Tuesday - levelling up your personal network

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Happy New Year.

Before diving in, a quick story.

Last year I had a few conversations with people who were wanting more connection with their industry peers. For some, they were missing the ability to connect with travel and events shut down; for others it was a want to meet new folk who they could learn/share/cry/laugh with.

If you were reading SøNws last year you may remember me talking about this and the idea of bringing small groups (5-7 people) together to meet up for an hour a month. The only rules being no selling and Chatham House.

Over the past 6-months we’ve curated a dozen or so groups and have had a tonne of people involved – a real mix of seniority, geography, industry focus, tech passions etc. There have been collaborations, shared learnings, real-world meet-ups and most importantly, a lot of laughter and new friendships.

And so why not broaden the experiment and see where it takes us? Welcome to Tuesday.

We’re officially launching this on Tuesday 18th but feel free to sign up ahead of time. And if you like the idea, please do share across social. The more the merrier for this one to work well.

It’s 100% free to join and always will be. This is about us all getting a little smarter, a little more connected, and collectively accelerating change across insurance. That’s got to be a good thing, right?

Right, time for some market news.

Covid accelerated M&A in health and life

I’ve no doubt we’ll start to see a tonne of consolidation across Insurtech this year, no more so than those in the life and health space. There are simply too many heavily-capitalised startups with duplicated offerings, all aggressively growing their business.

At least it’ll make it a fun market to keep a track of.

One acquisition that’s already taken place is Ethos which has acquired digital wills and estate-planning startup Tomorrow.

Ethos was founded in 2016 with a goal to make it easier to make estate-related decisions, and provide life insurance online. The company issued $13bn in life insurance coverage last year and was valued at $2.7bn. Nice. It has also raised $400m+ over the years.

As for Tomorrow, it’s a similar story – it helps people set up digital legal wills and trusts. Since Covid came on the scenes it has seen usage spike, with more than 600,000 creating digital wills and 600% growth in 2021.

In other life news Bermuda-domiciled Martello Re has just launched as a $1.65bn life and annuity reinsurer, thanks to the backing of Massachusetts Mutual Life, amongst others.

The move was made to meet growing demand for retirement products, as well as the challenges presented by Covid and an ageing population. Whilst initially focusing on MassMutual and its subsidiaries, the new reinsurer will eventually expand to other carriers.

Finally, things don’t always plan out as you’d hope. It’s as true with startups as it is with ideas incubated inside big corporates.

The UK life insurance broker Reviti, set up by tobacco giant Philip Morris, has ceased business, stating it will no longer take on new customers. These guys were founded in 2018 with the promise to offer cheap life insurance to smokers who quit.

Scaling digital health engagement globally

It’s always great to catch up with Peter Ohnemus, CEO of dacadoo.

Off the back of their inclusion in the Insurtech 100 we talked through the business in greater depth and explored just how dacadoo are driving improved outcomes for customers.

If you’re in the life and health space, it’s well worth a watch/listen.

Rewarding doctors with crypto

A couple from the US. One mainstream. One not so mainstream.

Healthcare platform for self-insured employers, Transcarent, has secured a $200m Series C to further develop its platform, following last summer’s $58m Series B.

The company’s platform enables users to virtually access care 24/7, with a health concierge who can talk to patients and assist them with surgery preparation.

Taking a somewhat left-field approach to community engagement and reward, QuestionDoctors – a social question and answer platform dedicated to health and medical questions, has partnered with Bazooka Crypto.

Using the Bazooka token both sides of the community (the public and doctors) can get crypto ‘coins’ by contributing insights, answers, and sharing content socially. Doctors get 2000 coins per answer and 5000 coins equates to just over $26.

Let’s see how that one plays out.

A busy start to 2022 for UK mobility players

Following a hugely successful 2021, commercial motor insurtech Zego has hinted at plans of further expansion in Europe in 2022.

In a reflective and interesting read, Zego looked-back over some of its main achievements in 2021 – including a successful Series C, strategic partnerships with Sogo, Dija, Swiss Re and others.

The Series C made Zego the UK’s first insurtech Unicorn, with a valuation of $1.1bn.

Keeping with British unicorns and Marshmallow, the ‘car insurer with a conscience’, has partnered with the AA to deliver roadside cover for its customers.

The partnership will enable Marshmallow customers who add breakdown cover to their policy to receive Roadside Assistance, Home Start and National Recovery to support them with any vehicle issues.

And the last bit of UK news – motor broker Markerstudy is set to acquire the insurance operations of BGL Group – a company we’ve worked with for the past few years – and which includes Beagle Street, Budget Insurance and Dial Direct.

The deal is estimated to be worth $541m, although there are reports of additional payments which could increase the final price to up to $677m. Following the acquisition, Markerstudy will nearly double its client base to 6m.

Europe accelerating mobility innovation through partnerships

Meanwhile, out in Germany, insurer (and another much-loved Sønr client) HUK-COBURG has revealed plans to set up a motor insurance JV with digital P&C-focused Neodigital (depending on pending regulatory approval from BaFin) after investing in the insurtech.

HUK-COBURG also recently partnered with insurers HDI and LVM to launch a platform for value-added services for mobility for both insurers and non-insurance companies.

A couple more in Europe.

Greater Than, a scale-up which focuses on using AI for pricing insurance based on real-time driving data, has teamed up with Tryg Norway to include EVs in a new tailored insurance product called ‘Tryg Sidekick’.

