Lloyd’s Lab, Gucci and limping unicorns

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Anyone else head out the office only to come back and find things running better? 🤷

A couple of Sønr announcements/publications whilst I’ve been travelling:

1. Lloyd’s Lab

I couldn’t be more proud for Sønr to be the new scouting partner for Lloyd’s Lab.

There’s been a great team chemistry since we started exploring this pre-Christmas and I can’t wait to work with Ed, Rosie and Tom to keep building on the success to date.

For all insurtech founders reading SøNws, get yourself signed up to the next cohort:

Areas of interest include (but are not limited to):
👉 Technologies that can help predict when Lloyd’s clients might be about to experience a loss
👉 Bundled products – adding insurance to an existing service
👉 Parametric products, or products based on smart contracts
👉 Technologies which can help Lloyd’s insurers quantify the exposure to new types of risk, such as intangible assets or the transition to a low-carbon economy

👉 👉  Apply here

2. Free report – Embedded Health: The next growth frontier for insurance
There’s no hotter topic of discussion at the moment than embedded.
And there’s very good reason for it.

In collaboration between Sønr, Alchemy Crew and The CareVoice, we’ve published this category defining paper on Embedded Health. We also got to talk it through in Singapore at ITC Asia last week.

The paper explores how embedded health will better serve, engage, and delight end users. It also shares examples of business models that are already working, and the capabilities that are being built to enable its acceleration across industries.

My favourite post on this one came from Chris Frankland

👉 👉  Download the report (just in case the QR code didn’t work for you either!
👉 👉  Clients, you can access a Watchlist of companies featured

Let’s dive in to some market news.

The growing trend of on-demand health

Keeping with The CareVoice for one second more, I was delighted to see Scott Walchek, founder of recently acquired embedded insurtech Trōv, joining their Board of Directors.

Top recruitment Sebastien and Jan. I’m can’t wait to see the impact he’s going to make on the business.

Two fundraising announcements I thought of interest, both in the on-demand health space:

Health insurance challenger Sesame has raised a $27m Series B, led by Google’s GV.

The money is to further develop its medical care marketplace, enabling patients to search for physicians online and book appointments (virtual or physical) on a pay-per-visit basis.

The other, also US based, is Spot Insurance which has secured a $25m investment.

Founded in 2017, Spot Insurance offers on-demand health insurance, partnering with ski resorts, marathons and sport leagues to offer short-term insurance coverage (e.g. for a day or a weekend) for any injuries.

Gucci and metaverse healthtech

Okay, so the title might be a bit misleading.

Gucci, whilst all over the metaverse when it comes to fashion, are yet to go there with insurance or healthtech.

BUT they have partnered with Ōura to add a little luxe to the Ōura connected ring.

Ōura’s smart ring, which provides personal biometric insights including heart rate monitoring, activity tracking, temperature, and sleep analysis, usually retails for $299.

The Gucci version… $950 or £820 (for those in the UK).

And the metaverse reference?

Well South Korean metaverse gaming and fitness startup Cardio Health has raised $1m.

These guys develop IoT that connects treadmills and exercise bikes to a platform which gamifies exercising, enabling users to earn digital currency – Cardio Points – for exercising.

These points can then be redeemed for CardioCoin or vouchers for insurance, healthcare services, or fitness centres.

Interest concept and well worth checking out. Think of it as the startup lovechild of a Vitality x Peloton hookup.

The importance of digital health engagement

When it comes to the relationship between digital health intervention and clinical outcomes, there’s not much bigger topic to explore than digital health engagement.

Peter Ohnemus from Dacadoo and a few industry peers have come together to form The Digital Health Engagement Institute (DHEI) Foundation, a non-profit conducting global-leading research in engagement.

A couple of weeks back it published its first white paper on Engagement in the Life & Health Insurance Industry. And it’s well worth a read.

Interviewing over 1,200 life and health executives from around the world they’ve defined the current state of digital health engagement tools, and how best to integrate them within the insurance industry.

Limping unicorns

There is so much to be talked about here.

