Amazon UK’s new advert for their ‘insurance store’
Companion robots using LLMs to chat with the oldies
Purr-fect returns expected for 3 pet insurtechs
And whilst we’re starting to embed GenAI in the Sønr platform, I couldn’t resist but get it to write one of the sections of SøNws. Let me know if you spot which one!
Before all that though, a couple of Sønr matters.
With a decimated Sønr research team (you gotta love holiday season) it was good to roll the sleeves up and get back in the mix. There’s an incredible amount of work that goes into analysing thousands of startups to narrow down the top 50.The longlist is now with our esteemed judging panel – a big thanks to all involved. The best bit is we get to launch this at ITC Vegas (them being our partners n’ all) in October.
Free research, ski trips or sainthood
When not wrestling a 5-year-old, I’ve spent a good chunk of the summer thinking about how best to scale Sønr next year. We now work with ~50 leading insurance companies around the world and what I hadn’t clocked – somehow – is most of them have come from referrals. Nice.Now, this is either because we are really bad at marketing OR we have a brilliant business that people love. I’m going with the latter.
And so, I’m pinging a few clients/friends of Sønr over the coming days to see if we can encourage more referrals through ‘creative’ rewards. If you don’t get an email and you’d like some free research, a ski trip or a sainthood (note: this isn’t 100% guaranteed) then give me a shout.
These guys offer an AI-assisted troubleshooting solution for the chemical, energy, and materials segment.
In a quote form Yuto Nash Nakanishi, Corporate Venturing Partner at Tokio Marine Future Fund, he says “We believe that ControlRooms.ai has the potential to revolutionise the way that energy producers operate and mitigate risk.”
Keeping in the world of specialty insurance and Apollo has joined forces with Artificial Labs, the algorithmic underwriting insurtech, to introduce an innovative smart follow collaboration.
Building upon a successful PoC in early 2023 which used Artificial Labs’ technology for marine hull, this partnership will roll out to other lines of business. The plan is to ensure fast, consistent, and dependable capacity for brokers operating within the London market.
Last one on this and a big shout out to Rosie Denée and the Lloyd’s Lab team for yesterday’s Pitch Day. I couldn’t attend but by all accounts, it was another top day, packed full of innovation and new ideas.
As a (mostly) SaaS business there’s something about working with Lloyd’s Lab that feels extra special. I think it’s a mix of knowing the Sønr tech is critical in the scouting and application process, but beyond that, it’s seeing so many folks from the Lloyd’s market using the platform to score those pitching. That I love.
If you’d like more info on any of those presenting yesterday, head to Sønr. You can access information on all the businesses, their founders, investors, etc via a 14-day free trial.
Mark (Hux) Huxley – hope you don’t mind me stealing your photo?!
Rosie, loving the new digs!
Flying cars, embedded comparison and good old trucks
A partnership I loved from a couple of weeks back (and don’t think I’ve written about already?!) is newly formed MGA Skyrisks teaming up Quotech – an underwriter-led tech developer. This allows them to provide insurance for the fast Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) sector.
What I love about this is AAM includes the new breed of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles, as well as a broad array of innovative technologies both for piloted and autonomous flight.
Ah, the world is changing.
Now, if someone could just buy me one of these for the back garden, I’d be very grateful:
From future vehicles to future markets.
A nice play from Clearcover, a next-generation car insurance company. These guys have launched “Choice” – an embedded insurance solution that provides a customisable end-to-end auto insurance integration for brands. With this, companies can offer up price and policy comparisons from various carriers.
Lastly, on the mobility side of things, Aon‘s CoverWallet has partnered with Cover Whale to extend its presence in the trucking industry. This collaboration aims to provide specialised insurance solutions tailored to the unique needs of the trucking sector.
AI, GenAI, ML, TLAs. We’re tracking it all
I couldn’t resist a couple of AI updates. There’s always so much noise out there is good to see some practical application.
These guys provide an open API cloud-based management system to help brokers simplify workflows, grow their books, keep hold of clients. All the good stuff. And yup, they make use of ML and GenAI.
And CLARA Analytics, has announced the launching of its new legal information extrapolation product, CLARA Optics. This one I like and I’m sure we’ll be seeing much more like this.
The new service will allow insurers to extract highly-critical legal information in quicker, more accurate means. And they’ve created an interface for real life people (!) to consolidate information and distribute downstream.
🤖 Intuition Robotics Raises $25M to Combat Senior Loneliness
Intuition Robotics, the senior-focused tech wizard, just pulled off a funding coup, netting a whopping $25 million. This treasure chest includes $20m in venture capital and $5m in debt. Their creation, ElliQ, is the answer to senior loneliness, using generative AI and large language models to strike up continuous conversations with its elderly users. Age is just a number; tech knows no bounds!
💤 Oura Teams Up with Talkspace for Sweet Dreams
Finland’s health-tracking ring virtuoso, Oura, has joined forces with teletherapy experts Talkspace. Now, Oura ring wearers can seamlessly share their personalised sleep and daily movement data with Talkspace therapists. It’s like having a sleep therapist in your jewellery box! Share your sleep secrets, one night at a time.
🌈 Swiss Re and Wysa Launch Wysa Assure
Swiss Re Reinsurance Solutions and mental health guardian Wysa have birthed Wysa Assure, an AI-powered mental health support app. MLC Life Insurance in Australia is the first to introduce this marvel. The secret sauce? An AI chatbot steeped in cognitive behavioural therapy principles, delivering on-demand support and guiding users toward tailor-made mental health resources. Mental wellness, meet modern tech!
Yeah, alright those last three were GenAI. I can’t do it anymore.
But genuinely interesting news, right?
Whilst it massively troubles me the idea of anyone being lonely, if robots can play a role in helping this, and it’s not in place of a better solution, then so be it. And the Oura/Talkspace tie – great stuff. Finally, using innovative tech to support mental health issues. Definitely gets my vote.
Right, only real human writing from here on in.
Great to see our much-loved client, Wakam, partnering up with UK fintech Wagestream. The latter provides workers with affordable sick pay cover.
The two companies are aiming to support the roughly 9m at-risk workers in the UK by providing better sick pay. The product offers employees income protection specifically designed to meet the needs of frontline workers. Nice.
And an update on the Babylon front – its UK arm, which provides doctor appointments to both private and NHS patients, has been sold to eMed Healthcare. The terms of the sale weren’t disclosed. What a mess.
Saving the best ‘til last on the health side of things.
Purr-fect returns and hope to fetch some serious profits
Alright, I got ChatGPT to help with the title. Couldn’t resist.
Randomly it’s been a busy August for pet insurtech VCs.
TeleVet has landed a $43m Series B. With a rebrand to Otto, these guys work with 8,000 veterinary professionals and help clinics manage a bunch of their operations. They claim they can free up 8 hours each week for vet teams. Lovely.
Next in line is Companion Protect a B2B2C pet insurance and pet wellness administration company, which announced a $27m raise.
The money will be used to fuel product and partner expansion, along with innovation in claims processing.
And finally Wagmo raised $8.9m bringing their total to $24.5m. Pet coverage from head to tail, no less.
Right, that’s me. It’s not every day you get to spend your birthday writing SøNws 😬
I’m off for cake.
Have a good weekend and, as always, hit me up if you’d like to talk innovation scouting or management, and how we can help you at Sønr.
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