Funding insurtechs
As the insurance industry searches for the silver bullet to improving claims processing, underwriting and customer experience, incumbents continue to invest in startups well equipped to transform the sector with emerging technologies. Following is a recap of the insurtech funds launched this year, as recorded on Digital Insurance.
Ping An Insurance
Ping An tapped Citigroup’s Jonathan Larsen to run its new VC unit Global Voyager fund in May. The Chinese carrier is keen on partnering with fintech and health-technology startups.

Excerpt: “As leader of the $1 billion fund, Larsen will look to bring new platforms, and business models to Ping An’s global operations. Among other benefits, Ping An will provide startups access to 138 million customers, 1.2 million agents, and 6,000 branches.”

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Nationwide announced its $100 million allocation for insurtech companies in August, with particular interest in industry newcomers leveraging customer centric, mobile and analytics technologies.

Excerpt: “To help with the innovation push, Nationwide also announced the hire of Scott Sanchez as its first chief innovation officer. Sanchez is tasked with managing the company’s fintech and insurtech venture capital strategy.”

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Great-West Life
Great-West Life’s parent company Power Corp. of Canada set aside $186 million (U.S.) this summer to spend on fintech startups in various stage of development.

Excerpt: “The plan is to have them compete with Power’s older businesses, permeate the corporate culture and accelerate the transformation of the firm from within.”

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State Auto
The P&C carrier’s venture-capital arm, State Auto Labs Corp, launched a $25 million fund dedicated to insurtech in September.

Excerpt: “The company will collaborate with VC firm Rev1 Ventures to identify transformative technologies and become an early adopter. All of the money for the fund will be provided by State Auto, but the carrier is leaning on Rev1 to help it identify the strongest startups to engage with.”

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Already sporting an insurtech VC arm since 2014, MassMutual announced a second $100 million fund earmarked for startups developing distribution, user experience and cybersecurity technologies in October.

Excerpt: The extra funding doubles MMV's total capital from MassMutual to $200 million. Additional assets will be used to back 20 to 25 more startups in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Israel. PolicyGenius, RiskIQ and Insurify are examples of startups MMV has funded since its inception.

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Northwestern Mutual
The Milwaukee-based carrier announced two initiatives in November intended to establish its hometown as a U.S. technology hub, including a new $5 million venture fund devoted to local startups.

Excerpt: “The fund is not geared towards helping expedite Northwestern Mutual’s digital strategy, but to build up the city’s startup community. The insurer publicly announced a separate $50 million insurtech fund and investment arm to support its ongoing tech transformation in January.”

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Allianz called it quits on its innovation lab late last month, opting to convert the unit into a VC arm.

Excerpt: "As part of the pivot in strategy, the German insurer will discontinue all early-stage projects, and heavily invest in startups with expertise in mobility, connected property, connected health, wealth management, data intelligence and cybersecurity, it says. Each domain represents targeted “ecosystems” of its now former accelerator."

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