Insights gained from a global InsurTech scouting perspective

Insights gained from a global InsurTech scouting perspective

11-Apr-2017 by Startupbootcamp

As the Head of Research & Partner Management of Startupbootcamp InsurTech, for over six months I scouted the world for startups. The objective of my scouting was to find good fits for our Startupbootcamp InsurTech program in London. We specifically looked for startups which could solve one or more of our corporate partners’ pain points.

In addition, I met dozens of investors, mentors, and experts within the insurance industry during this global scouting.

Having made so many touchpoints and considering what I’ve seen in 2016, especially within our 2017 cohort, I’ve compiled a list of 10 trends to watch in the second half of 2017.

If you’re curious to see how entrepreneurs are changing financial services and the insurance industry, we welcome you to our Demo Day on 26th of April in London.

  1. Non-traditional startups entering the InsurTech space

More often, I’m meeting startups who are not coming from within the insurance space, and I believe this is going to continue to grow. The insurance industry is worth upwards of $5 trillion, and startups are beginning to understand how they can use their tech, business model, etc., look through an insurance lens, and apply their solution to the insurance industry.

These new players are realizing that they have great solutions for the insurance market. The advantages of these startups are:

  • Capabilities: in most cases, these startups have already validated their proposition, and they have a customer base, data, and business cases that can be leveraged.
  • Stage: these startups probably already have a fully-operating product or service and are generating revenue, which could be crucial for traction when they decided to pivot into the insurance space.

The reasons for these startups to enter into a highly-regulated market:

  • Investment: as highlighted from recent research made by CB Insights, “deals to insurance tech startups rose 42% on a year-over-year basis in 2016”. These investments are certainly attracting the startups who view this old industry as a new target market.
  • Focus: is, arguably, shifting from the oversaturated FinTech, to the slower-moving InsurTech and the emerging technologies that can put a dent in this space and, therefore, creating many opportunities for these entrepreneurial minds.

What we’re seeing in Startupbootcamp InsurTech Class of 2017 and in our scouting efforts:


Adapt Ready


  1. Evolution of the P2P model

During my scouting, I met with various P2P solutions. Some of them they were focusing just on the distribution model, others were trying to differentiate by exploring new models and ways of thinking.

Apart from examples like Lemonade and Friendsurance, we still need to see a real P2P model succeed. And as highlighted in this brilliant article by Rick Huckstep, “So far, no business model has come forward and defined what P2P Insurance is. However, they all have one thing in common, which is to redefine trust in the relationship between insured and insurer.”

This is absolutely a space to watch. Collaborative consumption is empowering consumers to take action and look for better solutions to problems (transportation, travel, housing, etc.), rather than looking to and waiting for governments and corporations to take action. There is a sense of creativity in collaborative consumption/sharing economy solutions, and startups embody this creativity.

  1. Hello Commercial lines / SME / New specialty solutions

In the past 3 years, most startups have targeted personal lines. However, this year, having reviewed more than 1000+ startups, I have encountered some interesting solutions covering trade credit space, marine insurance, catastrophic loss, crop insurance, cyber, etc.

From a startup point of view, personal lines are “easier” to understand (and tangible for most people). Health Insurance = insurance covering your health, etc., so we’ve seen lot of players trying to enter this sector. Commercial lines are more complex, and usually require a team with some serious industry expertise behind it, and so far we haven’t seen a real wave of innovation happening in this sector. However, if the trend we’ve seen this year continues, we will see some interesting solutions arising!

What we’re seeing in Startupbootcamp InsurTech Class of 2017 and our scouting efforts:


Adapt Ready




  1. AI, machine learning, cognitive computing are the new realities

Thanks to increasing data proliferation in the past few years and the speed of technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning are more accessible.

In fact, 80% of the startups that are in our 2017 cohort use some sort of AI.

AI solutions are capable of improving efficiency, reducing operational costs, predicting consumer behavior, detecting fraud, improving CX, mining text, and producing accurate insight and providing faster diagnosis (such as in healthcare, for example). This year, and in the years to come, we will see that AI-based solutions will underpin everything we do, and, thus, it will be mandatory that insurers adopt these solutions; it will no longer just be an option. InsurTech and RegTech will be the sectors where we will most likely see more AI-based solutions.

What we’re seeing in Startupbootcamp InsurTech Class of 2017 and our scouting efforts:

Emerge Analytics


Adapt Ready


  1. Rise of moment, usage-based (UB) insurance

From on-demand insurance to moment insurance: (check TikkR) some of the enablers are shifting from the “Trov model” and not only insuring physical assets, but also moments, events, and experiences. Not things but activities. On one side, there are serious episodes, such as terrorist attacks, while on the other side, there are more light-hearted situations, such as leisure activities, and both circumstances consist of audiences wanting to insure themselves for a particular moment or activity. In our cohort, we have several startups trying to tap into this sector, including TikkR, focusing on moments and Sharenjoy, focusing on concerts and entertainment events.

More often, I think we will see solutions covering specific moments and targeting certain groups.

What we’re seeing in Startupbootcamp InsurTech Class of 2017 and our scouting efforts:





  1. Rise of contextual and frictionless insurance

While on-demand insurance will continue to grow, I think that the most important shift will be toward “contextual insurance”—solutions capable of understanding the “context” around you and your habits.

Some startups I have met are already focusing more on the context rather than “on-demand”. On-demand requires you to “desire” and act toward insuring something. Contextual will automatically (using any sort of AI) understand the context, preferences, and will propose to you the right coverage for you within your context. Imagine receiving a notification on your phone at the exact time that you need to be insured, or enabling your mobile to automatically insure you – up to an established certain limit — Neosurance.

This aligns to the fact that more often we will see “frictionless” solutions, meaning solutions that aim to have insurance products seem invisible or embedded in some product, improving CX and retention. The whole idea is that consumers don’t even need to think about insurance. Insurance will be invisible.

  1. Asia will take over

This is one of my absolute favorite topics: Asia. Save the best for last, right?

The scale of the Chinese market is something that is obvious to most people. However, the speed of which the Chinese InsurTech ecosystem is growing may not be as obvious. Take the classic example of Zhong An. Nearly 7.56 billion policies written. In 2 years.

Here are some staggering statistics about China:

– The number of insurance companies increased by 30% between 2009 and 2014

– The number of health insurance premium payers in urban China increased a staggering 200% from 2007 to 2015

– Automotive vehicles sold grew from10 million in 2009 to 25 million in 2015

As highlighted in the brilliant articles made by George Kesselman, (2017 Asia InsurTech Predictions and American and European InsurTech Startups Will Flood Asia in 2017) Asian startups and ecosystems are among the most innovative and vibrant. London, NY, and the Silicon Valley are seeing Singapore as a strong hub, capable of attracting investment, startups, knowledge, and experts. Singapore will maintain its supremacy as the Asian hub, however Shanghai and Hong Kong might be next.

Three other important areas to watch will be:

  1. Collaborative ecosystem / acquisition investment
  2. Blockchain
  3. Cybersecurity

I will delve more into these in Part 2 of this series.

In the meantime, come see the 10 + 1 startups impacting the insurance value chain at our Demo Day on 26th of April at Indigo at The O2 in London.



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