Insurance where it counts: new solutions to new risks

Insurtech companies are emerging at the rate of over one a day and we are all self-publishing now. Twitter and Linkedin pump out real-time updates. Every day brings more opinions and an inbox full of insurtech news. So much choice, and too little time. How do we filter out the useful and important from the irrelevant and distracting?

10 of the best insurtech newsletters

Insurtech companies are emerging at the rate of over one a day and we are all self-publishing now. Twitter and Linkedin pump out real-time updates. Every day brings more opinions and an inbox full of insurtech news. So much choice, and too little time. How do we filter out the useful and important from the irrelevant and distracting?

Instech London part of new Global Instech Alliance

Happy New Year. And thank you! It is you, our members, that make Instech London so successful – and fun. Through your support, whether as speaker, sponsor, social media activist or just turning up at events, we’ve been able to create a highly connected community, that really is making a difference to people’s business lives. We have listened to what you said in 2017 and have great plans for 2018…

Insurtech exposed. No smoke, no mirrors.

– Matthew Grant

Instech London went on tour this week, heading north from the sand blasted railway arches of the Steelyard to the stripped back chic of WeWorks Moorgate. Tuesday 26th September saw us return to the Show & Tell format. In a change from having people stand on stage to just tell us about their companies, this time we asked our presenters to show us a bit of what they have coming. But still no powerpoint, other than the ones in the floor.

The 19 presenters represented a sample of what’s happening in insurtech now, with a definite London Market bias: 5 IOT sensors, 2 blockchain, 2 claims processing, 2 social media profiles, 1 flight cancellation, 1 drone, 1 satellite image aggregator, 1 credit risk insurer, 1 digital identity, 1 portfolio tool, and a dog called Ziggy.

No surprise then that it was another full capacity event. The place was buzzing as stories were swapped, plans hatched and new partnerships explored. We had over 250 people come through the door, representing most of the major London market insurers and many with money to spend on the right technology as shown in the Airfinityanalysis below.

Show & Tell mashes together the best of a car boot sale and speed dating. Five minute pitches, free form wandering and serendipitous random encounters. It’s impossible to do justice to every presenter and ad-hoc discussions in one article, so here is a snap shot to illustrate the quality and diversity of companies we were able to show.

Quick Look, Long Look, Deep Look or Romer?

Forbes Mckenzie of Mckenzie Intelligence Services (MIS) could be forgiven for looking a bit dazed. He’s just survived weeks spent educating various Lloyd’s committees and managing agents on the lessons to be learnt from the high resolution data his team had extracted from satellite imagery of Harvey, Irma and Maria. The Lloyd’s Market Association Claims Committee (LMACC) announced back in July, that it was funding MIS to provide Lloyd’s managing agents with data after major events. Exposure, loss impacts and event timelines, combined with information from social media and media outlets are now available from Mckenzie’s team as part of the broader claims modernisation effort at Lloyd’s. Being commissioned directly by Lloyd’s, with the future potential to offer this as a commercial service individually to managing agents is a massive coup for Mckenzie. Not only do the Lloyd’s managing agents represent 12% of global reinsurance premiums, most agents today are owned by major global insurance groups. This gives Mckenzie direct access to many of the largest prospective clients in the world.

Flock up the ante

I liked this company even before I met the team. The ebullient Ed Leon Klinger, CEO, was up on stage at Market Minds last Friday for his 5 minutes of fame. On Tuesday we had founder Anton Pena and his team demonstrating Flock at Show and Tell. This is one of the start ups that everyone seems to be talking about, despite it not having launched yet. And it’s easy to understand why. Both Ed and Anton are charismatic and enthusiastic about the business. The proposition is easy to understand; fractional insurance for commercial drone operators. It provides an entirely new product line to offer to underwriters. All offered through a well designed app that gives an instant, location dependent price for time bounded cover (I was quoted £7 for an hour of drone flying on Tuesday evening in Moorgate). And Allianz announced its partnership with Flock back in July. Is this the poster child of early stage insurtech?

