November 8, 2018
Insurtech Ecosystem: Who Will Eat Whom?
For insurers, the insurtech bubble is a great thing. Venture capitalists are funding the R&D that insurers have refused to fund themselves.
At InsureTech Connect, there were a lot of innovative approaches and capabilities on display. But the term “bubble” could be heard on many attendees’ lips, especially those who’d watched the event double in size each year.
In related news, Deloitte put out a report showing that although the flood of insurtech funding continues, funding for new companies is way down. What’s happening? Well, at the end of the day, “insurtech” means selling insurance to someone or selling something to an insurance company. Both of these things are really, really hard and take a really, really long time, no matter how cool your tech is.
Over the past three years, there’s been a lot of news about big funding rounds, but not a lot of news about big exits. Most of the exits we have seen are driven by an incumbent insurer deciding that an acquisition is the best way to incorporate some new capability into its own offerings, or add a cool founder group to their team.
Now it seems that most insurtech investors are using their capital to try to ensure their puppies stay healthy long enough to get taken home by a wide-eyed insurer or tech vendor.
See also: How to Partner With Insurtechs
During the first fintech boom in the ‘90s, there was a lot of talk about nimble little mammals eating the dinosaurs who refuse to evolve. It was true that the dinosaurs needed to evolve. But they mostly did it by eating the mammals.
For insurers, the insurtech bubble is a great thing. Venture capitalists are funding the R&D that insurers have refused to fund themselves. There’s a lot of great learning to be had for free, and insurers should pay close attention. When the bubble pops, there will be a handful of new participants in the insurance ecosystem, and a whole bunch of nutritious mammal carcasses lying around.