Borrowing innovation from outside of insurance

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Back from the mountains to 2 new platform clients and a pair of aching legs.

[Btw – if anyone has top tips on persuading a 3-year to snowplough rather than careen down the mountain at full speed, I’m all ears.]

Back to real life yesterday, joining the Vitality Risk Committee to talk emergent trends.

It’s easy to forget the value of tracking 2+ million companies. There’s so much intelligence we can draw on market trends (near and far), companies presenting opportunities and/or threats, as well as insight on competitor playbooks – both incumbents and new entrants.

It’s all good stuff. Even better to share it with a group so actively engaged.

Time to dive into some market news.

Bancassurance – keeping it simple 

Great to see Generali and ZA Bank announce their collaboration yesterday. Two of my favourite market innovators coming together.

Based out in Hong Kong, the partnership will offer Generali’s life insurance products on the ZA Bank app with the intention to provide protection covering different stages of a customer’s life.

“From accessing product details, scheduling a meeting with appointed insurance advisors to settling payments and reviewing policy documents, every step of the in-app experience aims to be seamless and ensures a personalised and user-friendly interaction that works.”

I haven’t played around with the experience yet but knowing the ZA guys it’ll be super slick.

Whilst I think about it our own Matt F chatted to George Kessleman from ZA Tech yesterday as part of our Q1 report. Fascinating stuff and we’ll be sharing soon.

Another bank/insurer tie-up this week is Revolut appointing Allianz Partners as its new global travel insurance services provider. Another step to meeting the insurance needs insurance of their 18 million customers worldwide.

Available to Revolut’s Premium or Metal account holders, Allianz will provide comprehensive travel insurance services to 31 markets across the EU and UK.

Simplyhealth – building the business of the future 

I was introduced to Dr Sneh Khempka, the CEO of SimplyHealth recently and was gutted to have missed him talk at Insurtech Insights Europe last month. By all accounts a super interesting insight into the innovative and ambitious culture he’s building across the business.

It was great therefore to pick up on their multi-year partnership with Genasys, announced yesterday.

More than a million health plans will be migrated from Simplyhealth’s current insurance system on to a single platform that features modularised end-to-end policy administration and claims solutions. Nice.

Good work André Symes and team.

In the next SøNws I’ll share the conversation I had with André and his Genasys co-CEO Craig Olivier. We recorded it just before I headed to the mountains. Two great guys building a fantastic business.

Another that piqued my interest was Munich Re Ventures, MS&AD Ventures and others involved in a $25m Series B for fertility financing startup Future Family.

The intersection of financial services, healthcare and insurance is a super interesting one. As is the importance of providing the opportunity for familiies to access IVF and egg freezing.

This one definitely gets my vote.

It’s also worth sharing that Irish-founded Letsgetchecked is set to acquire US-based firm Veritas Genetics.

Veritas was started in 2014 and with the goal of affordably sequencing the whole genome.

The plan is to integrate Veritas into its diagnostic infrastructure to offer a wider range of capabilities, such as pre-natal screening and preventative medicine, as well as hyper-personalised actionable insights into a customer’s health.

Very cool. And potentially of great value to insurers.

Startups (and reinsurers) accelerating life innovation

Open innovation isn’t just about the startups. The reinsurers are playing their part too.

Good to see Allianz Benelux implementing Munich Re’s Allfinanz suite of products.

The partnership will enable Allianz’s life brokers and agents to provide a faster and more efficient application experience and improve the accuracy of underwriting decisions.

All sounds good to me.

Back to startups though, and Sureify and ForMotiv are expanding their partnership. The intent is to help insurers provide personalised, dynamic experiences based on an applicant’s behaviour on their platform.

ForMotiv is a provider of digital behavioural science and user intent scoring solutions. And Sureify offers a modular Lifetime platform designed to enhance the life insurance industry.

And finally, life insurance platform, Afficiency has announced a $7M Series A.

They aim to simplify the distribution of life insurance products for carriers via an API.

Afficiency develops products with its carrier and reinsurance partners, offering a range of whole life, disability and universal life insurance. The funding will help the company to launch new products and forge new partnerships.

New home insurance for the Dutch

Digital B2B2C insurer, iptiQ and Independer – a financial aggregator based in the Netherlands’, are bringing a new home insurance offering to the Dutch market.

The new brand is called Mintley and combine’s iptiQ’s insurance and Independer’s domestic market knowledge to create a tailored proposition.

I look forward to seeing how this one plays out. I’m a big fan of what iptiQ are up to at the mo.

Another interesting one I picked out this week was Legal and General investing in Smartr365 again (it’s been supporting the business since 2018).

The UK startup helps digitise the (long-winded) mortgage fact find process in what is a heavily brokered space.  It claims it helps 3.5k broker clients and saw growth of 500% in 2021.

The company plans to use the new funding to integrate Experian‘s Work Report tool – enabling users to access their payslips at source and automate the income verification process.

Thank God someone is tackling this stuff.

Finally, Minut, the Swedish startup that makes a rental monitoring sensor has landed a $14m Series B.

The sensor – sold for about $50 plus a $150-a-year subscription – monitors noise, occupancy, motion and temperature in vacation rental properties. It will let you know if your Airbnb guests are throwing a wild party, for example.

Interesting, right?

From vintage cars to autonomous vehicles

What do you do when you have too many vintage cars to drive?

You head to ASCAR of course.

These guys have partnered with Wakam to offer multi-owner car customers a super slick, app-based experience that provides a reduced premium when the cars are in the garage.

A box is installed inside the vehicles which acts as a reminder for the customer, sending an SMS notifying to activate their daily insurance.

