Global investment in the InsurTech sector reached an emphatic record during H1, 2021, as half-year funding of US$7.4 billion exceeded full-year investment in 2020, and in every other year, according to the new Quarterly InsurTech Briefing from Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company (NASDAQ: WLTW).
The latest quarter saw 162 deals yield more than $4,824 million in investment, a 210% increase over Q2, 2020. The enormous quarterly total, itself more than any annual total before 2019, was driven largely by 15 mega-rounds of $100 million or more. Collectively, these deals reached $3.3 billion, or two-thirds of total funding during the quarter. The money was raised predominantly by later-stage players seeking expansion.
Meanwhile Series B and C fundraisings drove the large number of deals in the second quarter, but the number of early-stage deals also increased. They were up by more than 9% from the previous quarter, and 200% from pandemic-stricken Q2, 2020. As a percentage of overall deals, early stage activity held roughly steady, at 57%.
InsurTechs focused on distribution accounted for 55% of start-up deals, and for 10 of the 15 mega-rounds. Most of the distribution InsurTechs target reduced dependence on agent channels. Of all Q2 deals, 73% were for P&C-related InsurTechs, while 43 companies raised funds for L&H technology. Funds were raised by companies from 35 countries, including new entrants Botswana, Mali, Romania, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.
Dr. Andrew Johnston, global head of InsurTech at Willis Re, said: “As technology changes our lives, society will demand an insurance community that reflects and supports our changing, digitally empowered behaviors. Consumers and businesses increasingly expect insurance to be delivered when and how they want it, and risk carriers that fail to respond will fall away over time. To embrace technology is a minimum survival condition. Those that use it to redefine service in the insurance world will thrive. That means a positive future for InsurTechs that bring a truly differentiated business approach to our industry. Some of them will create untold long-term opportunities for themselves and the insurance sector.”
THE TECHNOLOGY OF DISTRIBUTION
The latest Briefing, which focuses on InsurTechs targeting insurance distribution, opens with a detailed exploration of the way technology is impacting the future of delivery channels. The Briefing includes case studies of the InsurTechs bolttech, which connects insurers, distribution partners, and customers over an exchange platform; Semsee, a platform for quoting small commercial business; Breathe Life, a digital distribution platform for life insurance carriers; Uncharted and Bindable, two consumer-facing insurance aggregation platforms; Penni.io, which embeds carriers’ products into distribution partners’ digital customer journeys; and Talage, a commercial quoting engine built for white-labelling.
The Q2, 2021 Briefing includes a discussion with Adrian Jones, Managing Director of InsurTech investor Hudson Structured Capital Management, and another with Chief Digital Officer Sean Ringsted, who leads global insurer Chubb’s digital integration effort. ‘Transaction Spotlight’ takes a deep-dive into three recent Series D mega-round fundraisings by the InsurTechs Ethos ($200m), Bought by Many ($350m), and Shift Technology ($220m), while ‘Technology Spotlight’ explores Willis Towers Watson’s Radar Workbench, an analytical platform that helps commercial underwriters make and implement confident decisions at pace.
Finally, the issue carries an article by Clyde Bernstein, Head of GB Broking and Global Leader of Data and Technology Broking Strategy at Willis Towers Watson. Bernstein said: “Lift the hood on the insurance industry and you will see the engine in danger of over-heating. The diagnosis from those tasked with keeping the industry on the right trajectory is that a different motor is needed. Fortunate passengers will enjoy the ride as new distribution and technologies deliver a better and more responsive client experience.”
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