep into debt to buy a customized Ferrari. It’s supposed to signal virility and prowess, but it’s usually a sign that his kids don’t speak to him anymore and his life is falling apart.”

  1. US vs Europe late stage funding
    Not a great read…if you’re in Europe. But there’s hope. Nice work team AVP.


2024 – a good year for insolvency and M&A lawyers

Just over 6 years in and having raised $23m, it looks like the motor insurtech Humn.ai called in the administrators last month.

From the Insolvency Insider UK (let’s hope I won’t have to read this one too much in 2024): ‘The company’s directors explored options to address the company’s medium-term funding requirements, but were unable to secure a deal.’

Let’s hope they get snapped up.

From administration to receivership and it’s official – Luko will indeed be joining Allianz Direct.

For the grand sum of €4.3m 🤯
A great deal for Allianz. A terrible end for investors (~$85m all in).

Oh and another bit of news this week – Amazon is closing down its UK insurance store. For some reason this has barely registered with me.

In part because the offering was blunt at best. And the execution was terrible.

But from my point of view this was an experiment. It didn’t take off. They closed it down. Lessons will have been learnt. All that’s invaluable and just another step to working out just what their role is in insurance.

Whilst there’s a LOT of ‘I told you so’ going on out there I don’t buy it. I’m pleased they gave it a crack and look forward to seeing whether they iterate the same model (and actually tap into the data they hold on every single person in the world and their dog) or try something new.

Data and dollars. And Euros

There were a couple of investments made this week which I thought were worth sharing.

QBE Ventures invested in Snorkel AI.

These guys take unstructured, unlabelled, and not AI-ready data, and make it accessible and usable. If that doesn’t scream applicability for insurance, I’m not sure what does.

Another is Hague-based Spotr.ai which has raised €4.5m to create the world’s largest image-driven property database using AI and image recognition.

The company aims to inspect 15 million properties in the next two years using ML and AI for large-scale image inspections. Nice.

Partnerships and pricing

MAPFRE is set to improve its actuarial team’s pricing models by partnering with Akur8.

This partnership will strengthen Akur8’s presence in the Spanish market and should bring a mix of increased predictive performance, speed-to-accuracy and market reactivity to MAPFRE.

In the US, another partnership. This time it’s Markel and Foxquilt which have teamed up to innovate embedded insurance for small businesses across North America, offering tailored coverage and pricing.

Gute Nachrichten

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in Germany.

First off Verisk has acquired Germany’s Rocket Enterprise Solutions GmbH (Rocket ES) – a company which specialises in digitising underwriting and claims processes.

Rocket previously received strategic investment from Verisk in 2022, and will now become part of Verisk’s claims solutions group.

And secondly, Getsafe has made its second acquisition in just a few months.

They’ve bought student loan finance company deineStudienfinanzierung.

Getsafe, ‘now a relevant fintech player for students’, means they can more easily reach out and build relationships with an audience who normally haven’t yet bought insurance. Sehr interessant.

Floodtech in space

Climate adaption tech firm Floodbase is set to integrate 24/7, all-weather synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data into its flood solution, enhancing the accuracy of parametric flood insurance and risk transfer triggers.

SAR data, which can measure flood waters even at night and through clouds, will be collected by Capella Space Corp. I love this stuff. I so set up the wrong company.

This high-resolution data will be used in Floodbase’s end-to-end solution for parametric flood insurance, enabling enhanced pay-out trigger certification by capturing the magnitude of flooding at high resolution, regardless of cloud cover.

So good. All that.

Whilst chatting floods, FloodFlash, the first insurtech company to offer sensor-enabled parametric flood insurance, continues to take the US by storm (sorry, not sorry) and has expanded its services to 10 more US states.

To meet demand, FloodFlash has reduced its minimum premium to $25,000, aiming to make its sensor-based parametric approach more accessible.

It’s a short one. Way too many meetings for a Friday.

Big love. Have a great weekend. Until next time.


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