Nice. I just need a vintage car collection and I’m in.

At the other end of the car spectrum, autonomous startup Koop Technologies has launched its Singularity Platform – an API-based platform which can estimate the insurability of autonomous systems.

I find this super interesting.

It’s designed for autonomous vehicle data sharing, underwriting and claims handling.

The intention is to enable the commercialisation of autonomous vehicles by addressing the insurance gap in the category.

A couple of others…

AI data analytics firm Greater Than has announced that its DriverDNA, which predicts car crashes, will be a standalone product.

DriverDNA is a cloud-based AI data analysis engine (catchy) which has identified “7 billion unique driver DNAs”.

The engine compiles different driving data into scores which then provide accurate pricing. The updated offering will enable it to operate with any installed telematics system via one single API.

And finally, Italian company Whoosnap has secured €5.5m to strengthen its video and photograph-based claim management business – Insoore.

Insoore offers an alternative claims management model. Their platform allows insurance and fleet management companies to digitise and accelerate processes by providing access to a community of users available to make certified video-photographic documentation.

Cali wildfires, Canadian floods

Great to see Cali-based Zesty.AI securing $10m in venture debt financing.

Zesty uses AI to deliver climate risks assessments for insurance companies. It considers a wide range of climate risks including wildfires, wind and hailstorms and helps insurers, such as Berkshire Hathaway, improve their underwriting.

The fresh funds will help grow its insurance portfolio and expand its use cases in real estate.

Heading further north and Geosapiens, a Canadian company specialising in flood risk modelling and analysis, has closed its first funding round.

In a country where 20% of the population live in areas prone to flooding, the investment will help Geosapiens deploy its flooding model across Canada by the end of the year.

Commercial underwriting’s new entrants

I’ve been loving a bit of underwriting innovation lately. Something I definitely wouldn’t have imagined writing as a kid.

A couple of interesting early-stage businesses to keep a track of – Wenalyse and Relativity6.

Wenalyse, based out of Spain, has just raised $1.8m. What I love about these guys is just how ambitious they are. Their plan is to consolidate their presence in Spain, UK and Germany whilst exploring new European markets.

The Valencia-based company is focused on using open data analytics to help insurers improve their data quality and automate underwriting. Its core solutions automatically collects data to help insurers increase the efficiency and precision of commercial lines risks.

The other, Relativity6, has just raised $5m.

These guys streamline underwriting by tackling the issue of gaining up-to-date details on businesses from their 6-digit industry classification. They find and retrieve the most up-to-date data and can feed it through in real-time via API.

Super niche, super simple. But it can make a massive difference to the speed and accuracy of this process.

Now for a few good ‘uns that I couldn’t find a natural home for…

Mapping brain waves for when we visit Mars

Data collection and neuroscience fusion startup has landed a $8.5m Seed.

The startup offers a unique helmet that can map brain waves designed to be used by astronauts on long term space missions to the Moon or even Mars.

Astronauts’ health parameters such as heart rate, oxygen levels, body mass are already being monitored. Just not the brain.

The helmet has 460 sensors that can rotate to fit a person’s scalp and read signals.

It can’t be long before we’re all needing this, right?

Applying innovation from outside of insurance

A great one from bolttech where David Lynch, their CTO, talks about how computer vision designed to look through rock samples for mineral fragments was applied to mobile phone screen protection.

Definitely worth a watch.

Service outage when cashing in your Bitcoin

Somewhat closer to home, Parametrix – the provider of technology downtime insurance, announced Cloud Downtime Insurance for Crypto.

It’s a product they’re making available to insure crypto companies against cloud outages.

Should a crypto exchange, wallet, DeFi platform become inaccessible due to an outage of a public cloud provider, it will enable the crypto company to help protect its customers from losses.

I hadn’t realised downtime was such a big thing but apparently 45% of crypto users have experienced a service outage on a platform they use for trading crypto. And as a result, weren’t able to access their accounts or funds at some point in time. Not the best.

German insurance for non-German speakers

I always love to see new businesses creating new markets.

And that’s true for Berlin-based Feather, which has raised $4.1m.

Launched in 2018 it targets (mainly) expats who don’t speak German and offers personal liability, household contents, health and legal insurance.

Unlike many/most, it’s already profitable, having assisted 30k customers from 150 countries off the back of a $109k investment by Entrepreneur First.

Two things to finish with:

F10 / HITS-Generali – Accelerator

The first is a shout out to startups for F10’s next Accelerator programme.

F10, together with HITS-Generali, are looking for growth-stage Fintechs and Insurtechs.  The accelerator is equity-free with the aim to create a successful collaboration with HITS-Generali.

The two areas they’re looking at:
Financial Wellbeing : For more information visit here and apply here
Insurance Distribution: For more information visit here and apply here

Other perks include exposure to all corporate partners, 360 startup analysis to speed up collaboration, access to mentors and investors and more.

You can find more information about the program on the F10 website.

Spøtlight Interview – Dr. Itay Bengad, CEO of Sensa.

Last, and definitely not least, a brilliant interview with Dr. Itay Bengad, the CEO of Sensa.

I raved on about these guys a few weeks back. They have developed an Accident Detection & Response solution that autonomously sends detailed accident information to first responders and insurers within moments of a car crash.

Emily, Sønr’s Head of Research, caught up with Itay to talk through the business, the technology behind it and some of the plans it has for the coming years.

Well worth a read.

That’s me done.

Somehow, I got roped into a 100km bike race tomorrow so let’s hope chasing a little man around a mountain translates to some kind of fitness.

Have a good one.





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