A big thanks to all who have expressed interest in the community idea. Apologies to those I haven’t connected with as yet. I’ll get there soon, I promise.
We’ve now got 5 groups up and running and many more to come.
As a reminder if you’d like to connect with peers in small groups of 5-6 then get in touch. We’ve got CXOs of global insurers through to founders of some of the leading startups. And everyone in between.
There’s no agenda to this (literally and figuratively) and no cost either. It’s simply a way to bring together new connections from around the world – something we’re all missing at the moment.
If you’re interest to know more, drop me a line. Appreciate this isn’t quite Clubhouse but if you have friends/colleagues you also think would be interested, please share the word.
Last bit of self-promotion before diving in.
I think it was Aesop who coined the phrase ‘You can tell a market intelligence company by the company he takes’. Or something similar.
With that, a big welcome to a whole of bunch new clients this month.
Whilst Sønr is still a young business, we’ve built an incredible platform and it’s an honour to be already working with dozens of insurance companies around the world.
Our ambition is simple: to accelerate the pace of innovation across insurance by helping clients better track changing markets and connect them with businesses that can propel them forward.
If you’re not using Sønr please do check it out. If you’d like to learn more about how we help our clients you can dive in here.
Time for some market news.
Let’s kick off with a few trends that are getting a load of traction at the mo.
I’m seeing a lot of reports and a lot of stats showing just how underprepared we all are for cyber risks.
‘Whilst 81% of C-level insurers think their company is not adequately protected against cyberthreats, only 10% say they have already taken out cyber insurance.’
There’s plenty more (terrifying stats) where that came from.
As such it’s no surprise to see investors are doubling down on cyber. One of the big rounds this week was for Coalition, which offers cybersecurity tools with its insurance products. It raised a $175m Series D.
Coalition currently works with more than 42,000 companies and plan to use the funding to branch into other lines of commercial insurance.
It’s an interesting play, especially amongst a lot of market talk about how BigTech has the potential to commoditise or disintermediate insurers. I am going to talk about Amazon a little later on too.
Very simply BigTech owns the data (via their services), analytics (via their cloud software), and distribution (via their consumer platforms). It not much of a leap to imagine how the future might look a whole lot different.
Anyway, off my hobby horse. Cloud Protection+ is a cyber insurance for both first-party and third-party losses, with Google Cloud-specific enhancements, leveraging easy data-driven submission and underwriting process which can be tailored to the clients’ specific risk profile.
Compensation to prevention
A trend we’re seeing a lot of focus on, and innovation across, is the shift from the traditional compensation to preventative models.
And wefox is just one of those committing to this with their plan to launch wefox Prevent next year.
The word on the street is the German-based insurtech is soon to close a huge $250m funding round, putting it at a circa $2bn valuation. The new funds are expected to go towards bolstering its tech, including this new IoT-powered preventative system.
And all this off the back of the wefox’s celebrations last week – a profitable 2020 with YoY growth of over 500%. Wow. Good work guys.
I’m loving the parametric chat at the moment. It holds so much opportunity for insurers to create wholesale change in their relationship with customers.
Imagine the idea of having absolute, data-driven, confidence in receiving a pre-defined pay-out should certain events happen.
I appreciate that last sentence is the definition of what insurance should be; it’s just not how most customers think of insurance.
Parametric + prevention + blockchain (sure, why not!) = the new face of insurance? I’ll save that one for another time.
Less talk, more market news.
Parametric travel insurtech Blink, who’s founders stepped back from the business just yesterday, has expanded into Central/Latin America.
And Lloyd’s of London has partnered with new insurtech Bounce to launch a parametric earthquake insurance product in New Zealand. It will use uses cutting-edge technology and real-time GeoNet data to automatically pay customers within five days following a strong earthquake.
The home of koalas, Vegemite and people who still work in offices
In my continued determination to work with more Australian and New Zealand insurers (we’ll be allowed to visit again soon, right?) I had a call with a great team down in Perth yesterday.
I’d completely forgotten what the old world – the one where people sat in offices – looked like. Whilst I’m loving working from home I could definitely do with more company than just the dog.
So, a couple of announcements from Down Under.
Specialist insurance provider CFC Underwriting has acquired Gold Coast-based cyber security firm Insane Technologies to help bolster its cyber incident service. CFC, which serves companies across 65 countries, recently launched its self-service trading platform for cyber insurance – Connect, to the Australian market.
Further up the coast, Coverhero has launched a new B2B embedded home insurance offering, Lucci.
Lucci which will use 3D aerial imaging, computer vision and APIs to provide personalised insurance policies in milliseconds. The insurtech, which previously launched gig workers income product Hustle, is actively looking for distribution partners who’d be interested in the plug and play product.
