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A week in Japan is hard to beat.

Yet last week was pretty special. For a mix of reasons:

  1. A few days in Milan to explore the business case for using Apple Vision Pro across Generali’s Global Corporate & Commercial community.  It’s a good one. More below 👨🏼‍💼
  2. A few days of mountain goodness (and amazing snow) with the family ⛷️
  3. A coffee with my late dad’s best mate in Bergamo before heading home. He’s an 86-year-old Italian chap and couldn’t make it over to the funeral last year. Beyond special to see him ❤️

You’ve got to cherish the moments, right?

Open Innovation Study

As a reminder, we’re running a big old study on Open Innovation interviewing 100+ (re)insurers and brokers around the world. A huge thank you to all those already involved (and apologies for being slow at setting up a follow-on interview – I’ll be in touch next week, I promise!).

Even at this stage, there are some incredibly interesting insights. A key one being the changing role of innovation in these large corporates and the expectations for the coming few years.

If you’d like to get involved, please drop me a line and I can send more details.

All information is 100% confidential and you’ll receive early access to the data, insights and benchmarks ahead of the paper’s public release.

Generali – mapping new technologies to today’s business opportunities

  • 1000+ tech providers.
  • 70 deep-dives.
  • 4 selected.
  • 1 PoC.

End-to-end, in just 6-weeks.

There’s something incredibly futuristic about wearing headsets and reimaging the world around us. Whilst some of the tech is super early in its deployment the crucial element is it has been deployed. And with that comes the opportunity to experiment.

Working with Generali’s GC&C team, we went deep into how VR and AR can support risk engineering and loss prevention teams around the world.  Exploring the business impact – both with respect to cost savings and new opportunity creation, on Generali’s business today and in the future.

The business case is huge. In fact, surprisingly huge.

Sønr’s role in this? We did the scouting and partnership day facilitation. The objective being to identify the best-in-class provider to deliver a PoC and have the vision and capabilities to partner with globally.

There’s a lot to love about this – both in terms of the process, but also culture and commitment on both sides. Exploring big ideas, providing budget and resource to make them happen, and working so collaboratively (shout out to Pan and Adrian!), it’s a model we see as intensive for a short period but shows just how quickly great ideas can be validated.

If you’d like to know more about this process or would like to do something similar for you organisation, do get in touch.

Also, a big thanks and shoutout to Danilo and Emanuele of the Generali innovation team. My favourite moment was chatting with Emanuele and him congratulating me on running the Brighton marathon…only to discover he was following a far fitter and healthier Matt Connolly on Strava!

Life, health and Coverager vs ITI

Let’s kick off with the more positive.

On the health side MassMutual has furthered its partnership with Genomics plc to broaden its genetic testing program.

Coming from a science background the ability to identify an individual’s absolute risk of disease amazes me. It feels more sci-fi than walking around wearing VR headsets.

The partnership allows MassMutual to offer policyholders, aged 35-70, a saliva-based polygenic risk assessment for eight major diseases. The results remain private and do not affect insurance premiums or policies. Love it.

Jumping to the other side of the world, India’s ClaimBuddy, has pulled in a $5m Series A. Let’s hope we see more from these guys over the coming months and years. It’s early days but they’ve a big old market to make a difference within.

On the life side it looks like Lemonade had dropped Bestow and partnered up with Banner Life.

You can find more on this here.

And if you do follow the link, have a read of the comments. This grabbed me particularly:

One day I’ll get AI to write SøNws.
What a beautiful day that’ll be.

Actually, before signing off this section, one last Lemonade bit of news.

In partnership with BNP Paribas Cardif, they’ve launched their homeowners insurance in France. There, done.

Floods, BI and Earth Observation

As the Atlantic hurricane season approaches, Floodflash has introduced a new product offering business interruption (BI) coverage in the US.

Flood BI, as it’s quite suitably named, product provides parametric claim payments, addressing non-damage BI and denial of access. The audience of this is a mix of hotels, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, and education, the policy triggered by a pre-agreed water depth measured by FloodFlash’s proprietary sensors.

Another bit of interesting flood-related activity is ICEYE partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Together, they want to enhance the understanding of flood impacts, improve response strategies, and bolster public health and safety measures. Nice.

A couple of days back ICEYE also announced landing a $93 million growth funding round.

