Insurtech weekly news roundup: March 25
HSCM Ventures led the Series A round, though MGV, Sandbox Industries, Flyover Capital and Hannover Digital Investments also participated. Insurance brokerages and professionals from The Plexus Groupe, IMA Corp., Holmes Murphy, The Partners Group, The Graham Agency, Broker Tech Ventures and other insurtechs joined in as well.
The Atlanta-based start-up’s cloud platform uses AI to digitize the entire insurance process, allowing brokers to sell, service and renew policies in a private-labeled service center in processes that are typically time-consuming. Layr deploys proprietary algorithms to quote pricing while shopping the pre-written package to underwriters at the same time, without any use of APIs or broker touch.
NSI Insurance Group/HoneyQuote
NSI Insurance Group, one of the larger independent agencies in the US, bought a majority stake in insurtech start-up HoneyQuote.com.
HoneyQuote is a digital insurance agency with a home insurance comparison tool used by homeowners to compare quotes and policies from carriers in real time. The core technology is a machine learning algorithm.
HoneyQuote, since its launch in 2019, has partnered with 30 of the top insurance carriers in Florida and has insured more than $1 billion in property value. It’s now pursuing a national expansion, with additional insurance products in the works including condominium-owners, renters, personal umbrella, pet and auto insurance.
NSI Group, launched in 1958, operates in more than 85 countries with five business segments, including personal and commercial insurance, employee benefits and specialty programs.
Markd, a new insurtech venture capital firm, has closed its $100 million debut fund.
Plans call for using the money to fund start-ups both early-stage and growth-stage, with a focus on digital transformation for the insurance industry.
Primary investors in the initial fund (Fund 1) include Markd founder and managing partner Parker Beauchamp, as well as an undisclosed industry partner.
Beauchamp is also CEO of Inguard, an insurance and risk management firm that serves clients in the US and overseas. He has more than 20 years of experience distributing insurance digitally and a background in both legacy insurance and future technologies.
The MGU Orchid Underwriters Agency is linking up with the insurtech Openly to expand access to high net worth coverages.
Orchid is among the largest independent managing general underwriters focused on catastrophe-exposed properties and high net worth personal lines. Openly is a managing general agency with a digital insurance platform for independent agents in 16 states.
Their partnership is designed to help Orchid bring added capacity to its national network of retail agents and strategic distribution partners, as well as broaden its range of high net worth customers who seek cover for risks that are hard to place.
Elephant Insurance/Smart Choice
Digital auto insurer Elephant Insurance is partnering with Smart Choice to expand its market reach.
Smart Choice is a network that provides independent insurance agents access to top-rated markets, product training and sales/marketing support.
Elephant’s auto insurance policies will now be offered by Smart Choice agency partners. In turn, Smart Choice gains access to Elephant’s digital tools such as accurate first-time quotes. Additionally, Elephant provides Smart Choice with a number of auto insurance discounts, plus other products and services.
Lemonade’s non-profit, The Lemonade Foundation, has formed the Lemonade Crypto Climate Coalition.
Designed as what is known as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, or DAO, the coalition is focused on building and distributing at-cost instantaneous parametric weather insurance to substance farmers and keepers of livestock in emerging markets. Specifically, plans call for designing the climate insurance as a stablecoin-denominated, decentralized application on Avalanche, an eco-friendly proof-of-stake blockchain.
Other participating coalition members include Avalanche, Chainlink, DAOstack, Etherisc, Hannover Re, Pula and Tomorrow.io.
Two insurance industry insiders have joined the board of directors of ennabl, a Connecticut-based insurtech focused on helping reduce data platform clutter.
Board member Jim Hackbarth is a senior advisor to and former president and CEO of Assurex Global, the world’s largest privately held risk management and commercial insurance brokerage group. Jack Butcher is president at Hagarty, an American automotive lifestyle and membership company that is also the world’s largest provider of specialty insurance for classic vehicles.
The insurtech was founded by Kabir Syed, a former CEO of Risk Match and former managing director at Marsh.