Q2 insurtech briefing and Amazon’s Insurance Accelerator

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First things first, our Q2 2021 Insurtech Briefing has been doing the rounds.

If you haven’t already, you can read it here: https://sonr.global/q2-2021/

A few key stats worth noting:

  • $17bn invested into the sector
  • 233% increase in deals compared with Q1
  • 47% of those being early-stage investments

We also dive into 3 key trends

  1. The rise of Open Innovation
  2. The convergence of finance and insurance converging
  3. The continuing strength of Life & Health

And, if that wasn’t enough, I caught up with two guys I have a lot of time for – Éric Allombert, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer over at Wakam, and Nigel Walsh, Managing Director, Google.

Right, let’s dive in.

There’s the usual tonne of stuff this week. I’ve tried to pull a few of our favourites together but if there’s anything particular you’d like to get across a little deeper then feel free to dive into the platform or drop the team a note.

Gig workers driving demand for new insurance products

Great to see our friends at Laka now providing last-mile delivery companies with tailored commercial rider cover. As the demand for gig workers, particularly those riding bikes, increases, so does the need to protect them.

Similarly, out in Singapore much-loved food delivery company foodpanda has partnered with insurance firm Igloo to protect its riders.

The policy’s name is PandaCare and will offer delivery drivers personal accident cover that they can extend to family members.

The changing face of US auto insurance

Couple of announcements I clocked this week.

But before I jump across the pond…

Just a few short months after Bought By Many became a Unicorn, the UK is about to announce another billion-dollar insurtech.

Marshmallow, founded in 2015, is reportedly close to finalising a new funding round (which will value it at $1.2bn) after seeing its customer base grow 4x last year to more than 50,000.

The ‘car insurance with a conscience’ insurtech specialises in covering the underserved (such as migrants, nomads and expats) and includes 500 miles of carbon offsetting every year.

Right, back to the US announcements:

The first is Palo-Alto based startup Jerry, which has raised a $75m Series C valuing the company at $450m. This is 4x the value of when it raised $28m only a few months ago. Not a bad return for those earlier investors.

Jerry launched its first car insurance comparison service (all AI and ML powered…of course) in January 2019. And the firm has brought on 1 million customers across the US.

Interestingly the new funding is set to help the company launch its “compare-and-buy” marketplaces in new verticals. Watch this space.

The second is auto insurer Sigo Seguros, which has launched a much-needed new offering to serve the Hispanic community of Texas.

The product will remove biased rate factors like credit score, employment history and education level from the underwriting process.

This is part of their strategy to serve the overlooked segment of the Spanish-speaking customers with equal coverage. For anyone who has spent time out there, you’ll know this already – Hispanics are predicted to become Texas’ largest population group this year. Unsurprisingly, there’ll be growing demand for their insurance needs to be met.

Someone cracked my password.
Now I need to rename my dog

Starting local and great to see Lloyd’s market has announced the insurtechs which will join the seventh cohort of the Lloyd’s Lab Innovation accelerator programme.

The latest cohort will focus on building simpler products and solutions related to cryptocurrencies, claims and data modeling.

Out of the invitees, a good few of them focus on crypto and cyber following increasing attacks on businesses and governments. The selected group includes Sotera, Koop, ICEYE, Jungle, Falkonry, YEO Messaging, Hubvia (Brush Country Claims), Merkle Science, Superscript and BirdsEyeView.

Staying with the cyber side of things and there continues to be plenty of activity in this space. A few favourites from the week:

Swiss Re and Connected Insurance have partnered to launch Digital-Life Insurance. The plan is to enable customers to protect themselves and their devices from potential cyber-attacks.

They’re pitching it as an upgrade from traditional cyber insurance as it adds additional layers of prevention and proactive protection. One to check out for sure.

On the investment side, industrial cyber-risk modelling and quantification startup DeNexus has raised a Seed round of $4.25m.

