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?

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…

– written by Matthew Grant

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?

Successful thought leaders write articles that help the reader with a problem they have right now. I’m looking for breaking news, to keep me up to date on significant developments. Research, based on facts and decent analysis on companies, emerging tech and what the buyers and company builders are up to. I prefer content that is easy to consume. Comfortable to read (large font, no distracting adverts). Easy to navigate (how quickly can I find what I am looking for)?

We are still in the insurtech hype cycle. It is inevitable that enthusiasm will get ahead of reality. But we need to prick the bubble now and again. Give me writers that crunch the numbers, blow away the smoke and provide some real-world insight to calm us all down.

And the most valuable information is the hardest to get. Identifying new funding is easy. Want to know which of the newer companies are generating repeatable revenue (a far better predictor of success)? A lot more challenging.

So here are 10 newsletters I find useful. Not all are great, always, but 95% of the action is covered here. Consume weekly to stay informed.

One of the oldest and still one of the best. Coverager (US) co-editors Shefi (formerly an analyst at C.N.A insurance) and Avi Ben-Hutta don’t pull any punches. Daily updates on company announcements, with their own pithy commentary. The website is stripped back to the basics making it simple and quick to navigate. A good source of data and historic news on insurtechs and insurers globally. Check out their recent cheat sheet of deals, raises and rebrands for 2017. Generally the first place I look for data and the latest news.

The weekly blog from Oxbow Partners (UK) turns up at 7am (UK time) on a Saturday morning. Short but insightful perspective on the partners’ current insurtech favourite company or theme. A UK or European focus, but not exclusively. Chris Sandilands and his team get a hands-on view of what insurers and London market need from their consulting work. Rarely overtly critical of anyone but comfortable posing challenging questions.

From DigitalTech International, the Milan based Insurtech News technology incubator based founded by Andrea Silvello and Luciano Pezzotta with input from Matteo Carbone. Mostly republishing other content, but appears to be carefully curated. Updated daily on the website and rolled into a tidy weekly newsletter with clear headlines and a short overview. Ideal for a quick scan to see what’s worth further reading.

Editor in Chief Paul Carrol started at the Wall Street Journal and brings a professional eye to reporting on the insurtech world for Insurance Thought Leadership. The weekly “Six Things Blog” combines his own observations along with guest articles. Popular trending topics are shown in a sidebar. ITL claims to have been gathering articles from more than 335 organizations and have over 650 writers. Articles from guest writers can occasionally lack focus and the website is starting to look a bit dated but some good content in here. And take a peek at Dave Dias’ Innovators Edge whilst you are there.

Alex Hearn’s curated insurance news aggregator, Slipcase, has been gaining pace over 2017. He has managed to balance the volume of material published with the quality. As an insurtech startup himself, recently profiled by Oxbow, Alex has been quick to embrace technology and good design and is signing up an impressive list of companies paying to promote their content. He covers general insurance topics, as well as a dedicated section on insurtech. Slipcase has the best app of any of the newsletters. One to read on the move.

Published by Source Media, Digital Insurance (UK) is similar in approach to Insurance Thought Leadership. Launched in 2017 it brings a contemporary, an easy on the eye interface and organisation of articles on the website.  The advertising pop-ups can be distracting when trying to read the content but one to look out for in 2018.

Insurance Hound (UK) describes itself as risk whitepaper library and offers a weekly newsletter. Another site collating and distributes articles provided by its member companies, currently claiming to have almost 3,000 papers from 440 companies. A good resource for research. It provides 1 – 5 star rating for papers although at risk of suffering from an excess of content. The newsletter is more orientated to industry reports rather than breaking news. Looks like it could be a good place to spend a couple of hours and poke around – probably some great insights amongst all those papers.

The Digital Insurer (Asia) is Hugh Terry and Rick Huckstep’s vehicle and one of the longstanding newsletters for insurtech. A slight Asia bias but with global coverage. A daily re-posting of selected content along with their own occasional commentary. Another useful go-to resource with insights from an experienced team. Not as easy to navigate the site as some of the others but a loyal following.

CB Insights (US) is one of the most widely cited sources of information on a wide range of technology startups. Deep analysis and rich data content to help value and assess startups behind an (expensive) user subscription. Matthew Wong occasionally provides free, valuable, insights with insurtech themes, driven by their data combined with good research insights.

Steve Evans’ spin-off from his excellent Insurance Linked Securities site, (UK) covers a range of reinsurance and insurance topics with an increasing focus on fast-breaking insurtech news. Strong in-house editorial combined with breaking news. Arrives daily. Easy to scan. But beware. With so much good content it can be a distraction from getting the real work done.

And if you need a bit extra, 75 years of combined insurance and technology experience from the three Instech London partners. Monthly events with a bi-weekly micro-newsletter – what you may have missed and what’s coming up – from Paolo Cuomo. For deeper insights the website pulls together our event write-ups, Passle posts, videos and regular musings from Robin Merttens and myself. Over 80 companies up on stage and hundreds more we’ve met with. More to come in 2018. Not already a member? Sign up here

Also worth looking at is the grandfather of all tech newsletters: Techcrunch. And some great commentary in many of the more boutique newsletters. Try XL Innovate’s Insurtech Daily, Tigertech and the Digital Insurance Agenda.

Additional recommendations welcomed. And of course, there is a lot of great content published independently by some excellent writers and practitioners, but that will need to wait for a future article.