Andrew Johnston has just published Gallagher Re InsurTech report, for 2Q23. He believes InsurTechs are now at an inflection point that is worthy of attention by Insurers, AI developers, emerging InsurTech firms and Venture Capitalists.
By way of background, between 2012 and 2021, $42 Billion USD were invested as generalist VCs, Private Equity firms and Asset Managers rushed in the sector. By 2018, the investments had become undisciplined and Johnston estimates that 1/3 of the companies funded in that decade no longer exist. Thus, the most significant impact of that capital was the urgency these investments created in the community of large, incumbent carriers.
While the funding over time appears volatile, the longer-term trend that appears to be emerging is similar to what developed in the funding of other tech sectors as they moved to long-term stability. The key inflection point that will benefit InsurTechs is investors becoming more realistic in their expectations.
If you are an AI company founder, or an insurance company executive, I encourage you to read the full report. The remainder of this article is from the perspective of an emerging, insurance-adjacent, geospatial AI company.
Athena Intelligence has makes it as easy to query the information of the land, the earth’s essential information, as a google search or a BI query of internal corporate data. Rather than aggregating the information, it has been engineered to be computable and is packaged for sale as synthetic data. Our first module is wildfire risk probabilities for insurance companies, utilities and municipal bond investors.
Having shared our bias, here our thoughts on Gallegher Re’s report ….
Johnston’s report focused on different lifecycle funding stages in InsurTech. We were pleased to read, [There is] no shortage of investor interest for InsurTech or appetite for the right InsurTech grey matter…. InsurTech’s focused on clear commercial outcomes for their partners are gaining traction.
Funding fell 34.0% quarter on quarter, from $1.39 billion in Q1’23 to $916.71 million in Q2’23, with Series A funding down an even greater 48.1%. For all of 2Q23, funding for deals at Athena’s stage were only 17.5% of the total.
What was music to my ears (eyes?), was that while the number of investors in InsurTech has declined, the number of reinsurance companies funding investment and the number of insurance dedicated venture funds increased. This should benefit firms like Athena which can improve the capital efficiency of reinsurers by pricing the wildfire risk of carrier portfolios. (Example, with 8 notional portfolios, here.) In the prior decade’s rush to invest, reinsurers had barely participated.
Looking at last year’s investment in early-stage companies (pg 17 of the report), 62 out of 139 (44%) of the companies which receive funding were in the US. These firms received 42% of the dollars. UK investors, which I presume included Lloyds and other reinsurers, funded 12 companies (9% of the total early-stage InsurTechs) with 18.5% of all the investment dollars.
The majority of InsurTech investments from reinsurers were early stage for the fourth consecutive quarter.
In the case studies, Johnston highlighted Send, as SAAS underwriting platform for MGAs and carriers to manage their operations more effectively. For example, Send’s Andy Moss estimates 40% of an underwriter’s time can be consumed by switching between systems — which Send’s platform can largely eliminate.
This dovetails nicely with Gaurav Porwal’s article in Insurance Thought Leadership on how AI Initiatives need to be valued: by success at meeting strategic alignment and ability to alleviate pain points. Send is attacking exactly the type of pain points which AI and data processing toolsets can solve, as a bolt-on to legacy systems.
AI tends to be used in claims, historic losses and information processing, areas which are significant to insurance costs. AI is also very useful in human health modeling and projecting outcomes. AI has been less helpful in cat underwriting, especially in wildfire.
We believe predictive models, like Athena Intelligence for wildfire, have a bright future. Wildfire modeling has lagged behind other cat models due to a tendency to try to force wildfire into weather models. Wildfires are terrain and vegetation events, which are less easily characterized by satellite data weather driven natural catastrophes.
We look forward to investors, and Andrew Johnston, diving more deeply into the challenges and advantages of geospatial AI for property insurance.
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Athena is a next generation InsurTech data vendor which produces synthetic data. The earth’s essential data is refined to make it easy for enterprises to use environmental information for future contracts, proprietary business decisions and risk management.