They come around fast these Sø.Nws updates. Two highlights this week.
The first was following on from the cultural training we’d organised for next week’s trip to China. Our client brought in their infosec guy to run a few security best practices.
I’m paraphrasing somewhat but he opened with (and this needs to be read in the voice of a straight-talking, droll northerner):
“If you’re the kind of person who walks into a bar in the UK and doesn’t get approached by a really good looking man/woman, you’re probably still that kind of person when you walk into a bar in China. And if you do suddenly find yourself irresistibly attractive you might want to check around to see what else might be going on.”
Sure you didn’t open this to read my inane chat so here’s a quick scan through what’s been going on across insurance innovation.
A business that bleeds AI is the Paris-based Shift Technology. They’ve raised a further $60 million from Bessemer Venture Partners. Now working with 70 insurance companies around the world, with 200+ employees and customers all around the globe, Shift is all about detecting fraudulent insurance claims.
Artivatic.ai are so about AI it’s even in their domain. The Bangalore- startup has already rolled out products across finance, banking & healthcare and has just taken on lump of cash from the Indian Angel Network. Currently focused on life and health insurance in the U.S. and Europe, they've also been pushing a whole load of PR'able stats - 50% reduction in customer on-boarding time, 50% increase in operational efficiency and and and.
Sticking with the Asian market for a minute, Sunday raised a Series A of US$10 million earlier this week, led by Vertex Ventures. If you’re not familiar with these guys, they’re worth checking out. They’re a multi-line insurtech with fully-integrated sales and services platforms who are ‘reinventing the entire insurance value chain’. Bold. Their first step in doing this is Southeast Asia, home to over 330 million internet users.
Benefiting from a healthier world
From the world of healthcare we have Eden, a US tech-driven healthcare company have landed $10M, in a round led by existing investor, Greycroft. As is almost an expectation these days they've a mix of 24/7 telemedicine through to a few interesting combinations of primary care and mental health solutions.
We’ve also seen Rightway Healthcare raise a Series A of $8m. Their focus is on the employee market, developing smartphone and web service that to aid understanding and uptake of the health benefits available to them. The new funding will fuel sales team growth, product expansion and entry into new markets.
New York living
If you’re looking to rent in New York and your rental resume isn’t quite up to scratch, TheGuarantors are where you need to turn to bridge the gap. Having launched in 2016 they’ve now guaranteed more than $200 million in leases and having just taken on $15 million led by Global Founders Capital, they’re looking to roll out across the States and launch into commercial real estate.
Big data, big bucks wefox Group is one of those companies you wished you’d put some money into early on. They operate two businesses – wefox, a platform connecting provides, distributors and customers, and ONE, the first digital insurer fully integrated with the wefox marketplace. Long and short is they now serve more than 1,500 brokers, have 400,000 customers and this week raised a Series B of $125m. What’s really interesting is one of the investors is CreditEase, signalling wefox Group’s intention to expand into China. That I applaud.
Not much to report on here other than Zurich America acquiring Sea Pine Technologies. Sea Pine are all over innovative digital applications for the marketing of vehicle protection products which is another string in the bow Zurich's automotive finance and insurance capabilities.
There’s genuinely just tonnes of partnership activity taking place at the moment. A few of the more interesting ones:
Flathead Farm Mutual Insurance Company & Roost – value is to offer free Roost devices (Roost Smart Water Leak and Freeze Detector, Roost Smart Battery and the new Roost Smart Garage Door Sensor) to select policyholders
Go-Jek & Gigacover - new scheme said to be part of Go-Jek’s vision to deliver better earnings protection.
Cigna join Aetna, Anthem, and HCSC, as well as original members PNC Bank and IBM as part of a blockchain collaborative aiming to revolutionise healthcare through technology.
Aon plc & Claim Central – with a focus on P&C, the plan is to improve customer experience and claim management capabilities.
MSIG & Merimen's TrueSight - the first general insurer in Singapore to foray into video technology to optimise their motor claims process.
NEW PRODUCT LAUNCHES And now for a bit of cyber
“It’s like Google Photos for cybersecurity”, says Stephen Gillett, Chronicle’s CEO.
Chronicle, founded by Google’s Alphabet, has launched Backstory. How it works is by indexing and organising vast amounts of a customer’s company data, whether that’s from domain name servers or employee laptops and phones, and allows users to carry out searches such as “are any of my computers sending data to Russian government servers?”
From there, cybersecurity investigators can start asking more and more questions, such as “what kind of information are the Russians taking, when and how?”.
Another interesting cyber launch this week was from Arceo.ai based in San Francisco. We’ve been tracking these guys for a while, namely because their management team includes a couple of serious big timers - Raj Shah, a former partner at the Pentagon Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) and Vishaal Hariprasad, who served as a cyber operations officer for the NSA. Their debut platform enables insurance carriers to automate and enhance their cyber insurance with a focus on small-and-medium-size enterprises (SMEs).
Finally, DBS Hong Kong has become the first bank in the area to offer cyber insurance and is providing comprehensive coverage is delivered for as little as HK$1 a day.
From millennials to Manchester Axinan who are a Singapore-based has launched Igloo - on-demand digital insurance solutions to the everyday lifestyle needs of today’s millennials. And the Manchester-based general insurer Co-op is back in the life insurance market, having launched a new term life product – Co-op Life Cover, with the promise of more new life products to come.
GENERAL MARKET NEWS
Like they didn’t have enough going on (by which I really mean money in the bank), Ping An, China’s largest insurer, is gearing up for an IPO of its OneConnect unit that could value the financial management portal at about $8 billion. The share sale could raise roughly $1 billion.
It might be worth remembering this one when the Board ask you to focus on the core business and nothing else.
Last thing from Tällt is this week’s Spøtlight – an interview with Janet Anderson from Lapetus Solutions. I’ve mentioned these guys in previous updates; with just a selfie and a handful of questions, they’re able to provide an assessment on BMI, genera, age and life expectancy. Clever stuff and worth a read.
Time to wrap this up. I have a bag to pack, a dog to drop off (at his im-paw-sibly nice boutique dog-hotel) and a flight to China to catch.
Before I disappear, I’ve been asked a few times if I write Sø.Nws. Here’s a rare glimpse into the glamour of my world. This was last week’s Sø.Nws being studiously written on my way up north for a long weekend. Nothing more special than quality time with the family.
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