Insurtech100, IPOs and a new wave of innovation

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Happy Friday.

Thanks to all those who have come back to me on wanting to build a deeper community. There seems to be a huge appetite to better connect with others. If I haven’t replied to you yet, apologies. I hadn’t quite expected so many emails!

If you didn’t read last week’s SøNws but would be interested in connecting with peers a little deeper, in a non-compete environment, drop me a line.

A couple more shout outs on stuff you should keep your eyes peeled for before diving in:

Future 50’s – we’re going to be publishing a series of ‘Future 50’ reports – highlighting the leading early stage, emergent tech companies changing the face of insurance.

Insurtech 100 – we’ll once again publish our Insurtech 100 later this year, this time broadening out to include the best of wave of innovation from established startups, scaleups and incumbent insurers.

In both cases we’ll be asking for your input on who you think should be featured and why, so look out for more details soon.

Right, let’s get stuck in. It’s been another busy couple of weeks in the world of new wave of insurance innovation.

IPOs driving the next wave of insurtechs innovation
There’s plenty of IPO chat at the moment. Whether the valuations are deserved or not, what it does do is bring insurtech into mainstream consciousness. And with that comes both new interest from investors and entrepreneurs. And with that comes an accelerated pace of change.

All very good news. A few that have been grabbing headlines this week – all included in last year’s Insurtech 100, IPOs and a new wave of innovation – are:

Digital insurance platform and pay-per-mile insurtech Metromile (#20) has officially completed its merger with INSU Acquisition Corp II, and has begun trading on NASDAQ under ‘MILE’.

Hippo (#7) is reportedly in talks with Reinvent Technology Partners, a SPAC, to merge and go public. The combined business would potentially have a value of more than $5bn.

wave of innovation

And Oscar Health (#14) has officially filed, providing us with lots of new insight on the company – according to the filing, the company now has 529k members and serves 18 states. It was also revealed the company lost $407m on revenue of $1.67bn last year.

It will be good to see how they chart against first-mover Lemonade. On that note, if you’ve not seen the interview I did with Daniel Schreiber, the week before their IPO, it’s definitely worth a watch.

In not such positive news, Clover Health (#28), which went public last month, is facing an investigation from the SEC after Hidenburg Research released a report with various allegations, including not disclosing a Department of Justice investigation into their business model and software offering.

I’m going to kick off with life insurance once again. Having had relatively little innovation focus over the past few years, it’s a space that seems to be changing rapidly.

This week full-stack life insurtech Bestow have announced their partnership with Lemonade, enabling Lemonade’s customers to apply for life insurance in just five minutes through Lemonade’s AI chatbot Maya and Bestow’s Protect API. All without a medical exam. Customers will be underwritten in real-time and find out instantly if they’ve been approved.

If your last life insurance application was anything like mine, this kind of new wave of innovation is a godsend. Bestow has seen significant growth in the past 12-months, having grown its customer base by 400% in 2020, and raising more than $100m in funding.

wave of innovation

Somewhat related, I picked up an interesting piece from the Sureify team, looking at the moves of Bestow and Dayforward into life insurance.

It’s a jump off into the world of ‘how can incumbents compete’ and drew some interesting conclusions about how you can build on what you have and combine with drawing on external innovation. Worth a read.

A couple of other good reads this week.

Allianz announced it will acquire full ownership of its China life insurance business. I.E. buy the 49% stake it doesn’t already own.

It definitely demonstrates a certain confidence and commitment to the Chinese market. More interesting, is the accelerated learning they can glean from the wave of innovation taking place in Asia, and how they might feed that back to the wider global business.

The other story that picqued my interest is the partnership between Swiss Re and health data interoperability venture Diameter Health.

They’ve come together to create a solution to use electronic clinical health data for life insurance underwriting. The move aims to fortify Swiss Re’s efforts to help life insurers improve the speed and quality of their underwriting. For now, this is just in the US but has broader ambitions.

There’s no rest up in healthtech investment.

Less than a year after securing Unicorn status and raising a $110m Series D, Lyra Health has brought in a further $187m Series E.

They now provide mental health care benefits to more than 2m employees and their dependents in the US, using a matching solution to pair users with therapists, coaches, and personalised prescriptions. And is seemingly going great guns.

wave of innovation

Keeping with benefits and it looks like CXA Group has had a restructure. These guys were founded in 2013 and built a SaaS platform that allows corporate and retail customers of insurers to access discounted benefits and health and wellness products. Over that time, it also built a brokerage business, which it’s now selling to Pacific Prime.

Looking into the data a little more and you can see why. The SaaS side of the business grew 218% in 2020 and drove 45% revenue growth across all their business. Nice.

We’re also seeing increasingly focussed propositions hitting the market.

One I clocked this week is Bold – a US-based virtual exercise startup, focussing on the elder-care market, raising a $7m Seed round. Super interesting targeting on their behalf.

wave of innovation

Another couple with a deep audience focussed proposition is a LGBTQIA+ digital health startup called Folx Health which announced a $25m raise to help serve an estimated audience of 39 million in the US. Big numbers.

