Sønr is coming to America

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Let’s start with the less important stuff:

  • If you’re in New York next week for Insurtech Insights then give me a shout. It’d be great to meet up.
  • A little down the road, if you’re heading to the Phillies vs Giants game on Mon 30th and up for imparting some baseball knowledge, I’m your man. To date, most of my baseball knowledge comes from this…

Right, let’s get into some of the innovation driving change across insurance this week.

I’m going to kick things off with embedded.

The changing face of comparison sites

Firstly, a big thanks to Yuri Poletto for inviting me to speak alongside Rodolfo Pambianco and Dominique Roudaut at the Open & Embedded Insurance Observatory’s workshop this week.

If you’re exploring embedded check out the Observatory. Better still become a member and access a world of valuable content.

One of the announcements that caught my eye this week was Amex Ventures putting $5m into Trellis.

Based out of the US, Trellis helps people shop for car insurance policies by offering side-by-side comparisons as well as the ability to both buy new and cancel and an old plan, all at once.

What’s interesting is they’re a pure embedded play [already working with the likes of Truebill, Albert and Money] and they have no interest in being anything other.

Is the future of comparison sites soon to be one of redeploying their tech to distributors?

What else have we got?

Keeping with comparison, Decathlon has entered insurance.

The global sports retailer is now going to offer bike and accessories insurance on its website partnering with Quotezone to provide online quote comparisons.

And out in Asia, Singapore’s Igloo has partnered with both Philipino insurer Etiqa PH and Thailand’s telco Advanced Info Services (AIS) to offer mobile insurance to the local markets respectively.

I’m not too sure how well known these guys are but we’re seeing more and more from Igloo. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

Energy storage and sensibly named companies

A big trend our clients are using Sønr to scout for is ESG.

In fact, let’s start with one of our clients.

Tokio Marine Kiln has partnered with Altelium to deliver the first data-driven battery energy storage system (BESS) warranty programme.

This is big news.

As we’re all pushing towards a net zero economy, the BESS technology will play a key role in ensuring buildings are powered by green energy. This partnership should boost growth in the battery energy storage market (expected to grow from $10bn in 2020 to $37bn in 2027) and that there is a good thing.

Looking at investments, aptly named FutureProof has raised $6.5m.

Launched in 2019, FutureProof uses AI to predict wind and flood losses in order to help re/insurers to better manage and price risk. In addition to launching an MGA, the new capital will help the company to add more talent in its underwriting and engineering teams.

Also equally well named Sensible Weather, the climate risk technology specialist, has raised $12m.

The company was launched in 2019 by climate scientist Nick Cavanaugh, and offers weather guarantees via its pool of hospitality partners. These guarantees include reimbursement to customers who purchase tickets for outdoor attractions which are affected by a weather event.

Maybe I should look into this for the Phillies vs Giants game 🤷

Open innovation. Maybe it’s not all about build vs partner. 

Experts in environmental flood hazard ICEYE has struck a strategic partnership Neptune Flood, an AI-driven flood insurance company.

The aim of the collaboration is to provide ‘superior flood insurance’.

As part of the agreement, ICEYE will provide Neptune with flood hazard data in the immediate aftermath of a flood event which will then enable Neptune to detect micro changes in water depths around the insured properties.

On a side note, ICEYE are joining me on stage at Insurtech Insights NY and I was prepping with Paul Barron, their Head of Partnerships, earlier in the week. I was talking about the role Insurtechs play in accelerating innovation for incumbents and he challenged my position on it.

What he said, and I’m paraphrasing here, is that some tech is so unique in its creation or deployment, that it’s not a question of build vs partner. It can only be partner.

With 16 satellites in orbit I’m kind of getting his point. I’m not sure just how many insurers are going to be building and launching satellites any time soon.

The other bit of news I thought was interesting is Acies is to become the first MGA to offer Previsico‘s predictive flood warning solution.

The partnership will create the first property insurance policy to offer a preventative alert service for SMEs in the UK so they can boost their flood protection.

Founded in 2019, Previsico can predict flood events which are not covered by any other warning system, offering alert services. The alert system allows individuals and businesses to react to potential floods before they have even started.


Let’s talk cyber. I feel I never give it enough focus in SøNws.

Out in the US, cyber insurance specialist At-Bay has now launched its new cyber and tech errors and omissions (E&O) program, backed by Trisura Specialty Insurance Company and The Hartford Steam Boiler.

Just like their current cyber clients, At-Bay’s tech E&O clients will receive security monitoring and risk alerts included within their policies. The pitch is all about prevention – avoiding loss before it happens.

It also revealed its GWP run rate had increased by a whopping 600% in the last year, surpassing $240m. Nice work At-Bay.

From a funding perspective early-stage Pangea has raised $25m in a Series A.

The company says the new funds will helps its plans to develop a platform which helps developers embed security services and APIs into cloud applications. Pangea also plans to launch several dozen API-based microservices.

Another I liked is parametric cover specialist Neptune Mutual raising $5.3m.

Again, super early stage having been founded just last year, Neptune is a marketplace for parametric cover protection of digital assets against hacks and exploits, offering guaranteed payout in the event of an incident.

Through the use of chain-agnostic cover-pools and stable coins, the company aims to remove risk and volatility for both purchasers and liquidity providers.

And on the partnership front, Majesco has teamed up with CyberCube, a provider of advanced solutions for cyber insurance risk modelling.

