Elton John, non-insurance innovation and new Sønr clients

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Welcome to my fortnightly flagellation.
 
I’m not sure why, 18 months back, I couldn’t have just started coaching the local Under 6 rugby team. Or spending every other Friday with Elton John planting trees, off-setting my carbon footprint.
 
Instead, I write Sø.Nws – a write up of the latest insurance innovation from around the world, written by a man who absolutely hates writing.
 
This week I want to change it up a little.
 
Recently my news feeds have been a little WeWork, Peleton and Uber heavy. Throw in Brexit, Trump and HK/China, and well, I haven’t wanted to read much more.
 
And I’ve the same feeling towards ‘insurtech’ at the moment. It seems to be the same stories regurgitated across a bunch of different sources.
 
And so for something different - emergent tech companies you may not already know, innovation from outside insurance, and some chat about a quite stunning insurance-specific intelligence platform called Sønr.
 
Let us begin.
 
The rise of the global bots
To start with, some guys who have an office below ours in Bristol.
 
AI startup Adarga has closed a £5m series A. Having set up in 2016 it helps financial institutions (and others) crunch vast amounts of data to identify possible threats before they occur. If you’re in the world of terrorism risk, it’s one to check out for sure.
 
Let’s hope they go easy when the beer trolley comes around later.

Keeping with AI, and Singapore based Panda.ai has launched its latest engine – TE01. Catchy.
 
The long and short it’s now more accurate than ever.
 
Whilst Panda.ai is known for its work with the big banks it’s stepping into insurance and announcing a roll-out of its tech across Great Eastern Life’s agents, handling enquiries on claims and policies.
 
Across the world and yet another conversational AI banking platform. Kasisto - a New York crew this time - is stepping into insurance. This time off the back of a $15m Series B raise.
 
Final AI chat is the YCombinator backed Covela, a first-of-its-kind robo-broker that’s launched in Mexico. Targeting the 25 million SMEs across Latin America, it uses a bunch of smart tech to advise companies on their ideal coverage and provides a platform for policy management.
 
 
The ever converging worlds of banking and insurance
A couple close to home to kick off with.
 
Earlier in the year Monzo, a much-loved UK based challenger bank, tested a bunch of new features. Roll forward a few months and having taken onboard customer feedback, they’ve grouped these features into 3 bundles:

Amongst other things, The Traveller includes worldwide travel insurance thanks to AXA, and The Home includes contents insurance from Urban Jungle.
 
As for The Supporter, well there’s no insurance in that one although you do get sent Monzo ‘swag’ throughout the year. Oh and you can get your card in Hot Coral. Where’s that face palm emoji?
 
Another British challenger bank is Starling.  I remember chatting with Anne Boden, its founder, a few years back and couldn’t help but feel they were getting left behind by the Monzos of the world.
 
That was until they opened up its business – integrating 3rd party products into its core platform and opening its API to permissioned externals. This week its Martketplace extended to include Digital Risks and CyberSmart.
 
But the shift isn’t all banks stepping into insurance.
 
China’s insurance giant PingAn has a fintech unit, OneConnect, which is looking to secure a wholesale banking license. Of course it is. When Tällt’s valued at $217 billion, we might do the same.
 
 
I went for a run. Now where’s my reward?
The behavioural science behind changing a person’s relationship with health and exercise never fails to amaze me. What happened to taking individual responsibility? Why does everything have to be gamified?
 
The irony of me writing that whilst sitting in front of the Tällt running leaderboard doesn’t escape me. And if you were interested, it’s our CTO Dan who is the front-runner this week.
 
First up is The Care Voice’s just-launched Vibrant Program. On the surface it looks like the standard wearable device-led employee benefits program. Something I’ve not seen before however is the ability to compare fitness with your colleagues…whilst drinking beer (or in the lady’s case a bottle of Lea & Perrins).  

This week we also clocked that CXA Group was looking to raise another £50m. Founded in 2013, CXA aggregates a mix of insurance and wellness benefits providers and is on a mission to get companies spending on health prevention rather than treatment. It makes sense.
 
Speaking of CXA – we interviewed Founder and CEO Rosaline Chow Koo recently.
Before I wrap up the market news, a kind-of-related health one.
 
A doctor in India has performed a series of five percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedures on patients who were 20 miles away from him. Don’t worry, I didn’t know what that meant either. A PCI is the use of a catheter to place a stent to open up blood vessels in the heart.
 
When you blend the advances in robotics, telemedicine, mixed reality, and communications tech, it’s pretty amazing to think how the world might change. Especially in remote and rural places.
 
Personally, I’m still struggling to get a car fully round a Scalextric set.
 
 
You guys are ace. How do you know so much?
Well, firstly that’s very kind of you.
 
It’s pretty easy really. Mainly because we have built the world’s most comprehensive data on insurance innovation globally; tracking the innovation across c.1.5 million companies at any given time.
 
But that’s not the best bit.
 
We serve this data, and the insight and trends drawn from it, through our subscription platform Sønr, specifically built for the insurance sector.
 
Sønr also contains a set of tools that helps you better scan, track and manage your innovation scouting. Basically make you and your teams hugely more effective and efficient.
 
  • Want to keep a record of who you’ve met and what you talked about?
  • Want to check which of your colleagues has met with a startup?
  • Want to stop jumping on monthly internal calls and talking through what you’ve been up to (whilst someone takes notes and sticks it on a shared powerpoint!)?  
 
We’ve got you covered.
Drop us a line at demos@sonr.global and we’ll give you a tour around.
 
--
 
Okay, enough sell from me.
 
If you have a project in mind or want to know about how we might work together I would genuinely love to hear from you.
 
This past fortnight we’ve onboarded insurance companies from Germany, New Zealand and Canada. And I couldn’t be prouder.
 
We’ve built an amazing product in Sønr and I love seeing it evolve alongside the people who are using it.
 
I’ll send a separate note another time showing off some of the latest tracking and collaboration features.
 
For now though, time to enjoy the sunshine. Have a good weekend.
 
Matt
 
 
Sø.Nws is brought to you by Sønr, which in turn was created by Tällt. 

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