Life inside Lloyd’s Lab and why Generali’s innovation works

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There was a lot of love for last week’s stats. 

Here’s another to ponder on:
 67% of CEOs are looking to get on the front foot when it comes to disruption and innovation, indicating they will increase investment in disruption detection and innovation processes.
Source: KPMG – How CEOs are winning the digital transformation race
BTW, if you’re one of those CEOs, check these guys out. I hear good things.
Let’s kick off with some fun stuff. 
Last week I got in the studio with Rosie from Lloyd’s Lab and Stephen and Devin from ARMD
Even though Sønr’s been the lab’s scouting partner for a while now, this was the first time we’ve sat down with both sides of the table, and really got stuck into understanding the first-hand experience of application > selection > participation > results. 
For those who aren’t so close to it, Rosie heads up Lloyd’s Lab, and Stephen and Devin run an insurtech for tradespeople called ARMD, which just graduated from the most recent cohort.
It’s a good one. And if you’re considering applying, well worth a watch/listen.

Plenty of market activity to get into this week. 
Whilst there’s still plenty of tough news out there – further layoffs, insurtechs struggling to raise etc, there’s a whole load bucking the wider narrative. What is for certain, is the power seems to be shifting back to the incumbents. But we all knew it would, right? 
For what it’s worth is it’ll be those corporates focussed on open innovation – ie partnering with insurtechs, who will be the ultimate winners in the next 5-10 years. And, if you want to know why, you can find out here.

Health innovation – the good and not so good 

Starting with some client news… 

Generali Health Solutions and health data startup XUND have formed a partnership. 
XUND will provide a range of API-enabled solutions, such as a symptom checker, medical data and enhanced user experience, which Generali will provide to its Mobile Health App users. Objective – to
improve the quality of care provided, as well as to reduce costs. Nice.
I know I bang on about Generali a fair bit (no apologies) but I genuinely believe they’re a pretty exceptional model for how a company, with nearly 200 years of heritage, approaches innovation. 
And if you’d like to get an insight into just what shape that takes and how it plays out, have a watch of our most recent discussion with Stefano Bison and Danilo Raponi, two of the chaps shaping the future of the business: 

Oh, and should you be under any illusion whether that handsome, charismatic Sønr chap is me. Nah, it’s the ‘other’ Matt. 
Another bit of client news and RGA has partnered with DigitalOwl
The guys create a machine-learning platform that can analyse medical records and provide a summary and filterable data points to assist underwriters and claim adjusters. Another great business and a partnership which should create a more efficient and accurate underwriting and claims process.
On the investment side, following a successful 18-months of epic growth, Peppy, the employee benefits platform with a focus on the menopause and fertility, has raised a $45m Series B round. 
Ah, there’s definitely still money out there. 
They’re an interesting business Peppy and doing some great stuff, particularly on the product innovation side.
Some less great stuff on the product innovation side was this…

If you haven’t clocked this one already, mental health support chat service Koko seemingly experimented with ChatGPT-3 to provide responses to around 4k of its users. 
In principle I’m not against the use of AI in a solution like this. BUT only in a super controlled environment. And with users – vulnerable users, fully cognisant of the fact. I appreciate I’m not close enough to this one but supposedly Koko’s users couldn’t opt out. Quite incredible.
And, after 8m+ people clocked the tweet and a whole load of debate ensued, this was the update from Rob Morris: 

I’m not sure it quite puts the issues to bed.

Climate solutions gaining traction

A graduate of Lloyd’s Lab Cohort 4 – the live flood alert insurtech Previsico – has announced it will be connecting to the Meteosat Third Generation satellite system. 
Meteosat’s new set up is said to generate 50 times more data than any of its previous satellites, significantly improving the quality of forecasts. And that’s got to be a good thing for Previsco and its clients (including Zurich, Liberty and Generali). 