No FloodFlash in a pan

My former colleagues from RMS, Adam Rimmer and Ian Bartholomew, now co-founders of FloodFlash turned up with their flood sensor and brick wall. FloodFlash is the first insurtech company in to a new accelerator operating under the Hambro Perksumbrella run by the urbane Robert Lumley and Stephen Brittain. The Hambro Perks investment model provides immediate access to cash and mentoring for very early stage companies, along with rather nice offices in Victoria, in return for a slice of equity. Adam and Ian cut their teeth creating catastrophe bonds for RMS, including a parametric flood bond for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Their own venture provides parametric insurance based on flood sensors that they stick on individual buildings, and the team use an algorithm based on catastrophe models to set a tailored premium for each sensor. When the water rises, the sensor triggers a signal which in turn activates an insurance payment. This has the potential to be a smart contract once the wrinkles have been ironed out. In the meantime it’s a great idea to take a proven model from the reinsurance market (cat bonds) and re-purpose it for the corporate market. FloodFlash secured their first commitment to underwriting capital from one of our members when Adam used the open mike opportunity at an Instech London event earlier this year to ask for backers.

There is an increasing interest in the use of sensors to provide new risk mitigation and insurance pricing applications in the corporate market. There is great potential, but risk managers are conservative buyers of insurance and rely heavily on their broker. Cracking this market open is going to be tough and take time, but FloodFlash have achieved a lot in the last few months. They will soon be in POC with their sensors and a handful of clients, and presumably hoping for a bit or rain to test it out. Keep an eye on these two.


Antony Yousefain provided us with a live measure of the moisture content of his tomato thanks to 30 MHz sensors and data platform. Handy if you’re a farmer where controlling heat and moisture properly can increase yields by over 5%. And no, not every tomato needs a sensor, just a representative sample. 30 MHz are focusing on agriculture risk now and have powered ahead since talking at Instech London in December last year.

Cyber on the sidelines

I bumped into Andrew Martin of Dynarisk at the bar. Andrew is another Instech London alumni having spoken at our Cyber event in March. Since then he’s been signing up POCs with a number of London market insurers. Dynarisk’s analysis focuses on potential abuse, misuse or just carelessness by employees as part of its assessment of a company’s cyber vulnerability. It won’t solve the whole range of potential cyber attacks, but accidental data disclosure is going to get very expensive under GDPR and Dynarisk seem to be on the money with this one. Andrew was delighted with his Instech London video, on our You tube channel, and credits it with being one of his main sources of leads.

Superstorm GDPR: hitting Europe on 25 May 2018

Unlike most major industry changing events, there is no doubt as to where and when Hurricane GDPR will make landfall. Justin Saunders and his team from Port were on hand to show the latest enhancement to their GDPR compliance tool. You’ll be hearing more from us about Port soon as we are using them to ensure that our own membership list is GDPR compliant. Other than being a legal requirement, this will enable us to give all Instech London members the chance to take part in beta testing for new products being developed by our corporate members. For Instech London working with Port has a number of major benefits, not least of which is that, as a member, can own and manage your own data and how it is used. If (and only if) you give permission for it to be shared with another company (of your choice) there is no need to for re-keying of information and it will be up to date. You can chose to opt in or out at any time and the data is yours. If you ever want to scrub your records, we vaporise them.

Port is offering various sign up packages, including free access to their “compliance as a service” for companies with less than one thousand records. As I’ve written previouslyGDPR has huge implications for the industry yet many still seem to be seriously unprepared. Batten down the hatches, this is not Y2K.

Our sponsors also joined in the spirit of the event. SAS brought along its Star Wars inspired, telematics connected BB-8 robot racing pair. The Tiger Risk team proved that it is possible to compress a 90 minute demo into 5 minutes. Adrian Thornycroft representing TOM London Market must surely have taken away some inspiration for the next set of London Market initiatives.

We’ll be back in WeWorks in December for our members only Christmas party. Before that though, we’re back to the Steelyard for our next two events. Sign up now to get advanced warning of our events if you are not already an Instech Member and let me know if you’d like to know more about our corporate membership scheme.

Where you there? So what did you think of it?