The plan is to accelerate development and expand globally. The most interesting thing about these guys is probably their flagship platform – DeRISK (see what they did there). It’s a self-adaptive software platform that predicts where and how breaches are likely to occur in unique client contexts, translating that information into financial impact for the business. Again, worth checking out.

Finally, it looks like Corvus has acquired MGA SeQure (which conducts business as Wingman Insurance). The latter provides a tech platform for cyber and tech errors and omissions coverage across the US, and its specialty insurance product is designed to protect SMEs from cyber attacks.

Landlords acting like they own the place

A couple of landlord side of things.

Esure Group has partnered with UK insurtech Pikl, which provides specialist insurance for landlords. This deal will see esure and Sheilas’ Wheels sell Pikl’s host insurance top-up product to consumers involved in the property sharing market.

Effectively it will offer extra security to people renting out rooms or properties, which most standard home insurance policies don’t cover.

Jumping over the water, and New York-based Rhino has announced the launch of a new product designed to support smaller landlords.

Rhino, which is tackling housing affordability, was one of the early ones launching security deposit insurance. Using their platform landlord can sign up and invite a renter all within a convenient, five minutes process.

Finally, following the steps of Metromile, Lemonade, Root and of course Hippo, it looks like Typ Tap might be next to IPO. The private homeowner and flood insurtech launched in 2016 and, following a $100m raise earlier this year, they’re posting some pretty impressive numbers in 2021 to date.

Health still lagging in tech adoption.
But maybe not for long

This one is definitely worth a read.

In February 2020 Google Cloud surveyed 300 physicians in the U.S. about their biggest pain points. This is kind of interesting. What’s great is they went back for more in June 2021 asking the same questions and more.

3 key findings:

  1. Healthcare organisations accelerated technological upgrades over the course of the pandemic. No real surprise on that one
  2. Most still believe the industry lags behind in technology adoption but recognise the opportunity for technological support and advancement
  3. Better interoperability alleviates physician burnout, improves health outcomes and speeds up diagnoses

Have a read of the full report here:

Amazing how 18 months can change the world.

Keeping with the Americas and tying in with the report above, Canadian health data storage firm Smile CDR has landed a $20m Series A.

Founded in 2016 Smile CDR offers a range of services that allow health systems and hospitals to meet U.S. health information interoperability standards. Something very much needed.

And the other side of the world UAE-based startup Democrance has signed a partnership with MetLife. A while back I joined Daman on a webinar to talk about the local and global innovation trends.

There’s an absolute glut of early-stage innovation out in the GCC and it’s an exciting place to keep an eye on. Back to Democrance and this partnership will give MetLife’s customers access to a range of health, accident, and critical illness solution via their mobile phones. Nice.

The broadening of life insurance

With the long-term decline of mortality risk likely to continue, it’s no surprise life insurers are looking to new audiences and innovation around their value propositions.

A couple this week which are definitely worth sharing – Anorak and Afilio.

Anorak is now set to collaborate with personal financial app Quirk to provide tailored financial education and advice to millennials.

The partnership is aimed at helping under 35s to financially safeguard themselves and provide personalised information on money management and protection policies. A very nice move from these guys.

Interestingly, according to research from Anorak, 8 out of 10 millennials need life insurance but don’t know how to get it. Food for thought.

And over in Berlin, Afilio has raised a $13m Series A to expand its digital estate management services for its 2m (and counting) registered users.

Afilio’s ‘Peace of Mind-as-a-Service’ platform helps users purchase and manage insurance, as well as store personal documents, so they can be confident in their end-of-life planning. It’s particularly focused on making their tech accessible to older generations.

The future of risk

Another partnership for Cytora – this time teaming up with the UK arm of the global insurer Markel.

Leveraging Cytora’s platform, Markel will streamline its risk intake across its P&C lines in the UK. The Cytora platform can filter risk submissions to the right underwriter, enabling teams to become more efficient and concentrate on more profitable risks.

And in Israel, which is such a hotbed for innovation at the moment, Vesttoo has landed a $6m investment.

