Insurtech funding set a new $7.1bn high water mark in 2020
Counting 377 total deals throughout the year, itself also a record, Willis found the following:
Q4 was particularly successful for the industry, securing 103 deals at a value of $2.1bn total and with 67% of the achieved funds attracted by P&C-focused firms. Also, compared with 2019, insurtech in 2020 experienced a 12% increase in funding and a 20% increase in deal volume.
Insurance vindicates its focus on technology
Another significant detail noted by Willis is the wider geographic distribution of countries attracting investment: 23 locations in total, including Hong Kong, Brazil and Switzerland, which the company notes as being previously “dormant” in the sector.
“While our industry is facing extreme issues relating to COVID-19, we also have an unprecedented level of access to technology and technologists who can help it prevail during these times of instability,” said Dr Andrew Johnston, Global head of InsurTech at Willis Re.
“Many InsurTechs probably feel vindicated that the insurance industry has been forced to realise the value of technology. The issue for insurtechs now is to survive months, possibly years, of market uncertainty."
Risk management in contemporary insurance
In our , we spoke with Dr Johnston on the topic of risk management in a highly volatile market. Insurtech may have secured its , but the real challenges still lay ahead; digital transformation efforts must be maintained if insurance is to survive:
“I actually think [the pandemic] has not been a bad thing at all for our industry from an operational perspective,” he told us. “I don't think that any single initiative or business could have accelerated the digitisation process to the degree that COVID has been able to [...] if an insurer cannot manage risks digitally, they're probably in trouble.”
Akur8’s US$30mn Series B to fuel US and APAC expansion
Still a relatively new company in the sector, Akur8’s progress since it was founded in 2018 has been characterised by cutting-edge tech, strategic growth, and a highly personable approach that clearly demonstrates the youthful innovation of insurtech itself.
The company strives to embody four key values:
- Challenging a status quo that doesn’t benefit customers
- “Disrupt the known, organise the unknown”
- Provide artificial intelligence (AI) tech with a distinctly human edge
- Create solutions that will endure the test of time
At the heart of Akur8’s business is its Transparent AI solution. Capable of empowering actuaries and pricing teams through better, faster decision making, the insurtech touts it as “the only solution that automates rate modeling while keeping full transparency and control.”
Transforming insurance pricing
In just two years, Akur8 has acquired over 30 customers in 10 countries - including high-profile insurers like Munich Re, Tokio Marine Kiln, AXA, and Generali - and established additional offices in London and New York. Now, the company is keen to develop its business in the US’ verdant insurance market and build its presence in APAC.
“The BlackFin team is thrilled to see Akur8 continue to spread its wings and deploy its next generation pricing platform across insurance carriers worldwide,” said Julien Creuzé, Partner. “We have built a great relationship with the Akur8 management team and it’s a pleasure to welcome new investors and continue this journey with them.”
Guillaume Beraud-Sudreau, Co-Founder and Chief Actuary at Akur8, added, “We are humbled by the trust that our clients and investors have placed in Akur8. Building the future of insurance pricing powered by Transparent AI has been our goal since the first day of R&D. Now this vision has become reality and we can’t wait to accelerate our growth to become the global reference in insurance pricing.”
Cover image source: Akur8