Insurtech Insights, GenAI and social tokens

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ITC Japan.
Geneva Association Conference 2024.
Insurtech Insights Europe.
Insurtech NY Spring Conference.
Lloyd’s Lab Pitch Day.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the insurance/insurtech event space.

And whilst I didn’t quite make it to all of them, here are my top 3 takeaways for those I did get to:

  • 2024 remains a tough market for all involved yet unwavering confidence for a brighter future
  • Established incumbents are pulling back from H3 to focus on H1. Possibly a little too hard in some instances
  • We’re seeing actual case studies of emerging tech, including GenAI, being deployed. Finally. Love this

Before getting into too much more, a big thanks to all those who make these events happen. Without exception, the quality of content, connection and conversation continues to improve across the board. And I imagine that’s not an easy feat to achieve.

Also, a big thanks to the Sønr team for all the travel and graft. It’s moments like these – an impromptu morning debrief from Day 1 of ITI, that reminds me how I lucky I am to work with you all.

Right, enough of all that. Let’s get into some news.

Insurtech Insights Europe – key takeaways

Unsurprisingly AI, in particular GenAI, were the topics of the day.

My ITI started with a MAPFRE breakfast, launching their new report – Navigating tomorrow, the role of insurance in a society embracing GenAI.

The good news: it’s a genuinely impressive and well considered study. Do have a read.
The bad news: I had to leave before they served any breakfast 🤷‍♂️

Keeping with the AI theme, I had a great time on stage debunking AI myths with a seriously bright and fun panel with Dr. Christian Westermann (Zurich), Sandeep Kharkanis (Allianz), Sofia Kyriakopoulou (Swiss Re) and David Elliman (Zühlke). A great job all.

Even better I’m assured there’s still a chance we might avoid mass unemployment, economic collapse, and sentient AI taking over the world and leading to human extinction.

But who knows for sure 😬

And if you didn’t manage to catch this one, hopefully you caught Matt F on stage. He was joined by a similarly bright and fun (and yodelling – Peter) panel looking at how incumbents are shifting roles with health engagement platforms. Another big thanks to Lisa Balboa (Hannover Re), Tamara Pagel (Generali) Matt Battersby (RGA) and Peter Ohnemus (Dacadoo).

Before I move too far from AI/GenAI (which I’m not sure is too possible in the current world!), a quick plug for the TDI GenAI Explorer program – a collab between TDI and Microsoft.

I heard the need for this in so many discussions and think it’s a cracking idea.

If you’re an insurer and need to equip your team with practical knowledge, insights and hands-on learning, check out the 10-week course.

Right, the top 3 sessions I got to (and apologies for missing far too much good stuff):

  1. Reimagining Insurance with Danilo + Emanuele from Generali
    There’s been a lot of love in this SøNws already so maybe I’ll keep this one short. From two guys who are superbly open, transparent and committed to driving the industry forward, they talked through how to best make innovation work in corporates.

    Their message (summarised a little too heavily possibly!) – passion and support from the top, structured thinking/processes, committed funding, multiple tools (thanks for the Sønr shout out!), and plenty of training and exposure across the teams.

  2. Leveraging Partnerships in Distribution
    Another, no holds barred, discussion on open innovation within the context of embedded insurance this time. Expertly facilitated and plenty of candid expertise and learnings shared from Tokio Marine, Habit, Inshur and Qover.
  3. Accelerating Innovation: Build, Buy or Partner?
    Yeah, for anyone who knows me, this was always going to be a favourite. Another top panel (Aon UK, SCOR Ventures, QBE Ventures, Guidewire, Mashmeyer Group) with some fantastic insights. My summary: different approaches bring different benefits but what is for sure is open innovation is critical to driving our industry forward.

In summary, a great event. I’d say the best ITI yet.

Lots of fantastic conversations with clients and hopefully soon-to-be clients, and still a great appetite for open innovation and driving the industry forward. Love it.

More bolttechs please

Hot off the press is the news Singtel and bolttech have joined forces to introduce Singtel Extended Warranty.

From gaming consoles to washers, customers (well, Singaporean customers) can now benefit from complimentary pick-up and delivery for portable devices and convenient in-home repairs for larger appliances, all backed by our repair guarantee for added peace of mind. Nice, right?

This news if off the back of bolttech’s announcement last week where it announced a new partnership with stc Group to expand into the Middle East.

