The latest market trends, BigTech and rise of M&A

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It’s Friday.
It must be time for SøNws. 
I’m kicking off this week with a must-read: Sønr’s Q3 Insurtech Briefing.
In this report we dive into the opportunity and threats posed by embedded insurance with two exceptional interviews – Stefano Bison of Generali and Rob Schimek of bolttech.
It’s worth a read for these interviews alone. And thank you to both chaps for their time.

We also take a look at the investment activity across the quarter, exploring emerging trends across motor, property, health and cyber.
Finally we immerse ourselves into LATAM with a contribution from Samy Hazan, MBA (thanks Samy!) with whom we also caught up a few weeks back.

Right, let’s get into some market news.

Driver data in the US, autonomous in China

Let’s put Lemonade and Metromile aside for just a minute.
One from the US you might not have picked up on was Verisk’s acquisition of Data Driven Safety.
The latter are a US-based data aggregation firm, with a focus on driver risk assessment. Given that data will arguably continue to be the life-blood and key differentiator it’ll be a space to watch with keen interest.
Actually on that note, there’s a great Coverager article I read this morning with an interview between Shefi Ben-Hutta and Claire Alleaume from IMS. It provides some top insight into the US vs European telematics, the future for Tesla, and the opportunity for carriers to tap directly into connected car data.
Right, let’s head East where it’s all about autonomous.
Globally, the Chinese market is embracing electrification and advanced self-driving technology faster than anywhere else and Momenta, a Chinese autonomous solution provider, has just landed a $500m Series C. Big money.

Interestingly it’s backers included Toyota, Mercedes and GM. Nothing like hedging your bets.
Finally, hot of the press this morning, Swiss Re and Chinese tech giant Baidu have partnered to advance insurance and risk management for autonomous driving and autonomous vehicles.
The goal is to further develop the autonomous driving industry and ‘create a new industry paradigm’ for insurance protection. In essence it’ll mean Swiss Re will create and tailor a bunch of autonomous driving insurance products to meet the needs of technology firms, like Baidu.

Insurtech consolidation. It’s just the beginning

You didn’t really think I could leave out the Lemonade and Metromile deal? My view, and excuse the poor pun, is it’ll play out well for Lemonade down the road.
Whilst Metromile’s metrics are pretty nominal, and their product (ODB-II plug in) is misaligned to Lemonade’s current app-only offering, I’m confident they’ll be able to iron both these out and capitalise on the growing market.
Beyond that though it sets an interesting precedent for what’s to come from Lemonade.
Will their step into the European motor market follow a similar path? What about when they broaden into new product lines? And what does this mean for other well-funded scale-ups?
I’ve a feeling we’re about to see plenty of consolidation over the coming years and this is just the first of many from Lemonade. A good one for them to cut their teeth on.
Following on, and another from last week, was digital insurance broker, CLARK acquiring finanzen – a leading financial services and insurance leads provider.

This will add significant capability and footprint to CLARK with which to expand (presumably pretty rapidly) further into the UK and across Europe. Another to watch with interest.

Amazon and Bytedance step further into health

It’s always interesting to track where BigTech and established platforms are putting their money. It’s a great indicator for what’s to come.

Interestingly over the past couple of months we’ve seen the Chinese company behind TikTok has started accelerating its effort in the digital healthcare sector.
In September, Bytedance led the Series C investment on the largest online medical platform focusing on mental health care Good Mood, which raised $31 million. And more recently invested in drug discovery company focusing on structural biology.
Xiaohe Health, a wholly owned subsidiary of ByteDance, also invested in another two medical companies – Amcare Healthcare and Arion Care. Interesting right?
And what health update would be complete without an Amazon update.
This week they landed their second corporate customer – Hilton in the US, providing the hospitality giant with virtual medical services. And in the UK AWS announced the launch of its accelerator programme for UK-based digital healthcare startups.
Most interestingly the selected startups will also get the opportunity to collaborate with AWS customers and members of the AWS Partner Network looking for healthcare solutions.

Diabetes, Alzheimer’s and building healthcare across India

As always there’s a tonne of health investment activity. Apologies for only being able to show a mere fraction of it and do shout if you’d like to go deeper.
A few that stood out:
Biolinq, a company I’ve definitely talked about before, has landed a $100m Series B. These guys use micro-biosensing (or wearables to you and me) to remote-monitor a range of clinical conditions including diabetes.

One close to my heart is Canadian startup, Optina Diagnostics which is helping move towards being better able to predict Alzheimer’s. They’ve raised $20m for their AI-driven diagnostics platform, which identifies biomarkers linked to Alzheimer’s from retinal images.
Somewhat more closely linked to insurance, a couple from around the world.
Following a 30% growth month-on-month, India’s Clinikk, which offers a subscription service that combines health insurance and unlimited OPD coverage digitally, has raised $4 million in a Pre-Series A round.
Clinikk plans to use the fresh capital to consolidate its full stack product offering and also increase its footprint in Bengaluru and other cities in India.

And Saudi-based Rasan has raised $24 million for its Tameeni platform. Through an automated process, Tameeni allows users to receive their insurance policies online within seconds.
It currently works with 20 partners across several sectors, including SME health and motor, and is looking to increase the portfolio with the new funding.

