The changing face of global health insurance

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Last week I went camping with a 3-year-old.
To ‘recharge the batteries’.
All I can say is it’s good to be back.

So, a ridiculous amount of activity in the market this past fortnight.

Before diving in, a few must-reads:

  1. Sønr’s Q2 Insurtech Briefing – for those who may have missed the last plug in Sø.Nws, we’ve analysed Q2’s data, pulled out some key trends and caught up with a few big names in the industry
  2. Waymo launches robotaxis in San Francisco –  remember when Travis, at the time CEO of Uber, said ‘the reason Uber could be expensive is because you’re not just paying for the car — you’re paying for the other dude in the car’?

    Well, it looks like autonomous taxis are now hitting the streets of San Francisco…in addition to Phoenix, where they launched in 2017.
    (Thanks for the heads up on that one Stefano B.)

  3. Alan, le compagnon santé 100 % digital – a great article exploring the ambition of Alan to become the super app of European health. Well worth the read

Also two Spøtlight interviews this week. Hopefully companies you’ll be familiar with and if you’re not, you’ll certainly be seeing more of them both over the coming years:

  1. Grace Park, Co-Founder and President of DocDoc

Grace shares the deeply personal journey that led to the launch of DocDoc, as well as insight into how the company is meeting healthcare needs in Southeast Asia. A must read.

  1. Phil Zeidler, Co-Founder and CEO of DeadHappy

A man I have a lot of time for, Phil, talks us through their PAYG life insurance, Deathwishes and DeadHappy’s plans for the next 12-months. Again, a great read.

Let’s get into it.

Carrots, data and emerging health markets

Good to see Kurt Waltenbaugh’s Carrot Health get snapped by Unite US.

Carrot has one of the largest consumer and health data sets in the US has been doing some great stuff with behavioural data over the past few years. I’m looking forward to seeing where this takes them next.

Keeping with data and Canadian analytics platform Covera has secured a $25m Series C. Founded just 5 years back, Covera uses data science and AI to improve quality and outcomes in diagnostics. And they’ve some seriously impressive results. Definitely worth a look into.

A random couple from the Middle East. I’m starting to get pretty interested in what’s going on out there. I feel like it’s one of those places that’s been a little slow to embrace innovation but, for a whole pile of reasons, we’ll be hearing a lot about in 3-5 years.

The first is Saudi Arabia’s healthtech Clinicy which has grabbed an impressive pre-Series A round.

The Saudi firm launched in 2016 with a view to making the information and services of medical centres available online to patients. The key being the ability to instantly book appointments in a country where the patient no-show rate is over 30%.

The other is Kuwait’s startup Sihaty which successfully raised $1.3m to expand its digital healthcare platform.

Founded in 2019 as The Taken Seat, its platform enables users in Kuwait and Saudi to consult doctors online. Since launch its app has had 200k+ downloads and the latest funding will introduce a new feature of having an assigned family doctor for all its users.

Out in India and healthtech startups DocsApp and MediBuddy have merged. Something we’ll be seeing more and more of in this space.

The new entity will serve the healthcare needs of 3 million Indians with a partner network of over 90K doctors and 7k hospitals. As one company – now known as MediBuddy DocsApp – it has also raised $20m in Series B funding.

The reframing of life insurance

Following on from the DeadHappy Spøtlight earlier, there’s a new kid on the block in the US.

With options ranging from ‘getting Bieber to serenade my funeral guests’ to ‘making sure my Rugrats are looked after’, new Life startup, Wyshbox has launched with a similarly refreshing take on the traditionally a sombre topic of end-of-life planning.

In Germany, Balance Re has secured a $10m Series A.

The Cologne-based startup offers reinsurance solutions to life insurance companies and pension funds to support capital management related to retirement and saving products.

The new money will be used to boost Balance Re’s asset-liability management technology and support the reinsurance company in Germany.

Trucks, cars, e-bikes and embedded mobility insurance

There always seems to plenty going on in the mobility space these days.

Starting with the big bucks and Chicago-based trucking insurtech High Definition Vehicle Insurance (HDVI) has raised $32.5m in a Series B.

HDVI offers a platform built on algorithms that provides real-time safety insights while using telemetric devices.

An interesting one from Digisure, which is launching a new embedded protection platform which can provide customers with instant, micro-insurance policies. The news follows the company’s recent $13m funding round.

And finally, Root has announced an exclusive partnership to develop an integrated auto insurance solution for Carvana‘s online car buying platform.

As part of the deal, Carvana will invest approx.. $126m in Root. The partnership will offer customers with a comprehensive offering including car purchase and insurance.