As a shortcut, tune in to the Leadership In Insurance Podcast this week where I chat with Alex Bond and others about the changing economic climate, the impact that’ll have on insurtech and the M&A activity that will be driven as a result.

Let’s start with the bad.

I imagine you’ll have read about Policygenius laying off 25% of its team? Around 170 folk apparently.

Terrible news for all concerned, but unfortunately not the last news of this type that we’ll hear.

I’ve been chatting with a load of VCs over the past few weeks and there’s a definite sense of urgency for their portfolios to cut costs, extend runways and prove they can make decent returns (I know, right, imagine!). And seemingly, Policygenius are a great example of a business that needed to do this.

Another in the spotlight is telehealth company Teladoc.

They’ve been hit with a lawsuit which alleges that investors were misled about the business, operations and prospects of the company. Ouch.

This follows its stock price plummeting over 67% in the past year and not hitting revenue expectations.

Teledoc went public in 2015 and offers a range of telehealth services and chronic health management through its previous acquisition of Livongo, and has seen increasing competition in the space during and post-pandemic.

Interesting times although, personally I think an industry clear out isn’t a bad thing at all.

The challenge will be how to critically assess which insurtechs to invest into, partner with or acquire. If only there was a company out there that could help you with that one…

On the good – less limping unicorn side of life – bundled insurtech specialist Branch has raised a $147m Series C, reaching a post-money valuation of $1.05bn.

The company revealed its annualised written premium shot up an incredible 1,300% in the past 12-months.

Branch not only bundles auto and home insurance in a single transaction, but also binds insurance through an API, and can offer its products via an embedded experience, such as during a mortgage process (it’s already partnered with Homepoint and SimpliSafe, amongst others).

The capital is still out there looking for a home.
It just might not be so easy to come by for many.

2022, the year of insurtech M&A (and a whole load of fire sales!)

I’ve a feeling this will become a regular feature of SøNws over the coming months.

Chuffed to see LexisNexis Risk Solutions acquiring property analytics insurtech Flyreel. I’ve always liked Cole and the team over at Flyreel and have been continually impressed with the business they have built.

Founded in 2016 in Denver, Flyreel uses AI to enable self-service property inspections and provide enhanced visibility of a property’s interior and exterior to automate renewal underwriting and claims processes.

Another is JD Power acquiring data and predictive analytics business We Predict.

We Predict, founded in 2009, provides software for auto manufacturers and suppliers in order to project future component failures as well as future warranty claims and costs. JD Power will leverage We Predict’s in-house software to enhance vehicle quality and dependability analytics and expand repair cost forecasting.

And finally, South African insurer, Santam has acquired insurance technology startup JaSure, having secured 51% of the business back in 2020.

JaSure was founded in 2017 and it is app-based, providing insurance for motor vehicles and digital devices like cell phones and laptops.

Two Ozzies and an Italian embed themselves in a bar

What’s a SøNws without banging the embedded drum?

Australia’s Open Insurance has partnered with New Zealand telco and electricity company Slingshot to offer a bundled service of energy, mobile/broadband services and house, contents and landlord insurance in one weekly, fortnightly or monthly bill.

They also, just a few weeks back, partnered with global health insurance giant Bupa.

As part of the agreement, Bupa’s members will have 24/7 access to Open’s omni-channel car, home and travel insurance products starting from July, 2022. Nice.

Another Australian company, Cover Genius, has launched XCover Go, marking its expansion into the middle-market.

The new product enables SMEs to offer price-optimised warranty and shipping protection. XCover Go is available on various e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, and offers merchants end-to-end servicing as well as commission guarantees.

The last thing to say on embedded is a big congrats to Yuri Poletto for his work with the Open and Embedded Observatory. And for bringing such a prestigious and global group of industry folk together this week.

We’ll be launching a new report with Yuri and team in the next week or so – do keep an eye out.

Startups holding the key to a better world

A company I fell love with from the minute I saw them pitch to join the Lloyd’s Lab was Kita.

