Insurtech fraud, fire sales and down rounds

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Hello. Happy Friday.

Vesttoo is making headlines for potential fraud.
A host of US insurers are pulling out of insuring homes in high-risk areas.
And the insurtech fire sale series continues.

And you know what, it’s all good.

Checks and regulations need to be in place. It’s a tough but healthy reminder. A huge part of the US market is suddenly open to those who can create the right product. And my goodness, consolidation across insurtechs has been a long time coming. The market will be considerably stronger and successful as a result.

That’s what I think about all that.
Now let’s get to what’s been going on.

The first thing to say is a big congrats to Andrew Johnston, Irina Heckmeier and Freddie Scarratt for the latest Gallagher Re Global Insurtech report.

It’s always hugely insightful and loving the features. In particular this edition’s coverage of QBE Ventures, Lloyd’s Lab, Eos Venture Partners. Great reads.

Uninsurable property. For now

With AAA, AIG, Allstate, Farmers, Nationwide and State Farm all restricting offerings these past few month, it’s good to see there’s innovation closing the gap. Well, some of it.

Socotra has partnered with high-risk homeowners insurance provider Annex Risk to close critical coverage gaps in coastal Texas, Florida, and the Eastern Seaboard. Annex Risk’s platform combines algorithmic underwriting and capacity, empowering retail agents to quote and bind high-risk homeowners’ insurance in less than 2 minutes.

And P&C insurer Centauri Insurance has partnered with virtual property appraisal insurtech Betterview to create improved proactive storm management offerings.

This follows last week’s announcement of Betterview entering a strategic alliance with EagleView Technologies, an aerial imagery and data analytics provider. The combined pitch is that customers will benefit from features such as expanded imagery coverage and predictive risk scores.

Finally, an interesting one from parametric insurer Sensible Weather.

These guys have announced they’re working on a new product to cover travel disruption due to extreme heat. It’ll be good to see the consumer pick up of this one and what coverage you can get.

AI creating new opportunities

A couple of interesting AI-related reads this week.

Insurity has joined forces with Concirrus to, and I quote, ‘revolutionise’ pricing and risk selection models in marine insurance.

By integrating Concirrus’ big data and ML capabilities with Insurity’s marine cargo platform, insurers can achieve competitive pricing and optimise profitability.

They cite clients having driven a 7% improvement in combined ratios through their intelligent risk pricing and data-driven underwriting.

On the funding side, CompScience Insurance, an AI-powered safety analytics platform, has raised a $10m Series A.

If you’re not familiar with CompScience, they combine visual AI with insurance incentives to enhance workplace safety.

Its flagship product, the Intelligent Safety Platform, uses AI and data science to analyse workplace security video, reducing hazard exposure. They have recently grown their insurance business 10-fold (albeit I’m not exactly sure where this is benchmarked from!) and reduced injury rates by 23%.


Well, well, Wellx

Great to see health and wellness platform Wellx complete its $2m Seed round led by Dubai Future District Fund.

Using embedded behavioural science and gamification, Wellx empowers users to adopt sustainable healthy habits with personalised rewards. And they have no shortage of ambition or talent.

One of their co-founders is Dr. Anushka Patchava. formerl Deputy CMO at Vitality. She is one of the most impressive folk I’ve met in a very long time.

It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on these guys.

Another from the MENA region is Saudi based DESAISIV which has raised $2m in a pre-Seed funding round. These guys offer AI-powered SaaS products for medical insurance companies and TPAs.

Staying East, and SiriusPoint’s Life Reinsurance Team has partnered with WaterDrop (a Chinese insurance and healthcare platform), Further Group (an MGA and employee solutions provider), and China Pacific Health to launch a new medical insurance product called Blue Ocean LifeTime.

The new product will be aimed at WaterDrop’s 200 million users and give Chinese policyholders more affordable access to high quality treatment from around the world. These include access to the latest advanced treatment for cancer, such as Boron Neutron Capture, a targeted form of radiation therapy.

Closer to home and London-based fertility tech startup Béa Fertility has raised £2.5m. This will allow it to launch its innovative at-home fertility treatment in the UK market.

I genuinely love this one and will be a proper game changer for all those who head down the IVF path.

Béa Fertility aims to democratise clinical-grade fertility care by offering affordable, user-friendly treatment kits for at-home use. The kits use Intracervical Insemination (ICI), a safe and effective method with a 50% efficacy rate over six treatment cycles, surpassing the UK’s IVF success rate of 27%.

And finally, on the mental health side, Headspace secured $105m in debt financing.

The plan is to expand its business and pursue M&A deals. And it’s definitely the right time to do so. It also plans to streamline its member and customer experience and create a unified brand and app.

The highs and lows of life

With news (well, a LinkedIn post 🤷) that DeadHappy has raised ‘small amounts for survival’, it looks like the life market is equally tough for insurtechs…no matter how innovative or creative/controversial their marketing is.

One which seems to be going from strength to strength is RenewBuy, an Indian company offering a mix of insurances – from motor, health to life.

It has secured $40m in new funding from Dai-ichi Life with a view to expanding across Asia, with a particular focus on India.

Another, and now moving towards the embedded space, is Haven Life, a digital direct-to-consumer life insurance agency (backed and wholly owned by MassMutual) which has partnered with Blend, a cloud banking company.

The aim of the partnership is to make applying for life insurance easier when buying a home.

Fintech innovation to keep an eye on

Keeping with embedded insurance, banking giant HSBC and B2B FinTech company Tradeshift have announced a $35m joint venture to enhance embedded finance.

Both parties intend on building on the development of embedded finance solutions and financial services apps. And whilst there’s not been mention of insurance within this, it’s not too much of a leap to imagine it’ll be part of the mix.

Another on the periphery of insurtech, but one I liked, was Singapore-based Tiger Brokers launching what it claims to be the brokerages industry’s first AI chatbox.

Dubbed TigerGPT, it’s aimed at providing intelligent decision-making support helping users make more informed choices regarding investments.

Finally, another great bit of fintech innovation – Allo is a new app that seeks to help people adopt positive habits with their finances through mindfulness. Think Headspace for personal finance.

Unlike budgeting apps that only focus on spending categories like bills, insurance and transportation, Allo includes categories like nature, family, giving, working out and healthy eating. Users can choose to have a daily, weekly or monthly check-in with the app in order to become aware of their finances.

Their ambition is to help users ‘create a mindful money practice’. Something I’m sure we could all do with in the current economic climate.

Forward50 Americas and the Insurtech100

A quick Sønr shoutout to our next industry reports.

We’ll be launching the third in the Forward50 series at ITC Vegas. This one will be focussed on emerging innovation across the Americas. As you can imagine, in true Vegas style, this will be bigger and better than ever.

We’ll keep you in the loop with more details and do make space in your diaries for that one.

And that leads me on to the Insurtech100.

We’re exploring pushing that back to a late January launch with a view to shining a spotlight on the top 100 insurtechs (in its broadest form!) which are set to impact the industry across 2024.

And the reason I mention both of these is because we’re about to open sponsorship spots. These go pretty quickly so please do get in touch should your company wish to build its market visibility across either or both of these prolific and high-quality publications.

Right, that is me. Done. Time for a run drink.

Have a great weekend.


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