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Hi folks, Diccon here on the bridge of the good ship Sønr, standing in once again for Matt, our CEO. I hope this finds you well as winter closes in on us here in the UK.

Matt is actually back from his break in Canada now, and he claims that the timing of his trip had absolutely nothing to do with the recent legalisation of marijuana over there. That said, I’m going to hold off on the cookies and sweets he brought back for the office until someone else has tried them. Oh, and don’t be surprised if Tällt pivots away from Insurance into ‘Green’ tech in the near future.
The price of comparison

In other news from N America, we’ve been following with interest the news around price comparison websites (PCWs) in the US, as UK insurer Admiral sold part of their stake in Virginia-based aggregator Compare.com at a reduced valuation to Diane Engelhardt, wife of the former Admiral CEO Henry Engelhardt.

This, against the backdrop of struggles for other PCWs including CoverHound, points to a challenging future for price comparison in the US. But why? Are they failing to keep up with customer expectations while laser-focused insurtechs put the consumer at the heart of their products? Email me if you'd like to hear what I think.

ROBO = Research Online, Buy Offline

And if that is the case, what do we make of the State Farm vs Lemonade malarky which led to Lemonade paying to promote State Farm’s frankly bizarre attack ad? Are the bods at State Farm genuinely spooked by the digital upstart or are they just enjoying a joke at Lemonade’s expense?
Maybe the vast majority of the US market just isn’t ready to say goodbye to their friendly local agent and buy online? They wouldn't be the only ones - in January, I met with Indian aggregator Turtlemint who struggled for traction at launch with their digital-only PCW, but quickly found success when they pivoted into a B2B2C sales platform as well as a training app for new would-be agents. They thought the future of their insurance market lay in a digital experience, and it might. Just not yet.

Bean counters

Speaking of the future of price comparison, we were excited to read about the BGL Group’s acquisition of Open Banking startup Bean.

BGL - a Tällt client, incidentally - is best known for the non-dom meerkat oligarchs who (I believe) are the brains behind Comparethemarket.com - the #1 PCW in the UK.
This acquisition marks the first steps by BGL into the Open Banking market - a sign of their ambition and also a validation that the open data / platform model embodied by open banking tech is a promising one for the future; not just in personal banking but across the full range of financial services. We're thrilled for BGL and have loved being part of their venturing journey so far.

Scan the market

Identifying and understanding key future trends and what they mean for your business is at the heart of why we built Sønr - our market scanning tool made for anyone that needs to track startups, investment and technology across the insurance sector and beyond. If that sounds like something you could use, shout about booking a demo!
That’s all I’ve got for you in this week’s newsletter, so I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. If not, Matt should be back in the hotseat next time so please don’t unsubscribe until then as it will make me look bad. 

If you have any good tips on Canadian gardening ventures, American robots or Russian rodents, or if you want to book that Sønr demo, my emails are always open.

Bye for now.

Diccon
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