Shifting insurance, Tesla and a 3-course meal

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Many congratulations to Generali who scooped 3 awards at the Italian Insurtech Summit this week.

Now, I appreciate we’ve been working together what, all of 3 weeks but I was wondering if it’s too early to claim any credit? 🤷‍♂️

Another client shout out is to Bupa who are running their first global hackathon on Monday. Good luck team (and don’t forget to tap into Sønr to explore the art of the possible to build on your ideas!). 🚀 🚀

Also, on Monday, this:

If you picked up the Future50 Americas and enjoyed that, this one is a step beyond – a thing of true beauty. No spoilers form me but if you head here on Monday, you’ll be able to download the report.

As always, a big thanks to our judges (your copy will be winging its way over soon) and to our partners Insurtech Insights. Always good fun working with you guys.

Right, let’s dive into some market news.

Actually, before we do, there are still a couple of spaces available for this:

Not only will you get to hear thoughts from two pretty brilliant companies, but you’ll also be able to share thoughts and ideas with a great line up of confirmed attendees.

And if that wasn’t enough, the event includes a three-course meal and wine delivered to your home before the session. Just to be clear I’m not quite sure how that works if you’re non-UK based but I’m sure we’ll be able to make something work!

Now let’s dive into some market news.

Two of my favourite companies and topics to kick off:

Open Insurance

TrueLayer have joined the Unicorn club, raising a £95m Series E round a mere 6-months after their £50m Series D.

If you’re not yet familiar with them, they sit more on the fintech side than pure-play Insurtech. Over the years they’ve built a suite of open banking APIs that translate to a bunch of insurance-relevant use cases. Definitely one to check out.

Also, because I love this stuff, they’ve reported some impressive stats too – billions of pounds in payments, 400% growth in monthly volume + 800% growth in monthly value, and a doubling of their customer base as they expand across Europe. Nice.


Oh we can’t talk about Insurtech and not mention embedded, right? One of the key players, which looks like it’s only going to get bigger, is Singapore’s Bolttech.

Positioned as the ‘world’s largest insurance exchange’, Bolttech offer a full suite of digital and data-driven capabilities. Their pitch is to help build connections between insurers, distributors, and customers to make it easier to buy and sell insurance.

This week it has announced an extension to its recent Unicorn-making, somewhat unprecedented $180 million Series A, now bringing the series to a total of $210 million.

Whilst they launched in 2020 it’s probably worth noting it was never a 2-person-build-it-in-the-garage bootstrapped startup. They were formed by the Pacific Century Group, a leading Asian investment firm. In fact, the same guys who set up FWD Group.

Even still, the numbers are crazy impressive. They’re already serving 7.7m customers in 26 markets across three continents. If this doesn’t wake you up to a changing insurance landscape, I’m not sure what will.

Elon Musk global plans for Tesla Insurance

I’ve said it before, but I genuinely cannot wait for what the next few years hold for insurance. What is for sure is our kids won’t be buying insurance in the same way as we did. That’s if they’re buying insurance at all.

If you’re in the mobility/auto space, I’m sure you’ll have seen this tweet already:

Tesla’s projecting that drivers will be able to save 30% on the quotes from other insurance companies. The reason for this is simply down to knowing their vehicles better than anyone else.

As you can imagine, there’s so much great debate around whether Tesla will be able to make this work. So far there’s been very little customer facing progress and the ‘Teslarati’ (yup, that is a term) have been left feeding off the odd insurance related job advert here and there.

Jury’s out. Watch this space.

Sharing the overhead of car ownership

A super interesting play here.

Sweden’s Greater Than has launched a new P2P car-sharing service for family and friends, in collaboration with KINTO, Toyota’s global mobility arm.

Personally, I think is huge. There’s been plenty of talk about people not owning cars in the future and this is definitely a nudge in that direction.

The new partnership, Warikan KINTO makes it all super easy. One person needs to ‘own’ the car and using the app is able to invite friends/associates. From then on all the bookings, communication and cost splitting are done within the same app.

Nice, right? I can’t wait to see how well this gets picked up.

Another good ‘un is from the ride-sharing guys BlaBlaCar. They’ve teamed up with L’olivier Assurance and Swiss Re to launch BlaBlaCar Coach.

The new app offers drivers personalised coaching and tips for safer driving. It analyses the driver’s conduct at the wheel, including phone usage and other distractions, without any additional equipment having to be installed.

Finally, great to see some innovation coming out of Scotland with Coastr which has secured £1.4m to expand across the UK and Europe over the next two years.

