USAA, AXA, Aflac make new investments. Cyber ecosystems. This week in insurance tech.
On Friday, Swiss Re CEO Christian Mumenthaler commented on the potential of a SoftBank deal noting that “it’s not a bad thing to have an anchor shareholder” and “if you ask me, just high level, is it attractive? I would say yes.”
Swiss Re added that the issuance of new capital is not under consideration in any potential deal, while expressing optimism on the outlook for the industry.
Meanwhile, we continue to monitor insurance-related updates to SoftBank’s global portfolio of companies. This week, Paytm, which counts 200M digital wallet users, registered two new insurance units, Paytm General Insurance and Paytm Life Insurance, as it prepares to make greater inroads in India’s insurance industry.
Earlier this year, SoftBank was rumored to be in investment talks with Indian insurance aggregator PolicyBazaar, which Paytm’s new insurance companies will presumably compete with. Is consolidation of India’s online insurance players to come?
Recall SoftBank’s recent (closed or rumored) insurance-related deals:
September 2017: Cornerstone $550M investment in Zhong An Online’s IPO October 2017: $400M investment in Ping An Good Doctor December 2017: Led $120M investment in Lemonade January 2018: Rumored investment talks with PolicyBazaar February 2018: Major investor in $1.15B round to Ping An Healthcare Technology
Ecosystem approach to cyber
There have been more partnerships by insurers around cyber risk in recent months. Earlier this month, Allianz partnered with Apple and Cisco to offer discounts on cyber insurance to businesses that primarily use equipment from both technology companies. In December, AIG launched a cyber risk assessment tool called CyberMatics in partnership with cybersecurity startups CrowdStrike and Darktrace.
To better understand the evolution of how insurers are approaching cyber, we tracked earnings call and media mentions to trace AIG’s cyber insurance offering since its launch in 1999. (The full post is available on the CB Insights research portal to subscribers only).
Rain or shine?
In recent years, some insurers have partnered with and invested in weather data startups. Understory, for example, owns and operates a network of ground sensors to collects granular weather data and has grown to 500 stations across five U.S. metros.
Earlier this week, The New York Timespublished an article on how companies are seeking better climate and weather forecasts to assess the risks of operating in various locales.
We’ve seen more startups look to take on hyperlocal weather and climate data and analytics. Two that have raised funding recently are Climacell, which sells a SaaS that analyzes signals from wireless and cable networks to create micro-weather forecasts, and Jupiter Intelligence, which combines ground-based and orbital sensor data with climate model projections to assess potential climate risks.
While the forecasting skill of newer startups is still unproven (Jupiter, for example, just launched its platform this month), it’s interesting to see startups take on climate and weather risk analysis in new ways.
In 2017, global insured catastrophe loss estimates topped well over $100B. The Times quotes Marsh president of global risk John Drzik as noting: “That certainly raised the stakes in terms of trying to get the best possible science on your side when you’re pricing risk.”