These guys specialise in developing AI-based technology in risk management allowing insurers and reinsurers to transfer their risks to the capital markets through the use of financial instruments for investment. Interesting, right? Well, hopefully for some of you it is!

I appreciate today’s SøNws has been a little UK/US heavy. To balance that out, a quick tour of the innovation taking place across the world:

Naked putting the AI in Africa
The African insurance market is worth $68bn, 70% of that sits with South Africa.

On from there is the insurtech Naked which secured $11m in a Naspers-led funding round. This investment comes only two weeks after the Naspers invested $2.3m in another insurtech, Ctrl.

Founded in 2018, Naked’s platform covers cars, content, home and standalone items…all a whole load cheaper than elsewhere. They do this through a clever use of AI.

Jack Ma lights a fuse in Indonesia

Fuse completed a Series B round this week. There’s not much in the public domain on this one but our connections say the round was circa $30m and that the family office of Jack Ma joined the investment.

Fuse was launched in 2017 by industry veterans Andy Yeung and Ivan Sunandar has an agent-focused model to distribute products. It’s a super interesting business and worth reading more about.

Marham bringing healthcare to rural Pakistan

Pakistan-based, Marham has secured $1m Seed round. Launched in 2015 these guys offer a mobile app to enable patients to book a doctor’s appointment, schedule lab tests and order medicines.

The fresh cash will be used to offer additional digital services and expand in rural Pakistan.

Affordable and accessible health in India

Early stage Onsurity has raised a $16m Series A.

The startup was only founded last year and it is an employee benefits platform which targets startups and SMEs. The company is currently working with 1.3k SMEs, with an aim of reaching 10k companies within the

Making life a little easier Down Under

Aussie startup Telstra Health has partnered with comms platform Hayylo to integrate its communication platform and apps within its care ecosystems. In theory this will save provider health teams up to 60% in time taken up by calls.

The combined solution makes for easier and more transparent ways for care recipients, families and teams to self-service information around schedules, visit details, requests, care notes, statements and budget use.

No Mexican standoff for Guros

In Mexico, auto insurance premiums total around $5.8bn and Guros plans to take a whole chunk of that.

Having just secured a $5.8m round, they’re doubling down on their quote, compare and purchase business. And why not, it has grown 580% in just the past 12 months.

Oh, I forgot one last bit of UK news.

Good to see Worry+Peace get out the blocks with their recent Seedrs raise.

Worry+Peace is a commission-free social network for ‘true insurance comparison’. It includes a free insurance wallet, custom-built reviews and a search that gets smarter for buyers the more they use the platform. Be good to see where James and team can take this one.

Right, final bit of chat. From angel investment to the giant that is Amazon.

The Amazon Insurance Accelerator

Marsh has entered into a new partnership with Amazon to help small business sellers get affordable product liability coverage. It’s helped curate a panel of insurers and secured the distribution providers.

Off the back of a new mandate from Amazon, third-party sellers are now required to secure product liability coverage after reaching $10,000 in sales in one month.

The new digital insurance network – Amazon Insurance Accelerator, US-based small business sellers can now get product liability quotes and purchase a policy that meets their needs and Amazon’s new coverage requirements.

Interesting, interesting times afoot.

No more from me. I’ve re-mortgaged my house to buy a load of camping gear and need to get in the car (between the rain showers).

That reminds me, my favourite OOO this week goes to Stefaan de Kezel from Ageas. Just brilliant.

If you’re still reading this, it definitely shows a level of subject matter interest.
Or at the very least, tenacity.
In either case, you should probably come and work for us.

We’ve a tonne of jobs about to open up. At all levels.

We don’t mind where in the world you are, your sex/race/religion/age or what your background is. What’s important to us is that you’re an exceptional person who wants to get involved with an exceptional business.

You can find out more on Sønr here.
You can find the one job ad we’ve written so far here.

And you can always drop me a line directly here: [email protected]

Keep well, have a good weekend.


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