It’s earnings season, and one of the most popular topics on earnings calls for P&C insurers this quarter is competition, growth, and use of technology in the small commercial business.
There have been some updates on this front recently. Super regional carrier Hanover announced it was partnering with NY-based startup CoverWallet to launch an online B2B platform for its small commercial agents, and Chubb launched its own small commercial digital platform for independent agents in April.
“Small commercial” or “small business” mentions have been at the forefront of executives’ minds, with over 110 total mentions since the start of last year. Check out the full analysis to see some of the Q1’18 mentions and related activity.
SoftBank’s role in India’s insurance market
Earlier this week, The Times of India reported that SoftBank was close to making a $200M investment into India-based insurance aggregator PolicyBazaar. The financing is expected to value PolicyBazaar’s parent company near $1B.
In April, CEO Masayoshi Son said SoftBank will “overachieve” on its commitment to invest $10B in 10 years in India “much ahead of time and at a much bigger scale.”
It gets confusing because some of SoftBank’s biggest investments in India have also expressed insurance ambitions or have struck partnerships with other Indian insurance startups:
Paytm set up life and general insurance units in February 2018.
Flipkart filed to sell insurance products last year (though itself may soon sell to Walmart).
Paytm Mall partnered with online general insurer Digit Insurance for insurance coverage on mobile handsets. Digit has grown from 20K policies in January to 150K policies.
Ola partnered with online general insurer Acko to launch an in-trip insurance program for its customers.
It appears there are two things going on: 1/ the growth of small premium digital insurance products like in-trip insurance cover the likes of which Digit and Acko sell and 2/ the growth of online channels for traditional policies.
So SoftBank’s various beachheads in India could play a huge in shaping how both develop. Still, some question the potential market size for small premium digital products in India, while PolicyBazaar itself has a spate of 1-star reviews complaining about incessant call reps. Lots more to come here.
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