News in numbers
Verdict InsurTech gathers the most important industry news in recent times, including some startling figures
Digital title and escrow firm Endpoint has secured an additional investment of $40m from its parent company First American Financial Corporation.
Including the latest investment, the company has received $70m in funding till date.
The latest investment will be used by Endpoint to accelerate its strategic hiring plans, proprietary technology development, and its entry into new US markets.
Endpoint was established by First American last year in Seattle. The company expanded its footprints to Southern California and Arizona and doubled its employee base over the past year.
UK’s speciality insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London has unveiled the second phase of its transformation plan with a goal to reduce its operating costs by nearly £800m.
Known as Blueprint Two, the programme builds on the foundations laid by Blueprint One in September last year.
The insurance marketplace said that it aims to redesign the entire insurance lifecycle process as part of its two-year programme.
It is aimed at offering enhanced digital service for all its customers and stakeholders globally.
Steadily has raised $3.8m in a seed funding round as it launches its services to tap the ‘underserved’ landlord insurance market.
The funding round was led by Matrix Partners.
The company plans to utilise the proceeds to expedite product development as Steadily seeks to utilise IoT devices for property management to facilitate preventative maintenance and reduce premiums.
Steadily’s services will include providing property insurance coverage to the landlords. The customers can purchase insurance and address property requirements through the app that eliminates the need to deal through an agent.
American International Group (AIG) has settled a lawsuit associated with seven cross-border transactions made in the mid-1990s that it allegedly used as abusive tax shelters
to lower its US taxes.
These transactions between the AIG Financial Products unit and foreign banks were designed by the company to create bogus foreign tax credits, the US Department of Justice alleged.
The company has agreed to pay a 10% penalty and forego over $400m in foreign tax credits to resolve the case.
The US attorney noted that there was ‘overwhelming evidence’ that the transactions had no economic substance and were made to bring down the insurer’s US tax liabilities for the 1997 tax year.
American health insurance start-up Bind Benefits has secured an investment of $105m in Series B funding round to expand into fully insured health plan market.
Founded in 2016 by entrepreneur Tony Miller, the company offers on-demand health plans.
It intends to use the proceeds to offer products in more than 30 US states by the end of next year and start offering fully-insured plans to businesses which employ more than 50 people.
The company in its press statement noted that the offering will be launched immediately in the state of Florida.
US-based insurance brokerage Newfront has raised over $100m in funding to fund its efforts aimed at modernising risk management for middle market businesses.
The funding round, which was led by Founders Fund and Meritech Capital, boosted the company’s valuation to more than $500m.
Newfront will use the new capital to bolster its platform, expand its resources for clients, and scale up its growth strategy for the future.
Health Shield has donated more than 34,000 free Thrive mental health app licenses. These were given to key workers, charities and students to aid them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In April, Health Shield collaborated with its mental health partner Thrive to offer 12 months’ free access to the app.
Of the 34,000 licenses, more than 23,000 went to NHS trusts, 6,300 to schools and other education firms, and 3,700 to charities.
Thrive is NHS-approved and offers mental health services all in one place. It provides psychological tools and also techniques to help build resilience, manage stress and cope with anxiety.
French insurer AXA has wrapped up the for €1bn deal to divest its Life & Savings, Property & Casualty and Pension businesses in Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The operations have been acquired by UNIQA Insurance Group. The all-cash transaction was announced in February this year.
As per the agreed terms of the deal, AXA sold 100% of the businesses in Central and Eastern Europe.
The insurer expects the deal to have a positive impact of +2 points on its Solvency II ratio in the final quarter of this year.
Aegon has agreed to sell Stonebridge to London-headquartered Global Premium Holdings group in a transaction valued at £60m.
The deal price consists of the purchase price and dividends related to the transaction and excludes a contingent consideration of up to £10m.
Stonebridge offers accidental death and hospitalisation products. It is said to provide policies to around 200,000 customers across the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Ireland and the Nordics.
The acquirer is a subsidiary of Embignell group, which offers a range of accident and sickness insurance policies.
Arch Capital Group has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Watford in an all-cash transaction valued at around $622m.
Under the terms of the agreement, Watford shareholders will receive $31.10 in cash per share.
Arch currently holds nearly 13% of Watford’s outstanding shares. This is in addition to the around 2% Watford outstanding shares owned by Arch’s directors and executive officers.
The transaction, which is subject to approval by shareholder and regulators, is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.
Insurance Australia Group has reached a class action settlement over add-on insurance products sold through its motorcycle dealers.
The settlement involving a payment of $99m is subject to approval by the Federal Court of Australia.
Johnson Winter & Slattery filed the class action against the IAG subsidiaries Swann Insurance and Insurance Australia over mis-sold insurance products, reported Reuters.
IAG said in a statement: “IAG exited these business areas with the sale of Swann’s rights to distribute through motor vehicle dealers in August 2016 and the cessation of distribution through motorcycle dealers in the financial year ended 30 June 2018.”
Cover Genius partners with Skyscanner for COVID-19 travel insurance
Travel marketplace Skyscanner has teamed up with insurtech Cover Genius to introduce a new travel insurance package.
The package includes a combination of medical, trip cancellation, and airline insolvency cover. This includes protection against travel disruption and sickness caused by COVID-19. It will be available to travellers in a phased rollout in Europe before 50 countries worldwide.
Those who book directly via Skyscanner in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and also the UK, will be offered the package.
Lloyd’s limits underwriting room operations as Covid-19 resurges in UK
Speciality insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London has revealed plans to limit the operations of its underwriting room in response to second national lockdown announced by the UK government.
The marketplace said that its underwriting room will operate only on Wednesdays during the lockdown period, which begins from 5 November and will last until 2 December.
The move comes even as the businesses across the country are advised to work from home if possible.
However, Lloyd’s noted that the need to grant access to the market in the run-up to 1/1 renewals is crucial and said that it now operates a Covid-secure working environment, unlike during the last national lockdown.