Let’s take a look across insurance, starting with health.
Health still looking very healthy
Off the back of quadrupling revenue over the past couple of years, health benefits startup Gravie has raised a $28m Series D, led by AXA Venture Partners.
Gravie offers its users a defined contribution approach, enabling employers to set a benefits budget and employees are given free choice over their out-of-pocket maximum.
Granular provides smart employer benefit risk-sharing through data-driven insights and predictive analytics, and supports over 100k consumers – a number they expect to grow ‘significantly’ over the next few months.
Health data analytics startup Komodo Health has brought in a mega-round of $220m Series E (giving the company a $3.3bn valuation).
The company is best known for its Healthcare Map, an AI tool that tracks more than 325m anonymised patient healthcare encounters, which can be leveraged to predict patient outcomes, track trends, and improve care.
Last but not least, we caught up with Matthew Reed, Founder and Managing Director of Equipsme which offers business health benefits and insurance.
We discuss how attitudes to private health insurance have changed since the pandemic, and what the future has in store for the company following a year of fantastic growth.
One other bit of news I enjoyed this week was Chilean insurtech Jooycar expanding into California. It’s already operating in Peru and Mexico and great to see it stepping into such a huge market.
In the next month or so we’ll be publishing the Future 50 Americas so keep an eye out for more South American innovation. There’s so much going on down there at the moment.
Life & Pensions
Good to see more news from Royal London this week. The UK’s largest life, pensions and investment mutual, has acquired a 30% stake in later life lending and product specialists Responsible Life and Responsible Lending (Responsible Group).
There’s some serious growth potential across the later life lending market and I look forward to seeing where this investment takes them.
Staying in the UK and Aviva has partnered up with fellow Bristol-based Tumelo to roll out a transparent investment pilot across a selection of Aviva’s pension members.
Those taking part will have access to Tumelo’s platform, which will enable them to see the companies their pensions are invested into, and give them a voice on the environmental, social and governance issues they care about. It aims to help the 55% of consumers who don’t know where their pension is invested.
Finally, I thought this was an interesting one.
Allianz Life has announced a leadership change, introducing Jasmine Jirele as the company’s new President and CEO.
What stood out for me is that Jasmine has a background in innovation – prior to this role she was Chief Growth Officer at the company, responsible for product innovation, Allianz Ventures and expanding into new markets.
Sounds like a strong appointment for the future of Allianz Life.
I’m sure most people will have caught this one – Amazon and Next Insurance coming together to offer Business Prime members small business insurance.
Buyers and sellers now have access to a range of products, including professional liability, worker’s compensation, and commercial auto.
If you ever wanted to know how Insurtechs could achieve overnight scale, it’s a pretty good example. It’s also a definite echo of the Amazon/Acko car insurance play in India.
Maybe we just need to see it a few more times before incumbents take it really seriously?!
There’s a lot of talk around Covid accelerating the digitisation of claims. But it’s not just the 100-year old insurers that are speeding up the way things are done.
Home insurtech Hippo has revealed two new partnerships with Claimatic and Five Sigma, aiming to enhance the speed and processing of its back-end customer claims services using automation.
Hippo’s Claim Concierge service already has NPS scores nearly twice that of its counterparts, and the new partnerships aim to help the company keep its high scores as it scales to reach 95% of US homeowners in 2021.
Other market news
A few others that were good to see this week.
Generali France has announced a multi-year partnership with Akur8, to leverage the latter’s proprietary transparent AI-powered pricing solution in Generali’s rate-making capabilities.
The move will enable Generali France to increase their modelling speed by 5x, significantly reducing time-to-market. Sounds like a very good thing.
And our friends at Supercede, the global reinsurance placement platform, have announced a partnership with Trace Isys to provide a seamless solution covering the entire reinsurance lifecycle.
Finally, a super interesting one is disability insurtech Asteya which launched this week with a big old Seed round of $10m.
Asteya, which was co-founded by Alex Williamson, the former Chief Brand Officer of recently IPO-ed Bumble, aims to tackle the gender inequality often faced in disability insurance premiums (women are often charged more) and the protection gap faced by small business and gig workers.
Right, I think that is me done. For those who pick up the papers this weekend, I’m hoping you’ll see a Sønr quote on every page. I feel I’ve spent most of the week talking to journos. If you come across anything, do ping it over.
Also, a big thanks to Brandon from Elixirr for reaching out and inviting me on their Challenger Network News last Friday. Since lockdown, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed his weekly rambles (in the nicest possible sense) with a variety of guests.
This week, off the back of Stripe’s $95 billion valuation, we had a chat through the changing attitudes towards CVC. Have a watch. It was a fun one.
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