Socrates, insurtech and ESG

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A couple of weeks back I wrote about the $$ invested into insurtech over Q1.

And I got called out because Sønr’s numbers were different to what others were reporting.

You know what? I’m okay with that.

I’m even more okay if it opens the debate of why we, as an industry, accept and worst still, celebrate, a myopic view of ‘insurtech’ activity.

As Socrates said (about insurtech): Wisdom is knowing what you don’t know

Most data companies out there will categorise a startup by its core market focus or client base – ie should a startup be driving change across a dozen global insurers, it may still be labelled as a fintech/healthtech/proptech/whatevertech.

More importantly, not an insurtech.

But for me, this makes little sense.

I genuinely believe it’s critical to know about each and every startup that directly impact the transformation +/or innovation of insurance companies – however they’re categorised by others, wherever in the world they are.

Does the fact they’re tech-based and change the face of insurance mean they’re Insurtechs?
They kinda sound a lot like Insurtechs to me 🤷.
Maybe it’s all just semantics 🙂

In my mind, it’s really simple: only if you track all the companies driving change across an industry, can then you truly understand how the market is evolving. And, if you track just some, your view will be incomplete, and there’s opportunity for inaccuracy.

It how we approach providing market intelligence to our clients – Generali, Munich Re, Tokio Marine, Allianz etc, and it is how we define insurtech.

As I say, I’m alright with that as a definition.

Right, rant over.

Let’s see what’s been going on in insurtech technology driving change across insurance recently 🙂

From historic Athens to a 2040 vision of mobility

How do you follow a Socrates cartoon?

Let’s start with Greek insurtech Hellas Direct which has announced a partnership with Akur8.

The goal is to strengthen Hellas Direct’s pricing process for motor and home insurance. It will also enable Akur8 to enter the Greek market, as it continues to build its presence in Europe.

And if you don’t know about Akur8 (which I swear I reference in pretty much every SøNws these days) these are the guys enhancing pricing processes by automating rate making, through a bunch of AI smarts. Worth checking out.

A few more from Europe.

I enjoyed this one. I’m not sure how visible it was on social so apologies if you’ve already seen it – Zego’s vision for the future of mobility:

And even closer to home it was good to see By Miles announcing By Miles Connect.

This is their new solution for those who already have connect cars. Simply connect to your By Miles policy and they’ll pull the data direct from the odometer. It’s definitely a start to making life easier for the consumer and a decent step towards getting pay-per-mile more widely adopted.

Interesting to read 85% of vehicles registered in the UK this year have connected capability and nearly 500,000 connected cars still entered the UK’s roads for the first time in Q3 2021.

Finally, I think one which was announced yesterday.

Cuvva are opening up a crowdfunding campaign which will be going public on the 23rd May.

Although they’ve insured over 1m cars already I haven’t heard too much about Cuvva recently. I’m looking forward to seeing how they get on as there’s a definite growing market for ‘multiplayer cars’ as they put it.

The maturing Indian insurtech space

Keeping with cars for a minute, insurance platform CoverStack has teamed up with Spinny – a used car buying and selling platform.

Out in India there’s a rapid expansion in the second-hand car market and the process of renewing insurance is ugly to say the least.

This collaboration will hopefully change all that, providing a single platform where customers can buy a car, compare insurance quotes and buy a policy. Nice.

On the funding front, one of India’s insurtech darlings, distribution platform Turtlemint, has raised a $120m Series E, reaching a valuation of $900m.

The platform works with 160k+ insurance advisors across India and the Middle East, helping them to serve individuals with personalised digital solutions.

The plan is to expand into new geographies in SE Asia and bolster its product offerings.

From embedded to omni-channel. An interview with Insurtech Asia

As part of our Q1 Insurtech Briefing we took a deep dive into the Asian insurtech scene.

The chap who helped us get the inside track was George Kesselman, founder of Insurtech Asia. He also happens to be the Chief Commercial Officer for ZA Tech.

You can now access the full interview here:

This one is packed full of good stuff.

A couple of the particularly interesting observations:

  1. Embedded insurance – George shares the learnings from a region a couple of years ahead of the rest of the world in adoption and usage
  2. Unparalleled scale – crazy to hear ZhongAn’s ecosystem generates an estimated 10 billion API calls per day for quotes. Woah
  3. The rise of Omni-channel – managing the up sell from small to large ticket insurance products

Have a watch. It’s a good one.

Actually before leaving the Asian theme, it was good to see Hong Kong’s no-code SaaS startup Coherent raise a $75m Series B.

It’s been pushing out some good numbers of the past 2 years with annual revenue up 10x.

Coherent helps companies convert spreadsheets into APIs and operates in multiple countries in Asia, serving more than 60 of the Fortune 500 global insurance companies and banks.

The company will use the funds to grow its team (including its US and APAC sales team) and add new service partners.

Levelling up insurance. At pace.

This was promised a few weeks back so apologies for the delay.

I first came across these guys when chatting with a client. They were talking about this no-code Genasys crew who were building a suite of new products for them.

But it was less about the product that caught my attention. It was how they were describing the Genasys team – the quality and professionalism of their work, and their ability to deliver on their word and the fun they were having en route.

This got me curious. Then I saw the ‘Tour de Insurtech’ that was being organised by their Co-CEO André Symes during lockdown and I was sold!