Another UK startup, FloodFlash, a graduate of Cohort 3 (did I mention we were the scouting partner for Lloyd’s Lab?!!) has officially launched in the US. Good work team.
The parametric flood insurtech will kick-off its market entry in five states – Florida, California, Virginia, Texas and Louisiana. 
Keeping with parametric flood chat (a phrase I probably won’t use when I catch up with non-industry friends for drinks later), biotech start-up Aanika Biosciences has entered into an agreement with Satur Farms, a specialty crop producer. 
Aanika technology will be used for tracing fresh produce with a parametric food recall and contamination policy. The company is also working to developing products to tackle pathogen growth and reduce outbreaks. Super smart stuff. 
On the incumbent side, great to see Chubb announcing the launch of their global climate business unit. 
It’s all part of Chubb’s efforts in transitioning from hydrocarbon-based fuels to more sustainable options. The new unit will provide a full range of products and services to various businesses including those developing or using technologies, that reduce carbon output.

Asian insurtechs still attracting top dollar

Something that continuously bugs me about how the Western media reports on innovation, is just how little focus they give to the Asian market. 
There are some crazy good innovators out there. Plus, a tonne of opportunity. 
In fact, I think we need to reinvigorate Explōr. In a pre-covid world we used to run these incredible innovation immersion trips to China, India and a bunch of other places. I miss that stuff. 

Right, back to script. A few businesses that stand out this week:  
PasarPolis has become one of Indonesia’s first full-stack insurtech ecosystem, after partnering with Tap Insurance
Now able to underwrite its own products, PasarPolis will be able to build out its product offering with its 50+ insurance partners and offer these to their 40 ecosystem partners – including Gojek, Traveloka and Tokopedia – who collectively serve over 80m customers. 
It’ll be interesting to follow how this plays out and whether we can expect to see more of this. I imagine so. 
Next door (if you hop over Borneo!) and Singapore’s BlackPanda has raised a $15m Series A. 
Intent to further develop its AI and ML-powered cybersecurity platform, the company already has offices in Asia and the US. 
Interestingly when reading their release, it claims that nearly half of all Singapore-based companies underwent some form of cyber-attack in 2021. That feels like a pretty high number.
Finally, India-based Automobile marketplace CarDekho’s insurance arm – InsuranceDekho, is reported to have secured a $36.5m funding round. Interestingly this in the first external investment they’ve taken on (albeit they have received a mountain of internal funding from its parent company to date). 

Tokio Marine driving innovation

A couple from another client of ours – Tokio Marine
Firstly, Tokio Marine Kiln are providing capacity for freight insurtech Loadsure
Tokio Marine Kiln got involved in the partnership to support digital innovation in the market and it will enable Loadsure to expand its platform capabilities and geographic reach. For Loadsure the partnership comes at an important time after its $11m raise last year. 

And a great bit of experimentation – Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance has announced the company will start selling insurance to its customers through the metaverse. Love it. 
Starting this month sales staff and customers can communicate via their virtual avatars on the Virtual Akiba World platform. As they say, you won’t learn if you don’t try. 

Other investment activity from around and about

And as becoming a bit of a theme, here’s a bunch of other news I couldn’t find a structure for. 
On the funding side, Swiss insurance-as-a-service company TONI Digital has raised a $12.5m Series B. 
TONI offers white-label insurance programs across both personal and commercial insurance and will use the new funding to launch new insurance programmes and enter new European markets.
Another IAAS solution, this one for freelancers, Alicia has raised €7m in Seed. 

The Netherlands-based startup provides embedded, pay-per-use insurance personalised to freelancer needs across Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the UK. 
And who could forget, in the claims automation space, Liberate Innovations, has raised $7m. 

Finally, another bit of weekend reading for you – a Spøtlight with Kiril Ivanov, Co-Founder of Web3 insurance marketplace Bright Union. I met these guys at DIA in Munich last year and they’re doing some super interesting stuff in the DeFi space – worth checking out.

That is all for today. 
I’m heading to Colorado next week (all being well with a few things at home) to join up with Insurtech Slopes. Work trips don’t get much better than this, right? 
As such Matt F will be in charge of the next edition of SøNws. Be kind. 
On that note, I’m hoping to be spending a good chunk of 2023 in the US growing Sønr over there. Since ITC Vegas we’ve started working with 3 of the biggest carriers. And it feels like we’re just getting started.
If you are in the US and keen to connect, please do reach out
Equally if you have people in mind who you think would be good to know (they don’t have to live in a ski resort, but it’d be great if they did) that’d be super helpful too. 
For now, have a great weekend. 

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