2021, the year of inflection for telematics?
Let’s kick off with a project close to our hearts. Something we got involved in early doors and it’s great to see now coming to market.
That’s right, Vitality is to expand into the UK car insurance market this spring, in partnership with Covéa Insurance. Much like its health model, the D2C proposition will offer policyholders rewards for good habits, such as driving safely and considering the environment.
I’m really keen to see how this drives telematics adoption across the UK.
If that wasn’t enough, Callum Rimmer, founder of By Miles, has just launched By Bits. It’s a SaaS platform that enables insurers in the UK and overseas to develop their own usage-based products. The disruptor becomes the enabler.
Something that also caught my eye was Smartcar, an API developer for the mobility sector, partnering up with True Mileage, a usage-based auto insurance analytics provider. What I didn’t realise is Smartcar enables insurers to connect to over 60 million vehicles. Now that is a good stat.
What else, what else?
Claim Technology has added AI-powered vehicle inspection startup Click-Ins to its platform. It’s part of their strategy to enable insurers to consume dozens of solutions from insurtechs through a single plug-and-play API.
And finally, great to see Chilean’s Jooycar officially stepping into the US with the launch of its GPS vehicle tracking solution – Fleetr. You guessed it, a fleet management tool.
Home Insurance – from crowdfunding to IPOs
A couple of interesting reads this week.
Rent-alternative insurtech Rhino raised $95m (an investment that puts company valuation at around $500m) and is already dropping hints of an IPO. Rhino offers insurance to real estate companies, enabling them to swap out traditional rental deposits for an insurance product.
With its ARR up from $4m two years ago to $60m in Jan 2021 the numbers are impressive. One to keep an eye on.
Blink and you’ll have missed it. Yet to launch, home insurance meets smart tech, Hiro, kicked off its crowdfunding round and smashed its target (£1.2m) in just 14 minutes, and reached its stretch goal (£1.5m) in an hour.
Just like with the IPOs its super interesting to see Insurtechs raising crowdfunding and building that early customer base. It’s a playbook straight out of fintech and not an easy one to succeed at. It definitely helps when one of the co-founders is Krystian Zajac, who previously co-founded Neos. He’s got a strong track record and a great network.
Commercial insurance. It’s about the SMBs
It’s a big ol’ relatively untapped, un-innovated market. But that’s also changing fast.
If you don’t know Foxquilt, they offer a number of interesting twists to the usual business insurance. One is their ‘group savings’, a product modelled on bringing people and communities together, making it easier for them to buy insurance online and access group purchasing power.
Worth checking them out for sure.
Health, health and more health
There’s an absolute mountain of stuff going on in life and health at the mo.
Let’s start in France where Alan has revealed plans to launch multiple free mobile apps that will help users better understand specific areas of health and find others who are affected by them.
First up is Alan Baby, which provides guidance on sleep, nutrition, and development, and can be customized based on infant age.
It’s a smart move. If you think car insurance is either bought annually or aligned to a life stage, it’s the perfect hook for new parents. Get it right and you’ll have loyalty for life.
That said the ‘ability to start a text discussion with a doctor and have an answer within 24-hours’ looks a whole load better on paper than in practice. What parent will accept a 24-hour turnaround to a medical question when it comes to their little human?
My dog, yes, absolutely. My son, not a chance.
Initial focus aside, establishing an ecosystem of products will generate a whole load of interesting data. And no doubt possibilities.
Tying in with the above, good to see K Health raise a further $132m. It coincides with their newly launched and first-of-its-kind ‘K for Parents’ virtual-paediatric offering.
Last bit of health insurance news and Sidecar has reached Unicorn status after securing a $125m Series C. Sidecar’s app enables users to customise their car insurance coverage as well as pay for treatment at point of service, using their own Health Visa card tied to their account.
Life moving into the spotlight
We’d spotted the references in its Q3 2020 letter to shareholders, and lo and behold, Lemonade has launched its life insurance offering.
Lemonade Life starts at $9/month with term options of 10 and 20 years, no medical exam required and coverage up to $1m.
The news comes less than a week after the company revealed that its pet insurance product, which launched 6 months ago, now makes up around 5% of its business.
In the UK, it looks like Aviva’s Quotemehappy has also expanded into life car insurance.
And possibly more interesting is insurtech DeadHappy, which has struck a £2m media equity deal with Channel 4 Ventures, enabling it to double its media spend and ‘go mainstream’. DeadHappy launched in Feb 2019, offering a PAYG 10-year rolling basis product with just four medical questions. It has insured more than £1bn in pay-outs.
They’re developing a wellbeing platform, which rewards the usual looking after physical and mental health, but interestingly extends to encouraging ‘community mindedness’. It enables members who volunteer for projects to benefit their local communities and also to translate rewards earned into charitable donations.
Foresters are planning on making this available to all 3m members and clients in Canada, the US and the UK. Nice. And interestingly Dacadoo are now working with 35 of the top 100 Life & Health insurance operators globally. Good work guys.
A snapshop from around the world
Just ten months after its launch, ZA Bank has received its insurance agency license, making it the first virtual bank to offer car insurance products as a digital-only insurer in Hong Kong. Once launched, users will be able to get quotes and purchase insurance in-app, and manage their policies at any time.
There was great news out of Kenya this week, with Agri insurtech Pula securing a $6m Series A. The funding will help de-risk smallholder farmers across Africa and Asia.
Whilst Africa holds around 17% of the world’s arable land, the continent’s farmers are often faced with inadequate protection from climate risk due to the expense. Pula hopes to address this through leveraging weather data and machine learning, and working with banks to help with distribution.
In India, Digit Insurance has become a Unicorn after raising an undisclosed amount of funding from existing investors, and claiming growth of almost 32% in 2020.
Digit was launched in 2017 with backing from Fairfax Holdings, and its offerings include motor, health, property and travel insurance, with mobile first-first features including smartphone-enabled self-inspections.
Closer to home it has been a busy week in France with LeoCare raising €15m and Lovys €17m. Both in the personal lines space, with 20k policyholders each and a commitment to scale by the end of the year. Nothing like a bit of competition to fuel growth.
Boom, bust, boom?
To provide a bit of balance, let’s take a look at Getsurance.
It entered the market in 2016 as Robo Advisor for car insurance, specialising in biometric risk (occupational disability, life, care etc.). Two doctors behind the company. Took some angel funding, RGA came on board as investor in 2018 and in October 2020 it filed for bankruptcy.
That’s tough, right?
No one wishes that on an ambitious young company.
The good news is Nürnberger is taking on the business, retaining the brand and all employees. And the hope is the acquisition will provide valuable impetus to get Getsurance back on track. I wish them luck.
Finally, don’t forget to check out our latest Spøtlight with Andy Yeung, CEO of Indonesia-based Fuse. With a 250% GWP growth across 2020, Fuse has created a digital distribution ecosystem to connect agents, insurers and consumers. Definitely one to keep on eye on.
Right, that is all for me. Time to jump on calls, get out for a run and enjoy the weekend.
Don’t forget to drop me a line if you’re interested in joining up with a few of your peers for a Chatham House Rule open format discussion.
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