Life insurance getting a makeover in SA

One to definitely check out is OneSpark which has launched its AI-powered, pay-as-you-need, P2P life insurance product in South Africa.
Their ambition is to make policies more efficient and affordable, and it looks like they’ve done a pretty good job. They claim users can save up to 70% compared to other life insurance products and can get quotes in 10 seconds, and coverage in minutes.
It’s also been beautifully realised:

I just clocked OneSpark has Springbok’s Siya Kokisi as one of its ambassadors. Brand ambassadors don’t get much bigger than him in South Africa. Let’s hope he’s been sufficiently distracted by all the corporate work before the England game tomorrow.
Back to insurance, and on the incumbent side Allianz has received approval to acquire the remaining 49% stake of its JV, Allianz China Life Insurance.
Allianz stated the company plans to focus on China’s middle and high-end customers.
And USAA Life have announced the launch of a new medical exam-free product – Essential Term Life Insurance. It’s aimed squarely at millennials and requires only 9 questions to be answered.
Unlike the UK’s DeadHappy, US-based Wyshbox or indeed SA’s OneSpark, it still takes up to 24hrs to get cover. Not too sure why but imagine legacy tech and outdates processes might play a role. Not sure it’ll quite meet the expectations of their target audience.

The rising opportunity of the gig economy

Meeting the needs of a rapidly growing gig economy space feels like a bit of an arms race.
UK-based Collective Benefits have been doing pretty well over the past 18 months – entering 20 markets and acquiring 200,000 customers. And as of last week, their $10m raise will undoubtedly help them on that upward trajectory.
Another UK business to keep an eye is Jove. Set to launch in January, with two business partners already signed up, it’s building a bundle of insurance products for drivers, freelancers and consultants.
It plans to offer everything from liability to motor to health coverage on a project-by-project basis, embedded automatically into courier apps or partner talent marketplaces.
Below is a slide taken from Jove’s recent pitch deck off the back of which they landed a £600K pre-seed round:

With a focus on 1.3 billion plus (this is a 2018 figure) gig workers across APAC Willis Towers Watson have announced a joint broking partnership with gig worker specialist Indeez.
The two will focus on the APAC market, serving the needs of independent workers in the digital platform sector with products such as professional liability and income protection. Super interesting.

Partnering to protect our changing planet

Global specialty re/insurance group Chaucer has partnered with UK’s Yokahu on a new microinsurance product which aims to provide relief following hurricane events in the Caribbean.
Yokahu monitors wind speed and atmospheric pressure at the centre of a hurricane which allows a faster payment. The partnership is important because of the rising challenge of climate change in the Caribbean and the low level of penetration of insurance in the region.

Yokahu was founded in 2019 in London and provides disaster insurance.
In Japan ICEYE, the radar satellite imaging and a provider of flood hazard data, have partnered with Aon. The plan is to provide insurers with flood hazard data helping them to reduce volatility and better understand the post-event impact on their portfolios.
And extreme weather risk specialist Demex Group and MGA service platform Vave have announced a partnership to deliver extreme temperature insurance to commercial properties across the US.
Their new product is parametric and based on hyper-local weather trends based on nearly 42,000 zip codes. It will provide up to $1k immediately in the event of intense temperatures. Nice.
Keeping with parametric and insurance platform Arbol has successfully registered Arbol Underwriters, an MGU based in Bermuda.
Arbol was launched in 2018 in New York and its platform leverages decentralised climate data, blockchain technology and AI to power its proprietary pricing platform. Who could ask for more?

From the US to Australia to South Africa

Whilst there’s inordinate complexity in building a global business, and it’s never truer than within insurance, it’s always great to see scaling Insurtechs take on new territories.
Starting with US-based Flip, these guys has successfully entered the Australian insurance market by launching the first on-demand injury cover in the country.

It aims to provide an affordable, straightforward protection which is on-demand with people only paying when at risk of injury. The new product which is called Flip’s Day pass will offer a single day of injury cover for 6 dollars.
That one I like for sure.
In turn Australia’s BizCover has launched its online business insurance platform in South Africa which will be known as Bi-me and will feature products from Hollard Insurance and Discovery Insure initially.
The aim of this market entry is to address the lack of digitalisation in the commercial insurance space in South Africa with 2.25 million small businesses in the country.

Low code, no code

It’s becoming a big space.
Super early stage and keeping with the South African connections, end-to-end insurance infrastructure startup Root has raised $3m in Seed funding to expand into new markets.
The company plans to offer its Cloud-based, low-code platform to new geographies overseas, having already secured partnerships with large affinity insurance players in South Africa.
In Germany, IaaS company Element has strategically partnered with Bayerische to offer consumers a new digital bicycle insurance for up to €12k, marking a portfolio expansion for both companies.
Bike Protect covers bicycles, e-bikes and pedelecs (I’m sure these were called mopeds in my day) with no excess, starting at €4.68/month.
And last but not least, EasySend, which offers a no-code platform focused on improving customer journeys, has raised a $55.5m Series B increasing its previously valuation 5.5x.

The company has around 100 enterprise clients across insurance, financial services, government, and education – with Sompo and Petplan two noted customers.

Get ready, the Insurtech 100 is out on Wednesday

This one has been months in the making and I cannot wait to get this out to the market.
This year we’ve broadened the definition of Insurtech, we’ve gone particularly deep globally analysing tens of thousands of companies that impact insurance directly and indirectly, and we’ve worked with 20 incredible judges from around the world.

The production of the report is second to none, in part thanks to the support of EY who have been involved as both a sponsor and contributor to the publication more broadly.

It’s one not to miss so do keep an eye for it. Better still drop an email to [email protected] and we’ll be sure to get you a copy as soon as it’s out.

Time to sign off.
Before I do, a quick note to ask you to please keep forwarding these newsletters on to your colleagues and teams. It’s crazy how fast the audience for SøNws is growing and it’s hugely valuable for building Sønr’s brand awareness.
Whilst our platform is already used by thousands of people across some incredible clients, it definitely feels we’re just at the beginning of our journey.
Have great weekends and do shout if you’d like to connect.

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