The cash will be used to further develop their offering starting with an HRT plan and library of resources but will expand further to include wellness and sexual health support.

And Colorado-based Plume has announced a $14m raise to help members of the transgender community navigate the gender affirming healthcare process.

Great to see all these businesses hitting the market and raising decent money.

Business insurance Next Insurance, #12 in the Insurtech 100, has announced that 2020 was a record year of growth, reaching run-rate GWP of more than $200 million.

It also stated a continued focus for 2021 to help entrepreneurs thrive by providing a one-stop-shop for digital, simple and affordable insurance coverage.

On to property and Kingstone Companies, parent of Kingstone Insurance, has announced a strategic partnership with Flyreel, an advanced Artificial Intelligence platform for property insurance. I’m a big fan of these guys and worth checking out their Spøtlight on Sønr.

Other news and German-based, end-to-end digital insurance platform Inzmo have raised a €3.1m Seed. The startup plans to soon launch a digital rental deposit guarantee service – an alternative to traditional, high-cost, upfront deposits.

Further ahead in a similar space and Leaselock has raised a $52m Series B. Leaselock provides an AI-driven lease insurance platform for enterprise real estate, which it also offers as an alternate to traditional deposits.

wave of innovation

To date it has insured $1 billion in leases, and has seen a 400% growth in apartment homes on the platform in 2020 thanks to the pandemic increasing the pressure on housing affordability. Interesting times and good for some.

You might have caught this one, mobility insurtech Zego has partnered with zero-carbon shared vehicle startup Brite.

Together they will provide insurance for Brite’s e-mopeds, e-scooters and e-bikes in Ireland and the two will share trip data to offer usage-based pricing.

Zego has a strong presence in the scooter sector – it’s previously partnered with Tier and Ginger – and has been increasing its focus on sustainable modes of transport – a trend I think we’ll see more of this year.

Out in India and autotech drivebuddyAI has raised an undisclosed amount of funding to further develop products and expand globally. If you’re not familiar with drivebuddyAI it uses AI and computer vision to offer driving behaviour insights and other telematic services to both individuals and fleets.

wave of innovation

You know what, if you can make driving safer in India then you might have already conquered the rest of the world.

Finally, blockchain-powered B2B Galileo Platforms has partnered with telematics-specialist Amodo to offer Thai insurers new online product development, including UBI and parametric policies. The pair hope their strategic partnership will meet the growing demand for micro insurance products in Thailand.

There’s been a fair bit of news around Paris’ AI pricing Insurtech Akur8 over the last couple of weeks.

It has partnered up with Boston-based insurance consultant and data science company Xceedance to deliver actuarial and analytics solutions to insurance companies. And after a couple of months in the planning, it’s announced a strategic partnership with Duck Creek.

There’s tonnes to go into here but probably easiest to check out their profile. A super interesting company.

wave of innovation

Pet, bikes, and reinsurance
After a relatively slow start, P2P pet insurtech Eusoh has raised a $1.3m Seed, in a round led by Insurtech Gateway and Sure Ventures.

Initially launching in the US with its pet health product (which includes wellness expenses and routine vet visits), the company has demonstrated 50% savings for customers in their first 12-months.

Much loved cycle insurer Laka has announced its launch in the Netherlands as it closes a £2.1m crowdfunding campaign. Backed by 1500 investors, with ~50% of these existing customers, there’s a definite loyalty to what they’re building there.

Finally, on the startup side, one of my favourites, Riskbook, has rebranded to Supercede. Worth having a read of their rationale. Better still, check out their lockdown beards on Instech London’s video interview. Strong work all round.

From Africa to the UK
A couple of great Spøtlights this week.

Let’s start with the great man Tunde Salako. Tunde is the Co-Founder and CEO of Nigeria-based health insurtech Hadiel. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also the CEO of Africa Insurtech Rising and is on a mission to promote inclusion in insurance in Africa.

wave of innovation

And a name that might be familiar to a few of you already out there – Nigel Lombard.

Nigel’s the chap behind Drivology, the first app-based telematics car insurance broker and Hedgehog, a data-driven, online only car insurance MGA. His new venture Peppercorn is yet to launch and plans to offer automated, flexible, self-service car insurance at some point later this year.

That’s it from me.

If you’d like get a deeper insight into new wave of innovation impacting your business and a sense of how you might better capitalise on the opportunities, please do drop me a line or connect.

We work with insurance companies around the world, all shapes and sectors, and it’s our job to help them make great decisions and get value from the intelligence we track.

Professionally-worded description aside, I’ve had some brilliantly fun conversations with customers this week. It’s amazing what happens when you get a bunch of people together to talk about this stuff.

If that sounds like something you’d be up for I’d love to chat:

Email: [email protected]
Clubhouse: @wearematt (yup, I’m also still just getting my head around it)

Or check out Sønr for more information:
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Have good weekends all.


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