These guys have just raised a $438K Pre-Seed round with the ambition to become the world’s first carbon insurer that de-risks carbon removal solutions.

By removing risk and increasing trust in the market, the company hopes insurance will help drive capital to help quality carbon removal projects scale.

This week, we caught up Natalia Dorfman, CEO and Co-Founder of Kita to learn more about the business, how they plan on measuring carbon removal and their plans over the coming 12 months.

This one is well worth a read.

Elsewhere, weather intelligence startup Salient Predictions has also been busy fundraising, bringing home $5.4m.

The company, founded in 2019, has developed a subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) weather forecast and analytics solution. The company’s offering incorporates ocean and land-surface data into machine learning models which can make weather forecasts from 2 to 52 weeks out.

Related, parametric insurtech Yokahu has launched strategic partnerships with four key insurance brokers based in the Caribbean.

Yokahu was founded in 2019 uses parametric underwriting and data visualisation to provide hurricane protection. The timing of the partnership is key as the hurricane season starts on 1st June in the Atlantic and Yokahu’s approach will enable payouts to be made within 24 hours.

I’ve recorded an interview with Tim McCosh, the founder of Yokahu, but so far failed to share it. Look out for this on Sønr’s socials next week and I’ll make sure it’s shared in SøNws shortly.

Also on the parametric side, Cloud to Street (C2S) has partnered with Munich Re Group and Raincoat to launch a country-wide parametric insurance program for smallholder farmers in Colombia, protecting them from losses in flood disasters.

It is hoped that the parametric offering, rather than a traditional insurance product, will fill a protection gap for businesses in the developing region due to its accessibility and relative simplicity.

And finally, one of the panel I shared a stage with at Insurtech Insights New York a few weeks back – ICEYE.

It has launched five new SAR satellites (bringing the total number of successfully deployed satellites to 21).

The new satellites will be used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US, whilst two have been provided to the Brazilian Air Force for environmental and security means.

The company revealed it plans to add five more satellites, which provide regular, reliable imagery of the earth, regardless of time and weather – to its constellation this year.

Sompo grabbing headlines

I’ve always had a massive love for Japan and the Japanese people. The food, the culture and the skiing. What more could you want?

It also happens to be a pretty huge insurance market and co-incidentally right up there in geographies for Sønr to be expanding into.

And with that I’ve always a keen focus on what Japanese businesses are up to. This week I couldn’t move this week for Sompo announcements.

One that stood out was the running of an internal PoC with Greater Than, for a new service that integrates ‘mobility and CO2 analysis beyond insurance’.

Greater Than offers a real-time risk and eco score analysis and Sompo has been testing this as part of its plans to develop new customer-centric, sustainable services for clients in the future.

Another was their partnership with Parametrix to launch a cloud crashes and downtime product.

The new joint offering is designed to mitigate the risk of downtime during virtual shareholder meetings and the product has been launched with the support of Sharely, a virtual shareholder meeting support service.

Finally, a business that Sompo already works with – EasySend, is setting up a Japanese entity in Tokyo to further expand its customer base and partner companies in the region.

If not already familiar with these guys, EasySend is an Israel-based company which has developed a no-code platform for insurers and financial services which streamlines customer data intake and automates workflows through its simple drag-and-drop capabilities.

A couple of client shoutouts

Congratulations to Generali for scooping the silver in the Efma Accenture Global Innovator Awards yesterday.

Huge result and a great testament to all the hard work from the teams across the business.

And a plug for Admiral Pioneer which is looking to build out its senior team – hunting for a new Chief Growth Officer and a Chief Venture Strategist.

These guys are a venture building entity within Admiral Group which aims to seed, launch and scale new businesses, ultimately diversifying the Group for the future.

Right, that’s me done.

The sun is shining in the UK (for now at least) so time to enjoy that.

Stories of Philly cheesesteaks, Bermudan beach dinners and joining Vicky Carter and Patrick Tiernan as Dragons for the Lloyd’s Future Minds project will have to wait.

Have good weekends all.


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