CyberCube’s solutions will help Majesco automate cyber risk assessments by using expanded sources of data, signals and models for risk modelling, rating and underwriting.

Finally, payments giant Mastercard is going to partner with OZ startup Openly to help companies better manage their supply chain privacy and cyber risk management.

Founded in 2018, Openly helps increase transparency between buyers and suppliers. As part of the agreement, Openly has integrated Mastercard’s RiskRecon cyber risk data into its platform.

Tech enablers with global ambitions

A couple of investments I found particularly promising:

SaaS platform CoverGo raised $15M in a Series A round.

Founded in 2016, CoverGo offers a platform powered by more than 500 APIs, which helps insurers to transform digitally. The company also revealed its annual recurring revenue has grown more than tenfold since January 2021.

The round was led by California-based SemperVirens VC and their General Partner, Caribou Honig (founder of ITC) will take a board observer seat. Interestingly it also included Asia Financial Holdings and the Middle East and African insurance fund Noria Capital.

All in all a pretty global and prominent collective of backers. As you might expect, the fresh capital will be used to aid the company’s international expansion, and also grow its sales and engineering teams.

The other that caught my eye was a super early-stage investment into Poland’s pricing specialist Quantee which raised a $700k Seed round.

Quantee has developed an AI pricing engine which can help insurers build a more accurate pricing and personalise offerings for their customers. It’s a big old space and opportunity this one. Definitely one to track.

The new funding will help expansion across into Spain and the UK, and further develop its software.

Home, gig, auto and crypto. What more could you possibly want?

4 announcements that caught my eye. Excuse the jumble.

First is from the UK where Hiscox will be the first insurer to partner with home management platform Livlet.

If you haven’t come across Livlet, they’re a godsend. Founded in 2020, it enables homeowners to centralise all of their home admin in one place.

And great to see Canadian life insurance startup, Emma, announce a CA$6m Series A. This is off the back of some pretty impressive growth in the past 12 months – of more than 500%.

As part of the agreement, Livlet’s customers can access a 10% discount on Hiscox’s 606 Home insurance policies.

The second is Estonia’s gig-economy insurtech Cachet raising $5.7m to improve its data models and further expand in Europe.

The company, founded in 2018, offers insurance for gig workers – which are projected to account for 1 out of 5 economically active citizens in the EU in the next three years

The third is Crawford & Company partnering with UK’s Automated Insurance Solutions (AIS) to accelerate UK motor claims processing. This can only be a good thing.

Crawford will tap into AIS’s solution BAIL, which provides automated motor claims liability assessments.

And fourth and final is Nayms.

These guys have become the first crypto-native insurance marketplace in the world which is fully regulated in Bermuda.

The company now holds a Digital Asset Business Act licence and Innovative General Business Insurance licence. These allow Nayms to conduct regulated insurance business on-chain.

More happy, healthy babies please

Let’s not skip over a tonne of health news which is still grabbing headlines.

One I couldn’t be more supportive of is digital fertility clinic Legacy raising a $25m Series B.

Legacy was founded in 2018 with a mission to make it easier for people to become parents. They provide customers access to sperm analysis, DNA fragmentation and sperm freezing and have seen some really impressive growth with revenue increasing seven-fold in 2020 and quadrupling in 2021.

With the new capital, Legacy plans to double its headcount and scale its offering.

And keeping with the theme, in the US, maternal health startup Mahmee has raised a $9.2m Series A.

Mahmee helps new parents digitally connect with a whole team of obstetric, paediatric and support providers, and to also book in-person appointments. Services include monitoring for potential problems and helping users navigate social services.

The company will use the new funds to make more hires and add more healthcare partnerships.

Health building in emerging markets

I’m always keen to shed light on the changes we’re seeing across underserved markets and there’s nothing more important than one’s ability to access healthcare when needed.

In LatAm, Peruvian healthtech platform Smart Doctor is now launching in Brazil following a $1.5m round.

Founded in 2020 it offers individual health plans and virtual care for companies’ employees for only $9.85 – just one-twelfth of the average cost for health insurance in Brazil. Later in the year, it also plans to raise again to expand to Argentina, its fifth LatAm country.

And out in Africa, Power Financial Wellness has teamed up with health and life insurance startup Turaco to offer affordable health insurance products to Africans.

The new insurance offerings will have flexible premiums payments and will target gig and full-time workers who can buy insurance within seconds.

Love it. More please.

A sobering 12 months ahead for founders

Before signing off, I thought I’d share this one.

It’s a note Y Combinator have just sent out to all their connected founders.

Deep breath founders.

That said, I’m never too adverse to a tough market; it allows those with a solid business and the ability to adapt to step above the noise.

Right that’s me done.

Don’t forget to hit me up in for you are in NYC next week. Or indeed Philadelphia or Bermuda the week after.

For those who are heading to ITI I’ll be on two panel discussions:

  1. How incumbents innovate with startups (Thurs @ 3.40pm) with WTW, RGAX and ICEYE
  2. How insurers can overcome the legacy IT dilemma (Thurs @ 5.25pm) with Benekiva, Chubb, Omaha National and Allianz.

If you’re about do come and listen. They should be good ‘uns.

If you not already signed up to this newsletter, please do so here.
If you don’t already know Sønr or haven’t yet trialled the platform (where all this intelligence comes from), you can do so here.

For now though, have a good weekend.





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