Berkshire invests in Paytm. Amazon in healthcare. This week in insurance tech.
There have been several big M&A announcements ahead of the annual reinsurance Rendez-Vous in Monte Carlo including Hartford’s $2.1B acquisition of specialty insurer Navigators and Markel’s acquisition of leading insurance-linked securities (ILS) manager Nephila Holdings.
There have also been some interesting M&A by (re)insurers of privately-held technology companies.
Allstate acquires InfoArmor
On Allstate’s Q1 2018 earnings call, CEO Tom Wilson said this about its M&A strategy:
“So, SquareTrade, which we bought a little over a year ago, was related to our strategy to insure more things for people, particularly the electronic items that they have…Other places we might look would be to the extent we could expand other lines of business that could be sold by our Allstate agencies, would be interesting to us. And then as there is always new stuff in the market, so we’re not averse to it.”
Last week, Allstate acquired identity protection company InfoArmor in a $525M all-cash acquisition. InfoArmor provides employee protection services and identity and credit monitoring through employee benefits brokers. The company forecasts $65M in 2018 revenue and serves 1M employees across 1,400 clients. Allstate plans to cross-sell InfoArmor’s services to its benefits customers.
More importantly, the deal highlights a much more aggressive push by Allstate in consumer protection products and services beyond traditional home and auto insurance. Between SquareTrade and InfoArmor, Allstate has spent $1.9B+ in <24 months to acquire growth-stage companies to expand into new markets.
Munich Re acquires Relayr
In February, Munich Re announced a partnership with Bosch to develop new business ideas around connected manufacturing.
The partnership follows a number of investments by the reinsurer in IoT-related startups including Mnubo, Relayr, We Predict, Augury Systems and Waygum. Not all have gone as promised. Helium, for example, aimed to provide smart sensors for the healthcare, food and beverage, transportation and grocery industries, but has since pivoted into a crypto miner.
Munich Re’s HSB unit has also started to acquire startups. In 2016, HSB acquired small IoT software startup Meshify and, this week, it acquired portfolio company Relayr for $300M. Relayr offers an IoT middleware platform for helping small and medium-sized industrial companies unlock data insights from their machinery.
The promise for Relayr is in unlocking and analyzing the correct data from sensors to be able to accurately predict and prevent downtimes, which is a tough problem to crack.
InsureTech Connect 2018
On October 2nd and 3rd, the third annual InsureTech Connect event kicks off at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. ITC will bring together more than 6,000 attendees and speakers including top insurers, reinsurers, and regulators. Speakers include Uber Global Head of Insurance Curtis Scott, AIG Global Head of Cyber Tracie Grella, and MetLife Chief Digital Officer Greg Baxter.
Our newsletter readers can save $200 off tickets by using this link before prices go up tomorrow.
Getting specific in the freelance economy
162M people make up the independent workforce at in Europe and the United States — or 20 to 30% of the working-age population — according to one of the most-cited reports on the size of the gig economy. Another estimates the size of the US freelance workforce at 57M with 29% doing so full time.
Getting a more granular picture of the freelance economy remains difficult. It’s claimed, for example, that 15% of independent workers have used a digital platform.
One promise for insurers looking to engage the gig economy is to partner with such platforms to provide customized financial protection products. Today, we got a closer look at the metrics of Upwork, which filed for IPO.
Upwork bills itself as the largest global skilled freelancer marketplace, but a perhaps surprising finding is how few freelancers are using it. In its filing, Upwork said it currently has 375,000 freelancers on its platform. What are your thoughts? Let us know by replying back.