Zhong An talks listing. Am Fam's incidental channel investment. This week in insurance tech.
A healthy society
Launched in 2013, Chinese online insurer Zhong An has expanded rapidly beyond its initial use case of covering shipping losses for merchants from returns on Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace into auto, health, and other insurance products. This week, Zhong An said it plans to seek an IPO listing “in the next 12 to 18 months.”
In a recent Bloomberg article, Zhong An CFO John Bi notes that any new financing round would be to “attract influential global insurance or technology shareholders to endorse our development.”
But as we previously highlighted, Zhong An’s already influential tech backers including Ant Financial, which acquired Cathay Insurance China last fall (a slide from the M&A announcement is below), aren’t sitting on the sidelines either as more players look to capture the potential of China’s digital insurance market.
Highlighting his interest in the soon-to-be second largest insurance market globally, Alibaba founder Jack Ma said recently, “A healthy society should not be full of stock investors but policy holders.”
Investing in incidental channels
One of our early guest posts featured Am Fam Ventures’ thoughts on “incidental channels” or companies that deliver an independent value proposition and use the resulting relationship to offer insurance products.
This week, the corporate venture arm made an investment toward their belief in that trend, leading a Series B investment to Cozy, a provider of property rental management software for a quarter million landlords, property managers and renters.
As Am Fam Ventures’ managing director Dan Reed said,
“We believe ‘incidental channels’ are a major insurance trend, in which a company has a product that delivers value independently of insurance, but can also offer insurance products as a result of the relationship they build with their customers. Cozy’s platform is…positioned to deliver on this ‘incidental channel’ trend.”
Other startups are attempting to go this route as well such as Health IQ, a venture-backed health knowledge quiz app that also distributes life insurance for New York Life, Assurity and others. AmFam’s investment perhaps entails that Cozy might join the rising number of venture-backed startups looking to distribute renters insurance and/or other property insurance products.
Tesla partners with QBE, AXA
Tesla has launched InsureMyTesla, a custom insurance plan for Tesla owners, initially in Hong Kong and Australia. My colleague Kerry Wu covered the state of auto tech, including Tesla’s moves in a recent 92-slide presentation here. If interested in keeping up with the fast-moving space, subscribe to our weekly auto tech newsletter.