Formerly known as Nuvven, Coastr was launched in 2018 to offer a cloud-based ‘all-in-one’ vehicle rental management platform. Following a fivefold increase in customers, it plans to launch on-demand fleet insurance, integrated vehicle financing and more next year.

From building cars to protecting homes

I thought this was worth a share if you hadn’t spotted it already.

General Motors has added a new skill for Amazon Alexa which provides a voice-enabled connection to Emergency-Certified OnStar Advisors.

To date their OnStar app has been all about mobile crash detection, roadside assistance etc.

The bit that caught my eye is the broadening out from motor. Now people at home can say “Alexa, call for help,” during crisis situations, such as house fires, medical emergencies and break-ins and get connected to their team.

I’m not sure I’d race to use this but hey, if you didn’t have your phone with you it might just make the difference.

Mind, Voice and telemedicine

As always, a tonne of interesting health insurance related businesses gaining traction at the moment.

France’s Alan has announced its acquisition of Jour for $20m. It’s Alan’s first acquisition and will serve as the foundation for a new service called Alan Mind.

It’ll be a B2B offering aiming to help the 3 out of 4 under-35’s in France suffering from a mental health issue. Alan, which now insures 200k people, has been building up its offerings of late, with Alan Baby released earlier this year.

Looking at investments and a pretty exceptional, albeit super early-stage business is health startup Eleos Health which has secured $6 million in seed funding.

Eleos uses AI-backed voice technology to provide actionable clinical insights into behavioural health. Properly amazing when you step back and think about the impact this can have on mental health and beyond:

If you want to geek out on these guys further, they’ve published a great paper on empirically-supported care intelligence.

US based women’s health telemedicine company Alpha Medical has raised $24 million in a Series B round.

Alpha Medical was founded in 2017 and has since then created a network of 30 staffed primary care providers who treat female patients online – interestingly, without phone or video calls – for an annual $120 fee.

Since its last round of funding, in 2019, the company has expanded into 36 new states and increased the number of conditions it can help manage from 3 to 60.

Life Insurtechs shaking up the industry

Full-stack life insurtech Bestow (the guys behind Lemonade’s life insurance) has completed its acquisition of Centurion Life Insurance. I couldn’t have written the word life more in that sentence if I’d tried.

What this means is Bestow can now offer its products (which don’t require phone screenings or blood tests) to millions of underserved families across the US, thanks to Centurion’s licenses across 47 states.

Also in the US life insurer Sproutt has raised a $26m Series B.

The new capital will be used to further bring Sproutt’s health-incentivising, instant-issue life insurance policies direct to customers and agents. Interestingly they also alluded to an upcoming launch of a new predictive life insurance product, developed from hundreds of thousands of data points gathered from their customers and its Quality of Life Index.

Watch this space for more on that.

Heading up north and Canada’s Foresters Financial has announced the launch of its Foresters Go platform. This is the output of the partnership they struck with dacadoo earlier this year.

As you might expect the new wellness product integrates wearable app-enabled technology and behavioural science in order to reward healthy lifestyles.

Automated underwriting and Bristol’s best kept secret

Keeping with data and underwriting and risk analytics business Envelop Risk has brought in a $130m Series B led by SoftBank.

Another super interesting business and the new dollars will enable it to expand its proprietary machine-learning and data-driven underwriting activity. They also plan to expand into new markets globally and shift beyond cyber (re)insurance.

Amazingly, until this morning, I hadn’t clocked their head office is just down the road from ours in Bristol. Feel it’s time to meet some new friends and get some local Insurtech drinks on the cards.

One that came in just after last week’s SøNws was Israel’s Planck partnering with Sompo.

Planck will be applying their AI data platform to automate Sompo’s commercial insurance underwriting for 30 million customers. It’s estimated to save up to $140m in annual operational expense. Let’s hope they’re incentivised on how much they do save.

Open innovation driving property innovation

London’s specialist insurer Pikl has partnered with aggregator GoCompare on home insurance for short-term rentals.

Traditionally standard home insurance policies do not cover for commercial use of the property, so Pikl’s ‘host insurance’ complements those policies and provides cover for guest injuries, property loss, or damage caused by hosting activities.

GoCompare will be the first comparison site to integrate this into the home insurance quote process. Great bit of innovation right there.

Over in the US and a partnership that’s been in a place a while has obviously proven out and is now expanding.

QBE and Flyreel got together in 2020 to provide self-service property inspections via an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-assisted application. As you can imagine the timing was pretty good with Covid then hitting and now they’re looking to tackle the key causes of water damage in a home such as a burst pipe, a leaking water valve or a recalled appliance.