A standout from the press release was hearing from Rafal Modrzewski, ICEYE’s CEO and Co-Founder:

“This backing from the domestic and international investment community shows trust in ICEYE’s vision to improve life on Earth by becoming the global source of truth in Earth Observation.”

Now that’s a big vision, right?
Love it.

Keeping current with the latest waves in marine innovation

From floods to marine.

Cytora has partnered with Tradeatlas – a global trade commerce website, to bring a whole load of critical data into the Cytora platform.

TradeAtlas collects and analyses data from 30 million importers and 27 million suppliers. It also has 2.8 billion lines of transactions and information on shipments, business addresses, HS codes, etc.

Looks like a very smart move and I’ve no doubt it will be super valuable.

Another that grabbed me this week is Starboard Maritime Intelligence, a New Zealand startup that has raised a $4.6m Seed round.

I like these guys.

Developed alongside both government and private users in New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific their SaaS product helps tackle illegal fishing, transnational crime, prevent biosecurity outbreaks, and protects at-sea assets.

And it does this by analysing more than 4,000 vessel positions a second to flag significant maritime activity. Super smart.

Farming to renewables

Now supporting over 15 million farmers, Pula, a Kenyan insurtech, has raised $20m Series B.

The plan is to expand its agricultural insurance offerings to small-holder farmers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

If you don’t know these guys and you’re in this area of the world, check them out:

In the US, kWh Analytics is now able to underwrite up to $75m per renewable energy project location thanks to having new insurance capacity from Aspen Insurance to support them.

KWh Analytics, a solar risk management and data analytics company, leverages its proprietary database of over 300,000 operating renewable energy assets to underwrite risk transfer products on behalf of their insurance partners.

It also has full delegated authority to cover accounts comprising of up to 100% of operational solar and/or battery energy storage systems projects and up to 50% of wind and/or construction accounts.

As their strapline says: Less risk, less cost, more renewables.

And the rest of the market

Just occasionally SøNws gets the better of me. Today is one of those days. Way too many meetings and not enough writing time.

A quick run through of the remainder:

Embedded – Tokopedia, a leading e-commerce platform in Indonesia, has partnered with Igloo in Singapore, to provide insurance for consumers and micro to medium-sized enterprises. Included in this is health, life and motor.

Property – Honey Insurance, an Australian smart-home insurer, has secured a $108m Series A. Nice work. Interestingly still no plans to head overseas but rather double down on the domestic market.

Bike – one of my favourites, Laka, an embedded microinsurance company, has brought in more funding. This time from Achmea Innovation Fund. This will help fuel the European expansion as well as support launching new products including insurance for e-mopeds, e-scooters, and e-cars. Love it.

Cyber – finally Nymiz, a cybersecurity company based in the Basque region, has secured €2.8m. This investment will enable them to strengthen capabilities in protecting data privacy and security.

The business case for Sønr

Back from the mountains to a week of crunching data.

We’re in conversations with a large insurer who is keen to better drill into the ROI behind the Sønr value prop. And so, we had a look at the latest data.

Actually, a quick pause for those who read this who aren’t familiar with Sønr. Skip the next bit if you are 😉

We help insurance companies, around the world, scout and connect with best-in-class investment, acquisition and partnership opportunities.

In doing so, we save them a tonne of time (efficiency gains and reduce duplicated effort), a tonne of money (improved decision making), accelerate and increase innovation activity (more dealflows coupled with more internal idea generated) and strengthen competitive positioning (deeper market intel and actionable insights).
-Nice, huh?Anyways, back to it. Two big numbers.

As an average across ~50 insurance companies:

  1. Time saved 200% ROI
  2. Research >50% cheaper (and whole load quicker and higher quality!) than the typical consultancies

And this is before we look at the less tangible measures of opportunity creation and cost savings.

Anecdotally, for one client, 40% of all their open innovation opportunities (partnerships & investments) now come from Sønr. That I’m proud of. Especially considering the 10s of $millions they’re putting into it.

For another, we’ve saved them $millions (alright, only a few…but still!) by simply giving them a better centralised view of innovation activity – from scouting globally to deployed PoCs and projects.

If you’d like more on any of the above or explore the value we could bring to your company, get in touch.

Right, that’s me.

A shout to Stacey Brown for pulling together what looked like a great Insurtech Hartford Symposium. Gutted I couldn’t make it over.

The sun is shining. The dog needs a run (as do I after way too many bowls of carbonara last week).

Big love. Have good weekends.


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