Sidekick is tailored for young drivers and can reduce costs by up to 30% through safe driving. The offering also aims to address the ever-growing demand for EV insurance in Norway, which is one of the largest markets for EVs globally.

And CAB Group has forged a strategic partnership with Spanish scale-up Bdeo, enabling its Nordic customers to benefit from Bdeo’s visual intelligence platform.

Policyholders will be able to gather evidence of motor and home insurance claims by uploading images and videos, which are then analysed by Bdeo VI’s engine. The collaboration will enable CAB handle the 1m+ claims it receives annually more efficiently.

Driving safely in Dubai, crashing in Brazil

Out in Dubai, Beema Insurance started 2022 by launching a new product called Beema SmartDriver.

As has been seen elsewhere in the world, the new offering will reward users for safer and responsible driving and will be available as a mobile app. This one however is tailored for Emirati drivers and designed in response to UAE’s agenda to reduce road traffic accidents.

In Brazil, it’s great to see MAPFRE partnering with Tractable, which creates AI solutions for accident and disaster recovery.

MAPFRE customers can take pictures of vehicle damage to conduct an automated appraisal. This will in turn send orders directly to repair shops, reducing vehicle repair time for customers by as much as two weeks. Nice.

Cyber modelling, crazy growth, and acquisitions

Let’s start close to home.

CyberCube has collaborated with Lloyd’s to design three cyber-specific scenarios to be used as Lloyd’s of London’s annual Realistic Disaster Scenarios exercise.

The three scenarios include a widespread malware attack, cyber power outage and cloud outage event, which will help Lloyd’s managing agents and syndicates to stress-test their portfolios of cyber risk. The mandatory stress tests enable Lloyds to assess each market’s financial resilience.

Sounds very sensible.

Also in the UK, cyber risk management specialist KYND has raised £3.25m in funding to accelerate its global expansion plans and launch new products on its API-based platform. KYND claims a 1,000% growth rate on ARR since June 2020, and has already formed partnerships with Beazley, Paragon and Howden, amongst others.

Another experiencing crazy growth is US’ Cowbell Cyber which has launched a new captive to provide additional capacity for its AI cyber insurance product after demand for cyber insurance continues to soar off the back of Covid.

Cowbell, launched in 2020, providing cyber insurance to SMEs by utilising an AI-assisted underwriting and including both pre- and post-breach services. Last year it reached $200m in premium run-rate and the has now revealed it expects to triple its policyholders this year.

Finally, to bring it all together, Corvus has acquired cyber underwriter Tarian which gives it instant access to global underwriting capabilities (it covers the UK, US, Middle East, Canada and Australia) and also access to Lloyd’s cyber insurance capacity. There’s no stopping these guys.

B2B2C. It’s only going to get bigger.

The UK’s challenger bank Cashplus has launched a £5/month business insurance for SMEs in collaboration with scale-up Superscript.

Whilst it has been around since 2005, Cashplus only secured its banking licence 12-months ago and now claims to service 150,000 UK SMEs. The new joint offering aims to address the underserved insurance needs of small businesses as well as their demand for a digital, flexible experience.

In Israel, startup Spott launched its digital insurance platform designed for e-commerce sellers. The launch comes on the back of last year’s $8.3m Seed round.

Spott enables e-commerce businesses to protect their stores against claims and comply with up-to-date insurance requirements from leading marketplaces, most notably Amazon.

It’s a big old space this one – the e-commerce liability insurance market is valued at $5bn and is forecast to grow rapidly, spurred by the latest requirements from leading e-commerce marketplaces for sellers to hold liability insurance.

Lloyds, Lloyds, Lloyds

A couple from Lloyd’s this week.

Firstly, it’s launch the ‘Lloyd’s Product Launchpad’ to develop new insurtech solutions to tackle emerging risks.

The new offering will continue the work of Lloyd’s Product Innovation Facility (PIF) whilst also enabling Lloyd’s market to keep partnering with startups.

As part of the announcement co-chairs George Beattie, Head of Incubation Underwriting, Beazley and our latest favourite client Hayley Maynard, Head of Strategy, Chaucer said:

‘We’re committed to finding practical and measurable insurance breakthroughs. The industry can expect new products and partnerships from the Launchpad that will reinforce Lloyd’s reputation as the best place in the world for commercial insurance innovation.’

The other Lloyds news is the launch of the Lloyd’s Lab Cohort 8.

As before, they’re looking for innovative Insurtechs from around the world to take part in their 10-week, equity-free accelerator programme.

As always, they’ve focussed in on particular themes and if you do fit the bill, I’d definitely urge you to apply. It’s always a good one.

New Sønr feature

Based on feedback from our users, we have introduced a new feature to our Watchlists.

If you’re not already familiar with Watchlists, it’s a feature where you can create a collection of companies (target investments, competitors, potential partners etc) that you wish to keep a track of. Once you’ve done so you can subscribe to a regular digest, compare the organisations, and export to Excel.

The new update means it’s now possible to share your Watchlists across all the users within your organisation.

When shared this way, you can give all your colleagues the ability to either view your Watchlist or actively collaborate on building it, breaking down the silos of knowledge within your business.

Nice huh?

Time to enjoy the weekend. Don’t forget to check out Tuesday and get involved.

Have a good one and until next time.


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