It’s Friday. It’s been two weeks. It’s SøNws time.
But today, it’s the ‘other Matt’ holding the pen (keyboard?), so where to start? For me it’s a mix of things.
I love the start of the year. It’s frenetic, there’s a big to-do list but energy to do it.
And it feels like that’s reflected in the market and both our friends and clients’ worlds too. So, what’s happening?
We’ve talked before about our US plans and this week has seen Matt C head over to Colorado with the gang at Insurtech Slopes. Apparently a great meet up and opportunity to pick investor and fellow founders’ brains alike. And ski. Note to self: must get better at rock, paper, scissors.
(Much) more on some exciting plans to come.
It’s a Lloyds Lab 1, 2
1. Cohort 10
You know the drill. Applications are open. The deadline’s looming (12th Feb). Apply here.
2. Routes to fundraising success
On the 8th of Feb the Lloyd’s Lab team are bringing together investors representing a range of stages. They’ll be sharing what they look for from pitches, the investment landscape as well as the nuances of raising capital in the insurance industry.
We need to give a shout out to the Generali team who are proud sponsors of the Startup Showcase at ITI – a competition taking place on day 2, to find early-stage startup talent.
A day’s worth of startup pitches, judged by some of the leading names in insurance will result in (I’m reliably informed) an unmissable announcement of the winner… who will be offered a pilot with Generali. How good is that?! The deadline for submissions is today so APPLY NOW.
More broadly, if you’re heading to Insurtech Insights London then please do get in touch. It’s a perfect opportunity to ask us those burning questions, whether they’re ‘can you help me understand what’s going on in the elder care market?’ or ‘how do you type the ‘Ø’ in Sønr?’.
Drop us a line on Brella or get in touch direct – we’d love to meet/chat/help.
Now, it’s on to some news.
Cyber. Health. Life.
I can’t help but do one of those deep ‘movie intro voices’ when I write this but they’re three sectors we’ve seen a tonne of activity in over the past fortnight.
We can get lost in the detail of course, but perhaps unsurprising when you look at such profound protection gaps, growing market challenges but absolute underlying consumer needs for support.
Let’s start with cyber
For me, the range of recent news stories in this growing sector shows the degree of change – with new product launches, growth, fundraising and broker education all making the headlines in the last two weeks. And more than one mention of (re)insurers too.
First up is CloudCover in partnership with Munich Re. They’ve announced the launch of a new cyber insurance market category – cybersecurity embedded network-centric cyber insurance.
Or what translates into a risk awareness, control and transfer platform, backed by a $1million warranty in the event of CloudCover not protecting you. Inevitable fine print aside, this sounds like a very sensible combination to me. Let’s see how it goes.
Next up is Israeli startup, Guardz. They’ve announced a sizeable $10m seed round for their SME-focussed cyber security. Not only does this directly protect this underserved and massive market, but also enables them to access cyber insurance… something they’re often ineligible for without, you guessed it, comprehensive cyber protection. A big congrats to the team.
Still with the SME theme, but moving into education now. Industry darling Cowbell have launched the Cowbell Academy – an e-learning centre for the 48% of brokers and agents who feel uncomfortable explaining cyber insurance to end-customers. That’s a BIG stat but a reassuringly simple solution.
Another high-profile name in this space and also SME-linked is Coalition. They’ve teamed up with Zurich to launch a new protection product to protect small businesses from 1. criminal activity involving both third parties and their own employees and 2. as well as against negligence and mismanagements of benefits plans.
Finally, another big congrats this time to the BOXX Insurance team who announced $14m Series B round. Led by Zurich, the round comes off the back of 10x growth in the past two years and recent acquisition of cyber security platform, Templarbit.
There has been some great commentary from the past week or so on the Digital Health landscape in 2022. To really butcher it – a big drop in funding in 2022 from 2021, but still trending upwards compared with 2020.
Some other interesting stories also caught my eye.