A couple of earlier stage and Koop has raised $2.5m in a Seed round to further develop its modular, API-powered insurance platform for autonomous vehicles.

On top of high-speed data wrangling, the platform also offers risk insights, embedded integrations and more.

As I say, it’s early days for these guys but as autonomy scales, the need for more specialised solutions will only become more apparent.

In the UK sustainable micro-mobility startup HumanForest (AKA the Tesla of e-bikes) has secured a £2.3m pre-series A. With this it’s planning to launch in London in September.

Their business model’s an interesting one – with ad revenue enabling them to subsidise user’s travel costs – letting them ride for free for 10 mins per day (in exchange for watching ads). The shared transport (including micro-mobility) market’s a busy one but estimated to outgrow ride-hailing in the next decade.

Finally, a pretty decent partnership to get across – Snapsheet + Branch Insurance.

Snapsheet are pioneers of virtual appraisals and experts in cloud-native claims management. The plan is to help Branch, which has created a bundled home and auto product, deliver a new modern claims experience to its users.

Property Insurtech scaling through M&A and partnerships

In the US Guidewire has acquired HazardHub, a provider of API-driven property risk insights.

HazardHub works with 100+ clients (insurers/reinsurers/brokers etc) to improve underwriting processes and this acquisition will definitely help them scale more quickly.

Further north and Canada’s Apollo is set to partner with fintech RentMoola to offer an AI-driven renter’s insurance on its platform.

The new partnership will simplify the way landlords manage rental insurance and the way tenants find the right coverage.

Seems to be working too – with the insurtech reporting 1,520% growth in new logos this year! Appreciate logos doesn’t always mean big bucks but it’s definitely the right direction.

The growing importance of cyber

Always love it when we can share news about our clients.

This time it’s the team at Tokio Marine which has announced a partnership with cyber risk analytics specialist CyberCube.

Through the agreement, Tokio Marine has gained access to a number of CyberCube’s products including Account Manager, Portfolio Manager and other cyber modelling solutions. By combining these offerings, Tokio Marine’s team will gain valuable insights into their cyber book and its vulnerabilities to an ever-increasing range of threats.

In the US, Cowbell Cyber is set to release APIs to digitally distribute cyber insurance.

These APIs will allow aggregators to directly integrate to Cowbell’s platform and enable instant quoting. It aims to accelerate the adoption of cyber insurance across SME.

Keeping with SME, small business insurtech Pie Insurance, which offers workers’ comp and cyber coverage, has acquired Western Select Insurance Company.

Why’s this of interest I hear you say. Do I? I think I do at least…it’s been a long week. Well, it’s their first step towards becoming a full stack insurer. It can now underwrite its own policies and take a larger slice of the…err, pie. Nice.

Plenty of opportunity in risk management

San Francisco-based risk management platform TrustLayer has raised $15 million to build an insurance verification system.

I’m a big fan of these guys and look forward to seeing what they create.

With 75% of US businesses underinsured and the current verification process extremely costly, it’s a good opportunity.

A few others I thought be worth sharing.

South Africa tapping into Insurtech

South African insurer Old Mutual has announced a new partnership with VC firm Anthemis Group. The intention is to invest in companies disrupting financial services sector.

Anthemis is set to deploy capital on behalf of Old Mutual through its Anthemis VC Growth Fund which is focused on Series B and C companies in the Insurtech space.

Also in SA, telco giant MTN and compatriot financial services firm Sanlam are partnering to offer insurance products to subscribers in Africa where currently few have cover. The alliance will build a digital insurance and investment business which is set to be an integral part of MTN’s fintech offering.

Geospatial innovation from across the world

Staying with the Southern Hemisphere and Geoscape Australia has entered a new partnership with Israeli AI startup GeoX to use machine technology in order to improve its 3D digital maps of Australia.

Geoscape is government-owned and this partnership will greatly increase knowledge about every address across the country. Furthermore, the new data will also improve risk assessment for insurers and also help architects visualise new developments. Love it.

And that links us to Lloyd’s which has announced a two-year partnership with geospatial insurtech McKenzie Intelligence Services (MIS).

The platform will provide the Lloyd’s market with real-time analysis of perils including storms, wildfire and flooding. The data will allow Lloyd’s market insurers to instantly assess damages during times when physical access to the risk location may be limited after a natural disaster.

Ultimately this multi-source intelligence, including satellite imagery, should help deliver faster claims decisions and payments for customers. Win win.

Right, that’s me. Nothing more to add.

If you haven’t trialled Sønr, you can do so here.

If you’d like to sponsor our upcoming Insurtech 100, get in touch here.

If you’d like to buy me a beer/coffee/bigger tent, you can do so here.

Have a good one. Catch up soon.


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