Big tech innovation and connecting up NPS

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Hello all.
 
Off the back last week’s geeking out on how willing people are to buy insurance from Amazon and Google, here’s another little gem I came across.
 
There’s a phrase that I’m sure you’ll have heard plenty of times over the past few years:
‘Customers only speak to insurers once a year, on renewal.
And if it’s more often, then it’s to make a claim.
In either case, it tends to be pretty bad experience.’
 
What I’ve not seen, until recently, is any hard data supporting the value of connecting with customers more frequently.

And then lo and behold I stumbled across this Bain study from last year. A few interesting nuggets:

  • Most insurers have not seen a significant rise in their Net Promoter Score since 2014
  • 34% of customers say they do not interact even once a year with their insurer
  • Customers with connected devices interact 19 times a year with their carriers

 
The most interesting part - customers with connected devices give their insurers higher NPS ratings. And in theory, higher NPS means better retention, and increased up-sell and referral.
 
If you’re looking for a few more $$ in the business, it might be worth reconsidering your data strategy.

Right, let’s get into it. This week I’m exploring some of the earlier stage activity; a good hunting ground for tomorrow’s innovation.
 
 
The art of the possible
Some innovation coming out of Estonia will be hitting the UK shores shortly. Cachet has closed a Seed round of €1.1m as it eyes expansion into Nordics, Poland and the UK.
Cachet provides ride-hail drivers with on-demand cover for hours driven, and works with Uber, Bolt and Yandex. Interestingly it's also planning to launch services for urban mobility and holiday rentals.
 
Another in the property rental/sharing space is the UK’s Urban Jungle that raised an extra £1.6m…on top of the £2.5m it reported back in March. Earlier this week, the company revealed that in spite of lockdown, it’s growing at more than 20% per month. Good work team.
 
The last from the UK that caught my eye is super early stage Rnwl, that announced a pre-Seed crowdfunding campaign. Interestingly it’s pitching itself as the ‘first ever over-the-top insurance platform’.

Digging into it a little and it’s an ambitious play – a mix of Brolly’s concierge coupled with an auto switching comparison service. If they can build out some unique tech, or get the community behind them, I imagine it won’t be long before they’re snapped up. It’s a big ask though.
 
They’re currently at a third of the way to a £150k target, so if you fancy a EIS punt, you can get involved here.
 
A couple more stories I thought were of interest.
 
Squeeze, a US startup that helps users make better buying decisions on recurring bills through automation and AI, has reportedly raised $2.2m in pre-Seed funding. The company currently offers its services across auto and home insurance.
 
Canadian insurtech ProNavigator has closed CA$5.6m ($4.2m) in funding. The AI-powered insurance assistant will use the fund to continue expanding across the US and Canada, and launch commercial support, on top of the services it already provides within home and auto.
 
And finally, Allianz X-backed BIMA has raised a further $30m for micro health and life insurance solutions for emerging markets in Africa and Asia. It plans to use the funds to bolster its telemedicine and health services after seeing increased demand due to Covid-19. The company has impressively grown its customer base by around 11m people in two years.


Better together

There’s no slowdown on the partnering front.
 
I liked this one. Suncorp has launched a new auto product via BingleGo, which rewards people with a 20% discount on their monthly policies when they opt to use other forms of transport (such as walking, cycling or public transport) rather than their car. Bingle Go uses telematics technology from Trōv to detect the mode of transport used.
 
Keeping with mobility and commercial auto insurtech Inshur has partnered with La Parisienne Assurances to launch a new insurance product for Uber/private hire drivers across The Netherlands. It’ll enable them to quote and buy insurance immediately online with just a few clicks.
 
And Concirrus has partnered with an online valuation and data provider VesselsValue, to further enhance Concirrus' underwriting capabilities with new data including real-time fluctuations in global shipping fleet market values.
 
In the US Travelers has developed new features for its personal insurance app, Traverse, with South African insurtech Pineapple. The new product uses insurtech Pineapple's image recognition technology, and helps customers buy a policy in under a minute.

And finance giant Capital One skipped the partnership pleasantries with an all-in acquisition of travel insurtech Freebird. Freebird is a B2B enables agents to sell smart flight insurance and re-booking services by using predictive data. It had previously offered its services direct to customers.
 
It looks like Singapore’s hotting up, with healthcare startup HealthifyMe set to launch corporate programmes and expand its user base there. And China Life has revealed plans to hire more than 500 consultants in there too, as it aims to target high net worth individuals and bring Chinese insurtech solutions to Singapore.
 
 
Who doesn’t love some more Big Tech news?
With the talk of Amazon and Google’s insurance playbook last week, there’s plenty more from both to report.
 
John Hancock has linked the new Amazon wearable and health platform, Halo, to its Vitality program. Amazon has been working with John Hancock since Autumn 2018 to explore potential opportunities in the health space.
 
In the mobility space, Amazon’s set up a new team at its Cambridge R&D centre to expand upon its work in autonomous delivery technology in the UK. And it has been allowed to kick off trials for commercial deliveries via drone by the US Federal Aviation Administration.
It reminds me of the quote from Travis Kalanick, the former CEO of Uber, back in 2015 when they started exploring self-driving cars:
“The reason Uber could be expensive is because you're not just paying for the car — you're paying for the other dude in the car.”
 
Finally, just the one line for Google this week. They’ve partnered with the US Department of Defence to provide an AI-powered cancer diagnostic system, which will help enhance cancer diagnoses through AR microscopes overlaid with Artificial Intelligence.
 
If you’d like more on either, or to get a better sense of how the markets are changing, give me a shout. The team has been doing a load of research into this recently.
 
 
Last but not least…
Frederik Jung Abbou, one of the founders of telehealth startup Kry, has given a rare interview about the Swedish startup scene and developing startups. Having co-founded eight startups, two of which have been valued at around a billion dollars, it’s worth a read.

And unsurprisingly (because I literally can’t open a website without their ads popping up) the pay-per-mile insurance By Miles has reported a 75% surge in sales since January 2020, citing Covid-19 bringing in new interest. Strong number By Miles.

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What SøNws would be complete without a gentle nudge to testing out Sønr? In chatting with one of our Advisory Board last week, he suggested I was too humble in pushing the value of the business and the work we’re doing with clients.
 
To be clear, humble isn’t a word I hear often so I’m taking it.
 
And so, we’ve pulled some case studies on our site. What’s a better endorsement of our business than showing the value our clients get from working with?
   
With that, time to call it a day. I have a climbing frame to move across a garden and a lawn to mow.
 
Keep well and do drop me a line if you’d like to catch up on any active project work.
 
Matt
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