US growth, new data sources, and LLMs. Everywhere.

View this email in your browser


It’s a swift run through today. You’re welcome 😉

Before I do, this:

  • Research-driven agenda covering the latest in AI, Customer-Centricity, Strategy, Product Design & Intelligent Innovation
  • 30+ in-depth case studies presented across 2 days, including insurance-specific Gen AI use cases
  • Tailored learning opportunities including live panels, quick-fire case studies, and interactive workshops


It’s my first Reuters event and I’m very much looking forward to it. Especially as I’m not presenting, moderating or having any responsibility other than to soak it up and meet new folk.

I’ll be heading out towards the end of next week. In fact, it’s the start of a few weeks in the US as I’ll be heading over to Hartford and then New York.

Whilst Sønr is growing quickly in the US we’re still relatively unknown compared to the UK and APAC.  If you have colleagues, connections, or you’re based out there, do please hit me up.

LLMs revolutionising healthcare

AI deployment in the health space is nothing new.
Yet the introduction of GenAI is properly game-changing.

Yesterday I clocked a LinkedIn post from a friend, Yannick Even. He shared the latest results from Med-Gemini, the new medical LLM launched by Google DeepMind and Google Research.

“With an accuracy of 91.1% in medical diagnostics and state-of-the-art performance on 10 out of 14 medical benchmarks, this AI outperforms GPT4 by 44%. It outperforms human experts on tasks such as medical text summarization and referral letter generation.”

The paper is long. It’s detailed.
And so, I asked Gemini to summarise it 🤷

‘The report concludes that Gemini models have significant potential to transform healthcare. However, it stresses the need for careful implementation, collaboration between AI researchers and medical professionals, and a continued focus on safety and ethical considerations.’

Keeping with AI in health and Alaffia Health, which creates generative AI solutions for health insurance claims, has raised a $10m Series A. They’ve a decent suite of tools developed and worth checking out.

When a $2.35bn bet doesn’t pay off

Keeping with the GenAI theme, let’s jump over to Swiss Re.

These guys have launched an augmented version of their Life & Health underwriting manual Life Guide.

The new version comes equipped with Swiss Re Life Guide Scout, a Generative AI-powered underwriting assistant that integrates Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service.

Underwriters can ask professional queries, and receive an AI-generated answer within seconds. And this allows them to make faster, more precise decisions and improves knowledge transfer. Nice.

In other life related news, Empathy has partnered with Securian Financial to give the latter’s 11 million employee benefit customers access to Empathy’s app. I’m a big fan of Empathy and great to see even more people, in particular those currently dealing with loss, able to access their services

And kind of life. Kind of health, home and auto. It looks like Prudential has made the decision to shut down the operations of Assurance IQ.

A tough and expensive call.

Assurance IQ was set up in 2016, didn’t take external capital and got bought in 2019 for $2.35bn. Big numbers. But if you can’t make it work, you can’t make it work.

Wakam, bienvenue en Angleterre

A couple from the French embedded scene.

First up is Estaly, a French insurtech which enables merchants to offer customers insurance at point of purchase. These guys have raised €3.6m in funding.

Second up is our much-loved client Wakam.

They have FCA and PRA approval for Wakam UK Limited. Whilst the UK already contributes over half of their €924 million turnover, the new entity enables them to further elevate their offerings for existing customers throughout the UK.

Good work team.

Last on the embedded is Great American Insurance Group which has announced the formation of a dedicated embedded insurance team. They will be charged with finding and evaluating new embedded insurance opportunities for P&C.

Why companies are choosing the US for growth

A bigger market. More capital. Huge talent pool.

Is it any wonder why the US is such a high priority for scaling insurtechs?

This week we see Germany’s conversational AI startup, Parloa, raising a $66m Series B.

And you guessed it, the funding is to focus on its US expansion. If you’re not familiar with Parloa, it works with companies, such as Swiss Life, to automate communications – e.g. emails and chatbot messages.

From the UK, McKenzie Intelligence (MIS) is also heading over, in part thanks to its partnership with the UK|CT Insurtech Corridor.