Efficacy is a hot topic when it comes to digital services – particularly in mental health. Limbic Access’ AI chatbot has become the first in the world to achieve Class IIa UKCA medical device certification. That’s a big deal and surely got to be something we see more of in the future.
In not so positive, but increasingly common news in the sector comes Teladoc’s announcement of job losses 6% of its non-clinician workforce. That’s 300 people.
There was some interesting commentary from Andrew Johnston and the Gallagher Re team on the swathe of layoffs the sector is experiencing in their Q4 review – it’s often driven by the re-organisation that’s needed with fast-growing companies as well as just running out of cash. Seems to be the line from Teladoc on this too.
Finally, two great examples of businesses seeking to serve an underserved market. It’s been a staple of conversations with clients of late (or at least I keep talking at them about it)… so here’s Genki and Included Health:
Genki, the startup focused on health for digital nomads, launched, an international health plan for long-term digital nomads and their families. Treatment anywhere in the world, insurers handle payment and an optional deductible. Simple. Aligned to customer needs. What insurance should be, right?
Included Health have further expanded their partnerships for their LGBTQ+ care platform. The market seems to be seeing growing demand and with a cited 40% of LGBTQ+ individuals having been discriminated against in seeking healthcare there’s an acute need. Interesting to watch Included as they also recently partnered with SCAN Health Plan to expand into the elder care market.
Life, only better
First up is M&A news with the CLARK Group’s acquisition of UK-based Anorak as it continues to expand its presence in the UK. If you don’t know, Anorak was founded in 2017 and provides a mobile app through which customers can manage their life insurance.
Funding news now and given their significance to most insurer’s book, brokers often seem to get a bit overlooked. So it’s great to see iLife Technologies raise a $17m Series A round for their term-life insurance sales platform for brokers, which offers a comparison quoting tool for their customers.
Then we come to Life insurtech, Ladder. I had the pleasure of grabbing a coffee (and sharing a stage) with their CEO Jamie Hale in Vegas and it was genuinely brilliant to hear their customer focussed approach to product development. So it’s kind of unsurprising to see them teaming up with AmeriSave Mortgage. Help to provide a seamless, comprehensive protection offering right at the point of a major life event… what’s not to like.
Oh, and finally comes news from SunLife who with iptiQ (Swiss Re’s digital B2B2C insurer) have launched a life insurance product for UK-based customers over 50. The new solution runs on a digital end-to-end platform and accelerates claims processing amongst other features. It’s such a massive and growing market and so I’m always interesting to see developments in this space – and particularly outside of the US.
Last orders please!
That’s nearly it from me, but to round off the updates…
Pet-related news with Vet-AI, who partnered with Waggel to offer policyholders unlimited access to Vet’s-AI’s app, Joii Pet Care. Waggel cat and dog insurance customers can now benefit from Joii Pet Care’s 24/7 vet video consultations, which usually cost £24 per call, as well as vet nurse consultations and an innovative symptom checker.
Not to be outdone are veterinary telemedicine company FirstVet. They’ve partnered with Fletch to embed a pet insurance marketplace for its US users. Founded in 2016, FirstVet raised $96m and now operate in the US, UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland.
Finally, it’s been all over the news but as we work with both Chaucer and the Lloyds Lab, we were really pleased to see carbon insurtech specialist Kita announce their partnership with Chaucer. It’ll see them insure the delivery risk of carbon sequestration projects. Kita’s first product, Carbon Purchase Protection Cover, insures the buyer of forward purchased carbon credits against delivery risk, removing a significant protection gap. Chaucer is investing in Kita as well as providing lead underwriting capacity with Munich Re and Lloyd’s involved also.
That’s it from me. Now that SøNws is out of the way I’m going to celebrate with a relaxing 3-hour drive to South London for my nephew’s 1st birthday party…
Thanks for having me and please do get in touch about meeting up at ITI. We’d love to catch up!
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