Record-breaking InsurTech fundraising in Q3 2020, as ‘funding gap’ widens
Solid investor appetite for new and mature opportunities in the InsurTech sector was again in evidence during Q3 2020...
...as $2.5 billion was raised by InsurTech firms across 104 deals, up 63% and 41% respectively over the prior quarter. Deals included two $500 million rounds, but the mid-tier funding gap for firms seeking investments in the $20 million to $50 million range has widened, according to the new Quarterly InsurTech Briefing from Willis Towers Watson.
Six mega-rounds of US$100 million or more accounted for more than two thirds of total funding, including Bright Health, Ki, Next Insurance, Waterdrop, Hippo, and PolicyBazaar. Early-stage deal share grew to 57%, up 15 points to pre-COVID-19 levels, bolstered specifically by P&C start-ups. More than half of InsurTechs with a Q3 Series A round were raising capital for the first time and raised on average $10.9 million. InsurTech companies seeking mid-tier Series B and C investments, however, saw deal share shrink by almost 9 percentage points. Non-industry investors including venture capital and private equity predominated in the smaller rounds, and re/insurers in the larger end.
P&C sector investments predominated, but the share of L&H sector investments rose, up 3 points in Q3 2020 to 30%. This was driven by a disproportionate amount of L&H funding in the mega-rounds receiving true ‘growth’ capital, with L&H accounting for three of the six deals, and 49% of total Q3 mega-round funding.
Dr Andrew Johnston, global head of InsurTech at Willis Re, said: “With everyone working from home, never has the true value of technology been more real and manifest in our industry. But most re/insurers are looking either to accelerate, conclude, or temporarily slow down their ancillary technological endeavours and focus instead on ensuring their core business functions operate efficiently in the new digital, remote environment. Consequently, their appetite to support well-established InsurTechs is much greater than for those who still have things to prove. That means the lifeblood of budding InsurTechs who rely on Series B and Series C rounds to scale up has, relatively speaking, disappeared.”
The latest Briefing includes case studies of the InsurTechs GWTInsight (UK), which develops data analytics for commercial property; Next Insurance (US), which insures small businesses; Anapi (Singapore), which has a digital platform to support start-ups in Asia; Foresight (US), a middle-market workers’ compensation provider; Briza (US/Canada), which develops APIs to support small commercial transactions; eBaoTech (China), a digital insurance solutions provider; and Bold Penguin (US), which operates a commercial insurance exchange.
The issue also explores Radar Workbench, an agile technology platform developed by Willis Towers Watson that allows underwriters to work on an individual risk while having useful insight highlighted to them. The Briefing includes discussions with Gen Tsuchikawa, chief investment officer at Sony Innovation Ventures, and with Mark Allan, CEO of Ki and Group CFO of Brit, about the company’s latest Google-powered venture, a fully digital, algorithm-driven Lloyd’s syndicate. The Briefing features PasarPolis’ US$54 million Series B funding round, the largest Series B recorded – and one of the largest recorded at any investment stage for an InsurTech – in Southeast Asia. It also carries an article by Richard Clarkson, head of London market consulting at Willis Towers Watson, about the potential for new trading models in London’s commercial insurance market.
Clarkson said: “Algorithmic-follow disruptors – those underwriting entities that use technology and analytics to take a share of business offered under the terms and rates of a lead underwriter – are set to claim to a bigger slice of the insurance market, especially as the evolving Lloyd’s business model shifts to make it easier for them to do so. Many of the component parts required to create systems to implement this model have actually been around for a while. This will make trading faster and more responsive, and open new attractive avenues for alternative capital.”