This is my hundredth post since I started publishing on dailyfintech. And what better way to endorse the thriving insurtech space than to take a closer look at the top 100 globally that have raised capital, accelerated growth and impacted the digital transformation of the insurance industry. In sifting through various available top 100 lists that were each prepared after intensive reviews, thoughtful consideration by an ensemble of industry experts, a few stood out for the level of detail and attention to specifics that led to the selection of finalists. The two that form the basis for the rest of this post include Sønr’s top 100 and Fintech Global’s top 100 lists.
Sønr’s Insurtech 100 for the year 2021 succinctly unfolds the scale and scope of technological advances that are making a dent in virtually all of insurance. These selected forerunners are sharpening underwriting, simplifying brokers’ lives, developing new segments, making claims friendlier, and pioneering novel trends such as embedded insurance. The impact is across commercial lines, specialty, motor, home, travel, life, and health. That the list contains more than 50 new entrants this year is evidence of the strong talent driving high potential ventures, capital pools at their command and the general appetite for partnerships. The notable themes these companies are serving, span health care, social inclusion, small and medium sized enterprises.
While 20% of the Insurtech 100 have been founded within the past 5 years, the top 5 in terms of funding have been founded before 2017. Half of the companies in the top 10 are in the health insurance business, while the rest are in small business, specialty and multi-line insurance. Only one is a pure tech player with a strong foothold in AI and automation. The top 5 are all headquartered in the US.
The US dominates overall. Reflecting proximity to the world’s largest pools of private capital, the US makes up half of the Insurtech 100. The UK’s commitment to cultivating a robust fintech sector seems to be bearing fruit, and was second with Germany at third.
There is greater diversity in the top 10, with a Chinese based big data business being awarded the number one spot for 2021 and companies from India, Singapore, and Hong Kong all placing in the top 10. Prevalence of AI, data and API businesses delivered via PaaS, SaaS business models is clear evidence of start-ups continuing to be at the vanguard. Over 90% of the top 100 highlight these technologies as being core to their existence and value delivery. A majority are B2B propositions, providing crucial capabilities to incumbents and ecosystem members. A fifth of the ‘new-to-list’ companies focused purely on health, an indication of the mind-space occupied by healthcare due to the events of the past couple of years.
Some themes portending what to expect going forward, include:
- More businesses devoted to cyber, important due to the significant increase in attacks during the pandemic. The US Executive Order on cybersecurity makes this a buzzing subsegment.
- B2C companies devoted to addressing the challenges of social inclusion. Top 100 players have targeted segments, traditionally excluded from coverage either due to affordability or risk.
- Embedded insurance, a topic often focused in these columns, continues to thrive.
- Climate risk and ESG: From addressing the challenges of flooding, coverage of COP26, and decarbonization, insurtechs are bringing much-needed technological innovation
Various insurtechs that are part of these prestigious lists have been highlighted in previous dailyfintech posts. They continue to gather momentum as a group with significant scale added through iterations. Many of the successful startups were part of top 100 lists five years ago. As we progress towards more iterations and the next five years, the insurtech arena can very well be expected to see inflection points that will herald newer paradigms of growth and evolution.
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