It’s a business going from strength to strength and no wonder we often get asked by CVC teams if we can ‘help find the next bolttech’!

A final note on embedded – hats off to Yuri Poletto for what I hear was a great Open & Embedded Insurance plenary meeting earlier this week.

From a mere concept only a few years back to what is now a thriving global community of thought-leaders and practitioners. Another great community driving our industry forward.

From death to life

A startup I have plenty of time for is Empathy.

These guys have developed a platform to assist individuals in managing the practical and emotional aspects of bereavement. Better still, with 40musers, it has recently secured a $47m Series B.

The B2B2C platform offers services through employers or insurers, and incorporates a blend of AI and human guides to aid in various aspects of the bereavement process. It’s one you don’t want to ever use but will be sure glad it’s there when the time comes.

Rewinding the clock and keeping the world as healthy as happy as possible, we’ve a couple of fundraising announcements in the health space this week.

The first is The CareVoice which, this week, landed their Series B.

With a footprint across 15 countries, the company doubled its revenues in 2023 and is on track for circa $10m this year. I’m looking forward to seeing this next chapter of growth for these guys.

Finally, a somewhat earlier stage insurtech.

Yurtle, which is focused on alleviating caregiver burnout, has successfully wrapped up a £1.37m Seed round.

GenAI, underwriting, parametric, cyber. What am I missing?

There are plenty of partnerships to report this week but none bigger than Cytora and Google Cloud coming together.

The former is leveraging the latter’s GenAI foundation models to deliver some serious smarts to their clients, with a particular focus on assessing underwriting risk.

For more details, and a far better write up than I have ability/space for, head here.

Staying with AI and Parametrix has expanded its offering to monitor AI platforms – including the likes of ChatGPT and Gemini – to enable business interruption for AI services. Nice.

The move further expands the company’s monitoring and parametric insurance for digital infrastructure. The company is also building a database to track which of the AI service platforms are the most reliable.

A couple from Blink Parametric to also mention.

This morning, they announced a partnership with Zurich in Asia Pacific, integrating their real-time flight delay assistance and claims solution into the Zurich Edge Platform.

And just last week they teamed up with cyber risk specialist Buckler México to roll out a proactive Data Protection tool enabling customers to take pre-emptive measures to safeguard their online data from cyber threats.

Investments and M&A

A quick shout out to Vouch which, has announced closing its $25m Series C-1 round. These guys provide business insurance for high-growth companies and they’re good at it.

Actually, whilst on commercial insurance, let’s not forget those just getting off the ground.

One-to-watch is Berlin’s INSRD which has just closed a €500k pre-Seed round.

INSRD leverages ‘workflow automation and industry-specific AI to identify and monitor new commercial insurance risks’. I wish them all the best on their journey and will follow with interest.

On the M&A front, Open closed its acquisition of SO-SURE last Monday, marking its entry into the UK market.

If you’re not familiar with Open, they partner with brands like Bupa and Polestar to deliver embedded car, home, travel and landlord insurance products to their customers.

In Asia, Singapore’s Sunday Ins Holdings, the holding firm for Thai insurtech firm Sunday, is has acquired a 99% stake in KSK Insurance Indonesia.

KSK offers car, property, and cargo policies with a strong presence in key Indonesian regions, including Jabodetabek, Bandung, Surabaya, Medan, and Bali. A good move from them, no doubt.

Lloyd’s Lab – #1 insurance-focussed accelerator in the world

Beyond happy to see Lloyd’s Lab ranked in Europe’s top 25 leading start-up hubs, as published by the Financial Times last week. Better still, the #1 accelerator with an insurance lens.

We’re super proud for Sønr to be the Lab’s innovation scouting partner and to play our role in making it the success it is. And from we saw in yesterday’s Pitch Day, it’s only getting bigger and better.

Nice work Tom, Rosie and team 👊

Right I am done.

Two weeks on the road and it happens to be my wedding anniversary today.
It’s time to wrap this up for sure.

Please drop me a line if you’d like to know more about how Sønr can help you scout for innovation and track the companies and projects you’re already connected to.

It’s been great to see so many insurance friends these past weeks, but I’ve got to say my social tokens are well and truly spent. It’s time to hunker down, take the dog for a run or two, and enjoy some Bristol goodness.

Have great weekends all.


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