I’m a big fan of Flyreel and wish them luck on this one. Sounds like a super valuable extension to the core business.

And on the commercial side of things

Canadian startup Foxquilt has secured $8m in financing to further expand its small business offering across Canada and the US.

Foxquilt leverages AI to help business owners identify and match with policies that cover only what is needed, and also offers B2B services, providing customised solutions for marketplaces.

One tapping into even smaller businesses – well, startups, is Vouch in the US. They’ve just raised $90m off the back of 12 months after seven-fold customer growth.

Vouch is a platform for startups specifically, offering a fully digital coverage taking only minutes to activate.

The maturing cyber market

A great bit of client-focussed innovation from commercial insurtech Corvus.

They have launched a new platform that allows its program carriers and reinsurers to review premiums, policy numbers and limits at risk in real time, as well as other metrics, in order to quantify risk aggregations.

The new platform was built to meet demand after the rise in concern over the aggregation of cyber risks and growing number of ransomware attacks.

And cyber insurtech Boxx has secured $10 million in a Series A to prepare for global expansion.

Boxx launched in 2018 and already has a strong presence in Canada and certain markets in Europe and LatAm. The new funding will be used to expand Boxx team and support the increasing growth in demand from brokers, partners and clients.

We Brits love to talk about the weather

A couple of niche but super valuable innovations.

London’s Blue Marble has launched a weather-index insurance pilot programme to support Pakistani farmers.

The new product will be underwritten by Asia Insurance and will be supporting 500 smallholder farmers in rural Pakistan. How good is that? Founded in 2015, Blue Marble aims to socially impactful and commercially viable insurance protection to the underserved.

And another UK Insurtech, flood forecaster Previsico has announced a £1.75m ‘Seed Plus’ round. Who knew that was even a thing?

Previsco provides real-time, street-level surface water flood forecasts to mitigate flood impacts globally, including live actionable street-level flood warnings, with the whole of the UK live and much of the USA mapped.

Actually, whilst talking about weather, this one is pretty hot of the press.

Boston Dynamics’ robot dog Spot has found another new employer. This time it’s Farmers Insurance.

The dog has been adapted with extra equipment – a 360° camera, site documentation software and a new paint job. The thinking is to make use of it in post-disaster environments where either it’s difficult to navigate or the workload is too intense for a good old human.

Lemonade shifting from protection to prevention

Alright, it’s not that exciting, this one’s about cats and dogs.

Lemonade are a preventative care package to their pet insurance which will cover microchipping and vaccinations.

But what is good are these two things:

  1. An interview between Rick Huckstep and Daniel Schreiber who catch up after 5 years
  2. Daniel’s article on ‘How Lemonade became a precocious 5-year-old’

Both well worth a watch/listen/read.

Time to pull a few from around the world. Lots of Indian Insurtech activity this week.

Indian Insurtechs tap into underserved communities

Super early stage Digisafe which focuses on rural insurance is set to launch India-wide.

Their ambition is to bridge the enormous gap between the urban and rural areas for curated insurance products. They plan to bring simplified and affordable products across motor, health, livestock, crop and life insurance for people living in rural India. Love it.

Another, in a similar vein, is WeRize which has just raised an $8m Series A .

Their intention is to build India’s first socially distributed financial services platform for small town India.

Founded in 2019, WeRize is a full-stack provider which develops different financial products ranging from credit, group insurance and savings products focusing on families in small towns in India, a segment largely ignored by FinTechs.

Finally, BimaPe has shut down within only a year of its launch.

I’ve enjoyed following the LinkedIn updates of Rahul Mathur ever since he left Accenture UK and headed back to India to start the company.

The good news is it isn’t the end of his entrepreneurial journey. Maybe it’s just that start. The firm will be reborn as Verak and will be launching early 2022.

Before I call it a day, we have a great Spøtlight for you this week:

We catch up with Samuel Falmagne, Co-Founder and CEO of Akur8.

We go deep into the technology they’ve created, the 30+ leading insurance carriers they work with and their plan for further growth in Asia off the back of a recent $30m Series A.

One to share with your underwriting team for sure.

That is me done.

Look out for the Future50 launch on Monday.

A heads-up to all the Insurtech 100 judges – your packs will be on their way this afternoon.

Also a quick Sønr product update for all our clients. You can now capture notes in your local language. A small but much-asked for iteration.

Have a good weekend all.


Founder & CEO

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