Recently I caught up with both André and his Co-CEO Craig Olivier to get a little more on their business, ambitions for the future and to understand just why clients love them so much:

This one is definitely worth a watch.

Genasys manages gross written premium in excess of £1bn and aims to provide ‘hyper-configurability’ across the insurance system. It has more than 350 pre-configured products ranging from property and casualty, life, medical, and speciality and the best bit is you couldn’t find two nicer guys to work with!


Life insurance for chronic illnesses

It was interesting to see that Ethos, the US-based life insurtech, has launched a new office in…any guesses…Bengaluru, India.

The team out there will be focused on R&D, data analytics, and business delivery for its next growth phase and the move marks the latest in a string of strategically placed office set-ups, with the hubs in San Francisco, Seattle and Singapore.

Super interesting to see where these heavily capitalised startups are targeting for growth.

Digging into some of the numbers we’re tracking it looks like Ethos now has a valuation of $2.7bn, issued $13bn in life insurance coverage last year alone and has reported overall revenue and user growth of 600% YoY in 2021.

Not bad team Ethos and good luck out in India.

In Europe, Spain’s Getlife has raised $6.3m in Seed funding and plans to launch in France and Germany ‘soon’.

And UK’s Bluezone has raised £1.5m Seed round.

Interestingly these guys are focused on developing life products for those with chronic illnesses and will put the funds towards the launch of its first product, for those who have Type 2 Diabetes.

Finally, good to see SCOR and ReMark partnering with Atidot to work on a solution for life insurers designed to increase in-force business value for them.

The product will combine Atidot’s data modelling platform with Remark’s customer insights capabilities and enable an improved ability to predict policyholder behaviour and, in turn, interactive marketing strategies to better retain customers.

To learn more about Atidot I had a great fun (and brilliantly insightful, of course) chat with their Co-Founder Dror Katzav a few weeks back.

From insurtech ($) to healthtech ($$$)

And there was me preaching what is and isn’t insurtech.

Interestingly the founders of Alan never wanted to build an insurtech. Their vision has always been to build a healthcare startup; something that shifts way beyond the world of insurance.

What’s more interesting is they’ve just raised €183m (pretty much the same as their Series D just 12 months back) at a valuation of €2.7bn.

All this off the back of 300,000 members across 15,000 and an annualised revenue of €200m.

For those who have read SøNws from the beginning, you’ll know I’ve always been a fan of what they’re building at Alan. Their creativity and absolute focus on championing innovative customer experiences has been brilliantly executed. Their recent shift into providing the technology to power others to do the same, super smart.

But wow, that valuation. It’s hard to get your head around against the current business numbers.

I’d love a better insight into the plans (other than profitability by 2025) and long-term vision these guys are pitching. With less than 1% of the French market share, it’s got to be good!

Open Innovation de-risking things for Beazley and Hitachi

A couple of partnerships that caught my eye.

Beazley has teamed up with digital risk platform Cytora to automate its global risk intake, reduce manual processes and accelerate turnaround times. It should also reduce costs and speed up Beazley’s expansion plans across North America and Europe.

The other is Hitachi Vantara (a digital infrastructure subsidiary of Hitachi) which is partnering up with risk management platform Risk Solved.

The new offering will enable insurers to access risk management services leveraging IoT, AI, ML, and all the good stuff. Basically helping insurers better predict and prevent claims. And that’s a good thing, right?

On that note, automated inspection and claims specialist MotionsCloud has raised $2m to continue its world domination (well, expansion efforts).

The company already works with property and vehicle insurers across Europe, the US and Asia, as well as airlines and fleet managers.

As we’ve seen with a few other players out there, they leverage AI-powered deep learning to speed up the claims cycle from an average of 10 days to just 3 hours, and reports it can save up to 75% of processing costs.

ESG and CVC. It’s all the rage.

Not sure if you’ve been keeping track of this one but looks like Zurich has picked their 12 startups as part of its global startup tournament, Zurich Innovation Championship.

The tournament, now in its third edition, received an impressive 2,600 applications. I don’t want to claim all the success is down to the shoutout we gave them in SøNws but we do have a lot of readers 🤷‍.

The selected range from solutions that can detect cyber bullying, tools to reduce carbon footprint and settling insurance claims via AI. The categories in the tournament included ‘insurance reimagined’, ‘prevention and mitigation’, ‘simplicity’ and ‘sustainability’.

On that note, it was great to see Swiss Re joining Lloyd’s Lab as part of the latest cohort.

They plan to develop a prototype for ESG data.  The tool will collect and assess data on private companies for insurers.

Finally worth mentioning MassMutual’s launch of a new $300m startup fund, focusing on digital health, cyber security, enterprise SaaS and FinTech.

Interestingly the CVC’s new fund will, in part, look into decentralised finance and AI/ML applications that could replace legacy tech.

Last but not least, it’s news of a PARTY.

Our friends over at FF News are launching a new category at their FF Awards – the ‘innovative insurtech’ category, which is now open to entries. If you want to know more about the event then just click here, or if you want to be considered, or even put forward an insurtech you love then you can cut to the chase and enter here.

You’ve got a bit of time, but do check it out.

Right, that’s me done.

It looks like I’m definitely heading to NYC in a couple of weeks so let me know if you’re about.

I’ve been invited to moderate a panel at Insurtech Insights on Open Innovation so better still, get yourself down for that one.

Have a good weekend,


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