Gemini, specialty innovation and WTW

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Step aside ChatGPT, Gemini has arrived.
Well, kinda. You might want to wait a few more months until Gemini Ultra hits the shelves. That’s where things get seriously interesting.

When comparing Ultra it has outperformed ChatGPT at pretty much every level:

Now, from tech innovation to good old business model innovation.

This week I stumbled across a super simple but brilliant business idea. You know one of those you wish you’d come up with yourself? Yeah, that.

Manta Ray EV, based out of the UK no less, is creating an Airbnb-like experience for EV charging – connecting at-home and private EV charging points with those who need to plug-in.

It uses blockchain tech to transparently distribute control of its network to the community members who contribute to building it.

It uses comprehensive identity verification and authentication and plans to include Damage Protection Insurance. Interestingly it’s also already partnered with EV Charge Point Installers to provide maintenance and repair services.

Nice, right?

Let’s get into some insurance innovation updates from the past couple of weeks.

Property – building a clearer picture of risk

On the M&A side of things Nearmap – a location intelligence and aerial imagery provider, is set to acquire Betterview (one of our Insurtech 100 from last year), a property intelligence and risk management platform.

The acquisition will integrate Betterview’s AI solutions into Nearmap’s tech stack. In turn this will strengthen the visualisation and risk management capabilities for carriers.

On the investment side, not a biggie in financial terms, but intelligent water leak insurtech Ondo has raised just over £1m to support its growth in the US and elsewhere.

With the announcement they also put out some interim results which are worth a dig into – 77% growth in its customer base (now at 84,000) during the six months to 30 September 2023. Revenue increased by 24% to £1.2m, and unit sales up 61%, reaching 19,000 units.

And finally, on the partnership front, Cytora has come together with ZestyAI.
ZestyAI’s climate risk models, accessible within the Cytora platform, offer a holistic view of a property’s risk exposure to natural disasters. Something that’s becoming ever more important for a bunch of our clients.

The integration expedites workflows, straight-through processing of low risks, and scales underwriting capacity where needed. All good stuff.

NatCat innovation from around the world

Keeping with NatCat and New York’s Floodbase has partnered with London’s Oneglobal to develop and distribute parametric-based flood insurance products in Asia.

The pair originally met through the Lloyd’s Lab. Now, if you happen to be in this space and don’t know Floodbase, do check them out. A seriously strong founding team and a great product.

One at an early stage but another interesting concept is CatX, a UK-based digital marketplace for insurance risk, which raised a $2.7m Seed round this week.

The company is a fully regulated digital marketplace for insurance risk. In a quote from Benedict Altier, co-founder and CEO of CatX says:

“In an era where the frequency and intensity of catastrophes are on the rise, the need for adequate capital to safeguard against these risks has never been more important. By channelling alternative capital into insurance, we’re not only helping to close the growing protection gap but also unlocking a promising new asset class for investors.”

From New York to London to Africa – Aon is collaborating with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and AI innovator Amini. Their ambition is to increase crop insurance capacity in Africa and support smallholder farmers.

The partnership will use Amini’s farm-level data to develop de-risking solutions and monitor the changing risk environment across the continent. This data will help farmers make much-needed informed decisions, improving resilience and yields.

It will also help Aon’s clients – well those with significant exposure to the agricultural insurance sector in Africa, better manage the impacts of climate risk. Win-win.

Cargo (and advent calendar) theft innovation

Wow, it’s a real specialty-focussed SøNws this week.

If you’re reading this and your world is car insurance, or health, or I don’t know, you want to know the latest on embedded…I promise I’ll get to it.

For now, though I’m doubling down on cargo insurance. Oh yeah.

A few partnerships to report on:
Redkik (a Forward50 Americas company) has come together with ShipPrimus TMS to streamline cargo insurance procurement for businesses.

The integration allows customers to purchase Redkik’s insurance solutions directly within the ShipPrimus TMS platform, eliminating manual data entry and providing protection for shipments throughout the supply chain.

Similarly, Breeze has partnered with Barrington Freight to improve and streamline the cargo insurance process.

The integration allows Barrington to offer comprehensive cargo protection for every shipment, using Breeze’s AI-driven platform to optimise quote generation, policy binding, and claims processing.

A somewhat unique partnership is Cover Genius and online marketplace Catawiki.

As you might expect from Cover Genius, the insurance is embedded within Catawiki’s shipping process. What’s interesting is the solution supports the wide breadth of packages available on Catawiki, aiming to enhance customer satisfaction and retention.

From partnerships to new products. Another simple but effective one, this time from Overhaul.

These guys are a leader in supply chain visibility and risk management and have launched the Intelligent Door Seal Solution. I’m not sure you need me to explain it much more…right?

Okay, I will.

The solution uses a smart door seal with Bluetooth and GPS to notify users when a trailer door is opened. You’re welcome. I think I might need something similar on next year’s advent calendar.

On the funding side, Paris-based company Wakeo raised €18m bringing its total funding to over €30m.

Wakeo operates in over 180 countries and its solution helps organisations reduce their carbon footprint. It does this by offering real-time visibility on intercontinental multimodal freight transport flows, helping supply chain leaders optimise transport plans and improve inventory management.

Open innovation and accelerating cyber

And yet more partnerships this week.

Cyberwrite, a provider of AI-driven cyber insurance solutions, has partnered with MAPFRE.

The partnership aims to strengthen the cybersecurity of SMEs and improve MAPFRE’s understanding of cyber risk during the subscription and renewal of cyber insurance. This comes as cyber threats intensify, with the cost of cyberattacks projected to triple to a whopping $23.84tn by 2027.

A second partnership is Millennial Shift Technologies Inc. (mShift) coming together with CyberCube, a cyber risk analytics platform, to automate cyber insurance analytics delivery.

mShift will integrate with CyberCube’s Broking Manager software to generate targeted information on a client’s cyber risk profile. This partnership intends to provide transparency to the SME insurance market, allowing clients to compare financial exposure to cyber events against proposed limits.

Motor, health and embedded

I promised I’d include a little something on these topics and here it is.
One from motor – UK-based fleet insurer, Flock, has partnered with NIG.

The partnership will offer a fully digital insurance management portal, rebates for safer driving, and safety and claims workshops.

Two from health, both of which I find particularly interesting.

Talkspace, an online therapy company, has partnered with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to launch NYC TeenSpace.

This is a program that offers free tele-mental health services to over 400,000 adolescents and teens in New York City. How amazing is that? The service will allow teenagers aged 13-17 to connect with a licensed therapist via phone, video, and text. The three-year contract for the program is valued at $26 million.

Also, Dacadoo has teamed up with bEHR Health Systems, an organisation which is focused on increasing health literacy among African Americans.

The latter will integrate dacadoo’s data into their health education programs, enabling their end users to receive personalised insights and actionable insights, with the aim of providing relevant and accessible health information and tools. Again, just brilliant.

Last but not least, embedded.

Mulberri, an embedded insurance platform for small and medium enterprises, has just landed a $6.75m Series A led by Eos Venture Partners.

These guys (Mulberri that is) provide custom-fit solutions for small and medium enterprises through deep partnerships in the HR, benefits, and payroll sectors and other affinity SME channels.

Right, that’s me done.

In fact, before I go, I hope you’ll have seen this one already…

It’s been an incredible year of welcoming new clients to Sønr and we’re super proud our platform is being used by the team at WTW for their innovation scouting. It’s another very beautiful collaboration.

On that note, keep an eye out for another new client announcement next week 🙂

Have a good weekend. Drop me a line if you’d like to connect.


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