What happened in InsurTech this week


We have rounded up the news and analysis that we think is important this week in InsurTech. Consider it your weekly briefing.

We are trying a new format this week. Please tell us if it is useful and how we can improve it. We aim to give you a weekly roundup of the InsurTech news and analysis that matters this week – Thursday is always InsurTech day on Daily Fintech. We have a self-imposed limit of 10. So if there are more than 10, we select what matters. We do not aim to be comprehensive, our aim is signal to noise ratio; we want to give you just enough to do your job. We will link to our trends & analysis posts for background as well as to the news source, so we can be brief on the individual news item.

Ladder, Life Insurance and the Reinsurance layer of the stack

The news event was that Ladder launched in California. Ladder did a big Series A with top tier firms in October 2016. We included them when we did our roundup of Life Insurance startups in July. For background on issues and opportunities in Life Insurance, read this post.

Ladder is an example of a venture benefitting from the 3 layer Insurance stack that we have referenced here. Their innovation is enabled by the Managing General Agent (MGA) structure offered by Reinsurers. The MGA structure enables the Reinsurer to maintain the balance sheet while the startup focuses on customer acquisition and user experience. This is a business structure that combined with tech innovation such as Open API is very powerful.

Reinsurers are in effect offering Capital As A Service. That is a game-changer.

JVP and AXA partner for InsurTech innovation scouting

Both incumbents and VCs need to scout for innovation. This news shows an incumbent Insurer – Axa – partnering with a VC firm – Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) to scout for innovation by the well-proven method of offering prizes in a competition. Often the incumbent Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) unit is seen as competition by traditional financial VC. This shows a trend to partnering where the incumbent has deep domain expertise and the VC has deep expertise in spotting, valuing and nurturing early stage ventures.

Forward – a new Healthcare Provider to challenge the Payers

Forward is offering a subscription medical service at $149 per month  that aims to be the Apple Store of doctor’s offices. Techcrunch has the details.

What Forward is doing is a bit like what we spotted in Dental, except this is not a cooperative. It is a for profit venture that uses a mix of new medical technology, a new real world customer experience and business model innovation to deliver subscription pricing. This hits a major theme that we have uncovered as we dig into the hairball mess of Healthcare in the US, which is that innovation by Insurance Providers is useless without innovation by the Providers.

To a consumer, what is the difference between a $149 per month subscription service and $149 per month insurance plan? Theoretically the latter gives you choice; in reality it tends to give you high deductibles and claim hassles.

This is the sort of innovation in the real world that we all want Silicon Valley to focus on. It is not just another digital front end. What they are doing is much harder than that – like building a Tesla car vs building a ridesharing app.

MunichRe appoints Robert Mozeika to head InsurTech

14 InsurTech Conferences in 2017

We are deep in snow season, but some are looking at when the flowers return with the conference season. Business Insider uncovered 14 InsurTech Conferences in 2017 around the world. I suspect there are a lot more, even if you leave out all the free but high quality MeetUp events. We really need a community generated calendar of InsurTech events by date, location and cost. I created a thread on Fintech Genome to initiate this.

Please tell us in comments about any major InsurTech news  this week that I missed.

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