The future monopoly of Ping An

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Hello. 

Outside of the imminent collapsing of our economy and the surging UK C19 numbers, I’ve got to say, it’s been a good week.
 
Before we dive in, I’ve a couple of articles written by the team:
 

  1. Keeping up with Innovation
    Struggling to keep tabs on innovation that could benefit your business? Not surprised - it’s a massive task and a challenge that Dan, our CTO loves.

    Read how we track over 1.5 million companies so our customers can concentrate on finding the value and opportunity from the world of tech innovation. 
     
  2. Research Team: A Day in the Life
    This is a nice counter perspective to the tech piece above. It talks to some of the cultural aspects of Sønr – from our 9.30am Morgenfrisk to our 24-hour SLA, and gives a great insight into going the extra mile for our clients. It’s written by Emily, our Head of Research.

 
 
Some big bucks. Some not so big bucks.
Ki, the Brit and Google Cloud collaboration has announced a $500m raise for the ‘first fully digital and algorithmically-driven Lloyd’s of London syndicate offering instant capacity, accessible anywhere, at any time’.
 

Launching early 2021, I’m genuinely excited about this one and it’s a great example of what can be achieved within a corporate innovation function. If you have a few minutes, there’s a great InsTech London podcast interviewing Brit’s Mark Allan and James Birch which is well worth a listen.
 
Another to join the $500m raise club this week was Bright Health which closed its Series E, taking the total raised to over $1.5bn since early 2016. Big numbers for the US insurtech.
 
Keeping with health and Medigate which specialises in cyber security for connected medical devices, has just announced a $30m raise. It’s a space in which we’re going to see much more activity over the coming months.
 
Next Insurance, the US insurer for SMB's, announced a $250m Series D. Next cite saving their customers around 30% compared with traditional policies - a pretty attractive proposition.
 
And in India, Acko, the Amazon-backed insurtech, has raised $60m Series D funding, with Munich Re Ventures leading the round. The startup is now valued at around $500m - up from $300m last year.
 
A few smaller rounds also caught my eye.
 
In the UK, new online life and legacy planning platform, Legado has secured £600k in seed investment with backers including Prudential and FNZ. The platform enables customers to store important information relating to their policies in a single, digital vault.

The Israeli AI-powered, no-code startup, EasySend has raised $16m as it tries to help insurers and other financial services shift away from paper-based forms into digital process.
 
And in Asia Sunday, which uses a mix of AI and ML to offer personalised insurance products, has raised $9m in a pre-Series B round. The company stated it would use the funds to bolster its services in Thailand and expand into Indonesia.
 
And finally, one we’ve been following for a while, SingLife, founded just 6 years ago, is to acquire 75% of Aviva Singapore. The transaction is to be completed in January 2021 (pending regulatory approval) and the combined units will value the merger at around $2.35bn. Some decent numbers there.

 
You don’t know what you don’t know
There’s so much collaboration taking place at the mo. To mix it up a little, I thought I’d share some you might not have heard of.
 
My guess is you’ll know 1 of the 5. Maybe 2 at a push…
 
MS Amlin announces partnership with French insurtech Allphins. Allphins is a pretty niche analytics platform aiming to provide brokers, insurers and reinsurers with actionable insights on energy risks to make better and faster risk transfer decisions.
 
Munich Re has partnered with Farmers Edge, a digital agriculture firm, to provide parametric weather insurance solutions. Aside from needing an apostrophe in its name, its risk management platform is pretty smart.
 

Brain healthtech, Neurotrack has announced a new partnership with Hannover Re. The deal will add Neurotrack's cognitive health services to the life insurance market and another interesting partnership example from the US-based startup.
 
Axa Partners have announced a new partnership with travel and pet startup, Puffin. The deal will see Axa provide underwriting for the travel products.
 
And finally drone insurance startup Flock has announced a partnership with BIBA through which the pair plan to offer access and cover for commercial drones such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
What’s a product launch without AI?
Low-cost advice is a big opportunity for life insurers and ICICI Prudential Life has just launched its new chatbot service called LiGo. The AI-powered voice chatbot is powered by Google Assistant as part of a strategy to provide service on platforms that customers are using.
 
And just as our leader Rishi Sunak Boris asks us to stay working from home for another few months, it was interestingly to see Travellers launch an AI ergonomic assessment service for it business customers. With back pain a key contributor to employee absence and with staff using all manner of weird and wonderful home desk set ups, it’s a great idea.
 
 
Worth reading
Earlier this week the Chinese giant Ping An has announced its healthcare ecosystem strategy.
 
There’s a lot of talk in startups about building ‘a moat’ around your business - making it difficult/expensive for others to compete with you. Given Ping An’s access to data, existing ecosystem integration, and the sheer size of the market, it’s the very same play.
 
A snippet from the release…
 
Xie Guotong, Chief Healthtech Scientist of Ping An, introduced the Group's world class health care database with five libraries.
 
The disease library contains 100,000 disease concepts and 420,000 disease terminologies. The health care product library contains 180,000 drug manuals and 84,000 Chinese medicine prescriptions. The prescription treatment library contains 150,000 prescription formulas and 30 million medical documents. The medical resource library contains 500,000 Chinese doctors and 2.2 million scientific researchers. The personal health library contains 1 billion diagnoses and information on treatment.
 
It has also developed one of the world's leading intelligent diagnosis assistance platforms.
 
It has developed the world's largest chronic disease management platform and the world's largest health care database. The company has the world's second-largest number of patent applications for health care technology. This knowledge is applied extensively through Ping An's "medical brain" to support artificial intelligence decision-making.
 
Beyond impressive. The question is whether they’ll play nicely with others or look to take on the global market.
 
 
 
Nouvelles du marché
Last week Lemonade announced it is to expand into France by the end of the year; the third European country having launched in Germany in June 2019, and in the Netherlands earlier 2020.
 
And in more recent news the nearly 200-year old La Parisienne Assurances is rebranding to Wakam.
We’ve got to know these guys a little better recently and was fascinated to learn how they’ve rebuilt an old legacy business from the ground up, and now sit on a fully digital substrate. And with 37.2% average annual growth over the last five years, and more interestingly a 68% international turnover growth, it looks like it’s paying off.
 
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One final read before the weekend. We caught up with Elad Tsur, co-founder and CEO of Planck. We're often asked about the innovation within commercial insurance and these guys are leading the charge. Have a read about how they're helping Chubb and AIG grow both new and retained commercial business while reducing loss and expense ratios. 

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Right, it’s time to call it a day.
 
If you’d like to chat any of this through, drop me a line.
 
Equally if you’re exploring how your business can tap into any of the innovation taking place out there, I’d definitely recommend you taking a trial of Sønr.
 
Have good weekends all.
 
Matt
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