MIS helps carriers, brokers, and TPA’s in their response to NatCats, like wildfires and flooding. Interestingly they responded to 28 major events in the US market in 2023 alone.

And last of all Urban Jungle might be heading over.

This week they secured $14m in their latest Series A funding round and Jimmy Williams, Co-Founder and CEO, said:

“We’re already one of the leading insurance brands for UK renters and homeowners, but our ambition is to become the number one insurance business in the UK and beyond. This funding is a big step towards that, and we’ll use it to rapidly grow our customer base and roll out our simple, fair insurance into other markets in the year to come.”

Alright, they said ‘UK and beyond’.
I might be second guessing them on this one.

Whilst we’re on the top of UK vs US, two things:

  1. Have a read of this LinkedIn post by Matthew Moulding.
    It’s a super interesting read, talking through the decline and risk of listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Super interesting insight.
  2. As I mentioned earlier, I’m doing a Chicago > Hartford > NYC trip for a few weeks. Let me know if you’re about or you have friends/connections I should link up with.

Parametric weather, new data and too many spacecrafts

I’m loving the new data sources coming into insurance.

One of those is Safehub. It has just announced an exclusive partnership with Liberty Mutual Reinsurance to offer a building-specific, sensor-based, parametric earthquake (re)insurance product to companies around the world.

Keeping with parametric and Arbol has raised an impressive $60m Series B. For context, the average Series B in 2023 was $22.7m, so this is a significant one in this climate.

The funding will enhance Arbol’s ability to tackle increasing climate-related insured losses. Arbol uses trusted global datasets for objective loss triggers, aiming to broaden the adoption of parametric products and make climate risk an investable asset class. The company plans to use the funding to expand into agriculture and renewable energy.

And at a slightly earlier stage, Beyond Weather has just raised €250k from LUMO Labs to further develop its AI technology for long-range weather and impact forecasting.

Finally, off the back of referencing ICEYEs funding last time, there’s a new report from Slingshot Aerospace Inc. These guys provide AI-powered solutions for satellite tracking.

It’s an interesting read with some great stats (did you know there were 12,597 spacecrafts in orbit?!).

Melissa Quinn, General Manager, Slingshot Aerospace Ltd states in the report:
“The industry has been saying space is becoming more congested for years, but now reality is setting in and the pressure is on to address the increasing risk in orbit. We need to come together as an industry to make meaningful progress to coordinate the safe and sustainable use of space.” 

Embedded price comparison and conversational AI

In the UK, MoneySuperMarket put an announcement out this week, saying it has partnered with the UK’s biggest online car marketplace – Auto Trader UK.

Anyone looking to buy a new car can now compare insurance quotes without leaving the Auto Trader website or app. Simple. I like it.

And conversational AI platform, Peppercorn AI, has closed a new £3.25m funding round.

They’ve built some promising tech – enabling customers to buy and manage policies through a personalised digital conversation. Worth checking out.

Last thing. I promise.

Make yourself read this quarter’s Gallagher Re InsurTech Report.

As always, an exceptional data-led (I know, it’s not Sønr data but still 🤦🏼‍♂️) insight into the world of insurance innovation. What I love seeing with these reports is how they’re evolving with the market. From evermore internal and external thought-leadership, to a 2024 focus on AI and its application to core business functions across (re)insurance.

Right, that’s me. Done.

It’s a long weekend in the UK and then off to the states next week.

Do get in touch if you’re Chicago / Hartford / New York based.
I’d love to meet up.

Keep well. More soon.


SøNws is brought to you by Sønr.

Sønr is the world-leading market intelligence platform created specifically for the insurance sector. It provides you with the knowledge and tools to stay relevant, compete and plan for the future.

Try out a trial of Sønr to access intelligence on market trends, competitor playbooks and disruptive tech companies globally. Plus collaboration tools to help you track and manage innovation activity across your organisation.




Copyright © 2024 Sønr Global. All rights reserved.

If you enjoyed this email, please forward to a friend and suggest they subscribe. If you didn’t, feel free to unsubscribe from this list or let me know what you’d rather read about.


Subscribe to SøNws

Join 10,000s of others and keep ahead of insurance innovation news and activity from around the world: