The blurring of insurance, banking and retail

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Ciao a tutti.

I’ll keep this one relatively short as today is full of flights and travel. Rome is calling thanks to one of the best emails in a long while:

“As you may know Italy is going to smash the England team at the next 6 Nations game in Rome on the 13th of February.

It will be a real massacre, and for this reason, I would like to alleviate your pain by letting you know that if you were planning to come over for the game I have a spare two tickets.”

Thanks, Yuri. You’re a good man. If you don’t know Yuri but are interested in Open and Embedded Insurance, it’s definitely worth connecting. Appreciation of rugby is optional.

Let’s get into it.

The changing face of insurance

As you can imagine, I spend a lot of my time with execs exploring the future of insurance.

The blurring of lines between insurance and banking has been a topic of conversation for some years. But it’s becoming more nuanced.

Last week we saw challenger fintech Revolut launching pet insurance, continuing their step towards the super apps we’re more familiar with in the Asian markets.


Flip that over and incumbent Portuguese insurer Fidelidade completed its acquisition of Prosperity Group – a company innovating in and around long-term savings products.

And just yesterday digital bank WiZink partnered with Insurtech 100 iptiQ to design 10+ insurance solutions for clients in Spain and Portugal.

A little more niche and we’ve seen Israel’s fintech Rewire put down their play to step into multiple insurance lines, including health. Also, India’s Nasdaq-listed MakeMyTrip’s fintech subsidiary TripMoney plans to become a one-stop solution for Indian travellers by providing services like book now pay later, forex, and insurance products.

Interesting right?

And do check out Rewire – super cool business. They’re an app designed specifically for migrants to conduct basic bank activities like money transfers to their families abroad, deposit checks and make payments.

Talking of great businesses, it looks like Bolttech is considering a raise of another $200M this year.

People close to the company have said that the Singapore-based company may start a formal funding round later this year so they can further expand. I just wish I had enough money to get involved ☺

Amazon and Alan reframing health insurance

An interesting play from French startup Alan, which currently insures more than 200,000 people with its own health insurance contracts.

The company is expanding its business in two different ways — it wants to offer more services to turn its insurance app into a health super app, and it is announcing today that it wants to sell its infrastructure and tech stack to other insurance companies.

The new proposition, called Alan-as-a-Service, essentially provides all the services that you need to run a health insurance in France.

They’re not the first to do this and makes for a very sensible hedged future for the business. Nice work team Alan.

Finally, Amazon. Those who have been reading SøNws a while will know my obsession around BigTech’s gradual move towards insurance.

This week Amazon signed on three more companies for its virtual and in-person healthcare services as it continues to target the employer market.

Amazon Care is now on track to rapidly expand its hybrid care model to more than 20 additional cities. According to an Amazon executive, the company has the ambition to expand its Amazon Care service to all American states.

Data tech stepping up its game 

Applying tech smarts to data is nothing new. What’s of interest is how this is evolving and in turn how it’s impacting insurance as we know it.

First, let’s get back to France where Luko is set to collaborate with another French startup Akur8 in order to strengthen its current pricing model.

The move is also significant for Akur8, as it affirms its solid position in the domestic market and the insurtech ecosystem in France. Akur8 was founded in 2018 and develops pricing solutions specifically for insurers by automating risk modelling.

Another from the French market is Parisian startup Descartes Underwriting which announced a big old raise – a $120m Series B.

Descartes specialise in catastrophe (CAT) risk modelling by leveraging new data sources and fusing them with its host AI algorithm to be able to more accurately predict the impact of and provide protection against climate change and emerging risks. Sadly, a growing market opportunity.

In the US Parsyl has secured a $25m Series B round.

Founded in 2018 in Denver, Parsyl offers data-driven insurance for essential supply chains in food and health.

They’re an interesting play in the parametric space with sensors acting as the data source.

A great example is last year they were part of Aon’s Covid-19 vaccine global cargo product – leveraging sensor data and analytics to ensure vaccines stay within the correct temperature range during transport.

Finally, in the UK Percayso has raised $4.6m.

Launched just a few years back, in 2019, Percayso helps insurers avoid fraud, compete on price comparison sites and reduce risk levels via its data and intelligence hub, built on a SaaS model.

What I like about these guys is the fact they’re pushing beyond the normal data enrichment most insurers now have in place. Definitely worth checking out if you’re exploring this space.

Bet your telematics app doesn’t do this…

A couple of good ones to call out in the mobility space.

In the US, Sensa – powered by the tech from Israeli parent company MDgo – launched its first auto insurance offering.

The Sensa smart sensor automatically detects an accident and precisely analyses damages and injuries, ensuring the right assistance is dispatched quickly to the scene. Impressive, right?

It’s only activated when the force of the impact indicates a collision and guarantees the privacy of all policyholders with no ongoing data collection or monitoring. The sensor also has an adoption rate of over 90%. Super compelling.

And Down Under-writer (yeah, it didn’t work great as a joke, I admit) Insuret is partnering with fellow Australian car subscription software provider Loopit.

