Q&A: kWh Analytics. India insurance market to add Google. This week in insurance tech.
Look who’s back
Next month, we’re excited to be joining the InsureTech Connect conference presenting on the latest figures and investment trends in the global insurance tech landscape. We’ll also highlight various trends surrounding the rise of corporate venturing in (re)insurance.
In early 2014, Google India partnered to put together a report on the promise of digital sales growth in the Indian insurance market. Among the predictions in the report was a claim that three out of every four insurance policies sold by 2020 would be influenced by digital channels during either the pre-purchase stage, purchase, or renewal stages.
Now, it appears Google has bigger plans in that realm with reports that it is planning to launch a new website called Bharat Saves for consumers to gain financial awareness and also compare and purchase insurance products.
Earlier, we’d highlighted the host of online insurance aggregators that have cropped up in India backed by investors ranging from Sequoia Capital India, Tiger Global, and Accel, which we’ve now updated. How that ecosystem of startups will evolve with the launch of Bharat Saves is TBD.
Q&A: Richard Matsui, CEO, kWh Analytics
Today, kWh Analytics launched a new insurance product called PowerLock, designed to help lower the cost of capital for the solar market. The solar risk management startup also announced a new $5M investment led by Anthemis Group.
We caught up with CEO Richard Matsui on his thoughts on the new insurance product.
On distributing the PowerLock insurance product
We’re not the balance sheet, but we do assist on the underwriting. We have data to build predictive models to help insurance companies quantify their risk of whether a solar-powered project will underperform expectations. We also do distribution through our licensed subsidiary PowerLock.
We’ve been selling software to solar investors for four or five years. Our customers for a software product are the same people who we’d want to buy an insurance policy. We work with clients like PNC Bank and Google, which has $1B of solar projects in the US. Being able to talk to these large investors in solar projects and add this new product offering to enhance their return is the interesting part for us.
The solar industry historically has been quite small. That being said, the industry today is $500B of projects globally and will double by 2020. There’s a fair amount of diversity in solar projects out there and what we’ve seen in our data is there’s good quality projects and bad quality projects. So we need to price specifically to the asset in addition to the fact that many times there’s portfolios of solar projects together.
On near-term objectives
When you tell a solar guy something about insurance, they immediately stop talking to them. So our number one objective on the insurance side going to be customer awareness and education.
If we can use data and analytics tools that have existed for other asset classes like natural gas or home mortgages to bring down the cost of capital in the industry, that’s a significant win.
On insurance in the solar industry
There’s other solar insurance products out there. There’s products to guarantee the energy production from a solar panel or a certain amount of sunshine or insure against design and construction defects, which are all great policies to have. But from a finance perspective, we want to bring a single answer to the question of is this solar project one I can invest in.