The partnership will allow any new businesses looking to enter the car subscription space to access vehicle insurance.

With car subscriptions, peer-to-peer, and rideshare rapidly increasing it all makes good sense.

Lloyds and the world of insurtechs

Greenlight Re has received ‘in-principle’ approval from the Lloyds market to establish an insurtech-focused syndicate.

The new syndicate 3456 is going to be launched in the second half of 2022 and it is set to be established under Lloyd’s innovative “syndicate-in-a-box” (SIAB) model.

Greenlight Re has been a staunch supporter of early-stage insurance startups, having made twenty investments to date. For Lloyds, the move is also part of its effort to drive the wave of digital innovation.

Another bit of Lloyd’s news – Syndicate 609’s managing agent Altrium Underwriters is partnering with startup Tautona. The plan is to use AI to automate the initial evaluation of North American property claims.

Altrium’s US clients and retail brokers will be the first to benefit from the new faster solution which speeds the resolution of claims. The partnership’s aim is to address the complexity and length of property claims as US ISO policy wordings can be up to a hundred pages. Nice.

Day 1 for African insurtech

I’ve been invited to join iFHP in Johannesburg to present and facilitate at their Big Ideas Week Africa and cannot wait. In part, because I get to meet up with Nicola, Frederik and Tunde in real life, but also so I can get hands-on with the African tech scene.

A couple of announcements I thought worth sharing this week.

Self-described as “Nigeria’s first 100% digital insurance company”, Casava has secured a $4m pre-Seed round.

With only 1.9% of the adult population having some form of insurance policy, Casava are on a mission to change that up. Interestingly this is the largest pre-Seed we’ve seen for any African Insurtech.

Out in Kenya, and with a similar ambition, Lami has acquired Bluewave in a bid to make insurance more accessible to people in Africa.

Bluewave allows clients to access micro-insurance products on different apps including the likes of WhatsApp.

And finally, in South Africa, auto insurtech Carscan has received $1.3M investment to help it grow its operations.

Founded in 2019, Carscan is an augmented reality app powered by AI, which scans and captures vehicle data, such as the condition of the vehicle, to create an accurate and traceable record of the car. This can then be used for insurance, servicing, selling etc.

Again, putting this into market context, the African continent has 700 million cars and yet many of them don’t have access to insurance or regular servicing. Plenty of opportunity for these businesses and can’t wait to see how they scale.

LatAm scaling quickly

If you didn’t catch the interview we did with Samy Hazan of Insurtech Brazil it’s definitely worth a watch.

In part because Samy paints a great picture of the Brazilian Insurtech landscape. But also because we were joined by two incredible founders – Mauro Levi D’Ancona of 180° Insurance and Igor Mascarenhas of Pier.

We recorded the interview just two months ago, and as is the case, things move fast in Insurtech.

180º has just announced a raise of $31.4m to increase insurance penetration across Brazil. 

These guys are on a mission to revolutionise the distribution and consumption of insurance. Despite the extremely low penetration rates, the market is definitely on the way up and I’ve no doubt these guys will both drive and ride that wave.

Jumping to the Chile and the only LatAm Insurtech 100, Betterfly, has raised the impressive $125m and is now planning an overseas expansion.

Betterfly was founded in 2019 and provides a digital benefits platform which aims to incentivise healthy habits. By doing this, employees can access perks like growing life insurance, whilst employers will see workers with fewer sick days.

Money still ‘flooding’ into Europe

Let’s get the pun out the way – Floodflash. I know.

For those who don’t know Floodflash as yet, these guys are a parametric insurtech that pays catastrophic flood claims within 48 hours. Just yesterday they announced a $15m Series A.

Huge news for another great UK business. Well done Adam Rimmer (LI) and team.

The plan is to use the investment, and the extra capacity agreement provided by the recent Munich Re deal, to drive international expansion and begin closing the $58bn flood protection gap. Target markets include the US, Germany, Australia, and Japan.

Another from the UK, Stubben Edge has grabbed $13m funding following impressive growth – doubling its business in the past year.

Their aim is to revolutionise insurance distribution by providing a digital platform where distributors, brokers and IFAs can start and grow their businesses.

In mainland Europe, Helvengo has launched by securing a $4.4m Seed round.

The company specialise in commercial insurance for the SME market – providing an update to the traditionally laborious process of gaining commercial insurance products.

The Netherlands-based startup will use the new funds to expand into Germany and then onwards ‘into other European markets’.

And finally, it’s only right to wrap it up with an Italian Insurtech.

Coverzen which set up last year, has just closed a pre-seed round of $563k. Its plan is to digitise and simplify the work of insurance intermediaries.

Right, I’m done.

Have a great weekend wherever in the world you are.

Apologies I haven’t been able to share any of the interviews we’ve been having with the Israeli Insurtech scene. Rest assured they’ll be ready for next time.

As always, get in touch if you’d like to know more about how Sønr can help you better scout and connect with the world of Insurtech.

If you’re in Rome this weekend, hit me up, and let’s grab a beer.


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