Ninety’s iii Circle: February 2022 Edition
Ninety’s iii Circle is our monthly round-up of new ideas in the global insurance industry. We cover headlining innovations, top innovation themes and innovation analysis for the month. Ninety’s Idea Pulse dashboard provides visual indicators of monthly innovation trends by business lines, regions, and Ninety’s innovation taxonomy – the Ten Types of Insurance Innovation.
The data for this report is compiled from officially announced, ready to market innovations reported from leading insurers, reinsurers, and brokers across the world.
Our monthly round-up includes a showcase of five case studies of innovations from a cross-section of business lines and innovation themes. For the most part, the case studies chosen are representative examples of commonly recurring themes of the month rather than examples that focus on novel ideas or one-of-a-kind solutions.
Starting this month, we will also highlight examples of future innovation as seen through the lens of research and venture investment in emerging risks and technologies.
- In February, Ninety recorded a total of 40 new ideas and announcements from insurance businesses around the world, not counting insurtechs.
- February data, though dipping in numbers compared to January, had a marked slant towards bolder innovation on emerging risks and strategic investments in partnerships and solutions.
- Digital platforms and processes, risk analytics and data insights and AI were leading technology trends this month.
- Insurer investments included venture funding in insurtech, fintech and healthtech and insurtech acquisitions. Travelers acquisition of Trov was one such move that made the headlines in February.
The Top Innovation Themes in February
|Health & Wellbeing||Ecosystem Partnerships||Risk Insights – New Models & Methods||New Products & Services||Embedded Insurance|
Insurance Idea Pulse Dashboard: February 2022
- Although there were fewer innovations announced in February, there was a visible upward trend in bold innovation strategies targeting bigger, emerging risks such as extreme weather, mental health, ageing and shared mobility. We are seeing an expansion in innovation from tactical, digital solutions to collaborative partnerships and most often, backed by funding to prepare for these risks.
- Among business lines, Specialty, Reinsurance and Lloyd’s accounted for a third of innovation, followed by Personal P&C. Life and Health registered an increase from last month while Commercial P&C lagged slightly behind. Health-related innovation for risks such as long-term care, ageing and mental health is on the rise again, the pandemic having escalated these risks that are already having an impact on a large proportion of the global population.
- The US, UK and rest of Europe accounted for 85% of new ideas and announcements in our dataset.
Five Innovations That Made Headlines in February
AI insurance: Munich Re backs 99% performance guarantee assurance for AI-enabled civic infrastructure risk assessments.
Dynamic Infrastructure, a global firm providing AI-driven risk mitigation analysis and prioritisation services for civil infrastructure assets, announced that its solution now includes a guarantee for clients, backed by Munich Re.
Dynamic Infrastructure has developed a high-performance algorithmic pipeline that automatically detects defects in critical transportation infrastructure, such as bridges and tunnels and generates actionable alerts. According to Dynamic Infrastructure, this is the first time that insurance, engineering and AI have come together to identify and track critical structural weaknesses in bridges, tunnels and dams.
The technology analyses image and survey data reports – both historical and as they are collected – sorts them, understands the impact of each data point, and plots out a “damage timeline” for every asset. With AI and domain-specific knowledge, the cloud platform can digitise and analyse hundreds of civil infrastructure asset inventories in a matter of weeks, replacing years of manual human labour. The system also accounts for the localisation of regulatory guidelines in its analysis and alerts.
Munich Re validated the solution through a due diligence process and the coverage provides assurance that 99% of any critical faults will be detected and reported in time to prevent structural failure and the ensuing costs.
Managing mental health risks: Aflac partners with NeuroFlow to address mental health risks.
In a bid to address the growing challenges related to mental health and wellbeing, Aflac has entered into a strategic relationship with digital health startup NeuroFlow. Nueroflow offers a mental health solution designed to help individuals screen and monitor existing and undetected behavioural health conditions.
The NeuroFlow solution is designed to help fill gaps that may exist in an employer’s behavioural health program by proactively detecting potential issues. It also offers digital educational content for general wellness, and conditions like depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and others. NeuroFlow’s Response Services also provide high-touch telephonic outreach to AI-identified, high-risk individuals to route them to the appropriate level of care and manage preventable adverse events.
NeuroFlow will be available to new and existing Aflac clients that have fully insured Group Long-Term Disability policies with more than 1,000 covered lives beginning Q3 2022. Aflac’s goal is to be a market leader by providing NeuroFlow to clients meeting these criteria. By offering NeuroFlow widely to qualified accounts, Aflac aims to support and improve employee health.
Predicting flood risks: Liberty Specialty Markets teams up with Previsico.
Liberty Specialty Markets (LSM), part of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, has declared that they are the first UK insurer to provide real-time flood warnings to clients. These warnings will be triggered by IoT sensors placed in watercourses close to their premises and surface water flood warnings.
The sensors are provided by Previsico, a former Lloyd’s Lab alumnus that has developed sophisticated flood warning capabilities to predict flooding. The IoT sensors are installed in flood-prone rivers, streams and culverts close to selected risks so that LSM’s commercial clients can be notified if water levels in their proximity rise to the point that flooding is a possibility. The sensors also detect when drains and culverts are flooding, so property owners can clear any blockages, if needed, to prevent further flooding.In addition to those clients monitored by sensors, Previsico’s flood forecasts will provide advance warnings to Commercial Property and Construction clients in up to 10,000 locations through LSM’s customer portal.
While the UK Environment Agency does currently provide flood warnings, these are for major rivers and coastal areas only. The system used by Previsico and LSM also monitors surface water flooding and ordinary watercourses such as small rivers and streams near insureds’ premises.
Robot caregivers: Nationwide and Labrador Systems partner to pilot a new generation of assistive robots.
Nationwide is partnering with Labrador Systems, an early-stage robotics company with a shared vision of helping people remain independent at home as they age or face short term and long-term health issues. The companies announced a multi-state pilot program that will explore the capabilities of the Labrador Retriever, a new type of personal robot designed to empower individuals to live more independently as well as provide support to caregivers.
Labrador’s Retriever robot is designed to help people maintain their independence in the home by serving as an extra pair of hands to help move large loads as well as keep smaller items within reach. Featuring “advanced 3D vision, obstacle sensors and navigation capabilities,” the Retriever is designed to support a variety of users’ needs. The robot can operate either on-demand or on a pre-set schedule by automatically delivering items at a specific time and location.
The initiative aims to respond to the market need for assistive, home-based care technologies, as the share of America’s population over 65 increases. A 2021 Nationwide Long-Term Care Consumer Survey found that 88 per cent of those surveyed agreed that it is more important than ever to stay at home for long-term care, but two-thirds of adults (66 per cent) are worried they will become a burden to their family as they get older.
Autonomous EV Fleet Insurance: GM subsidiary Cruise partners with CSAA’s Mobilitas.
General Motor’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary Cruise and Mobilitas Insurance announced a new collaboration that provides commercial insurance coverage for Cruise and its fleet of all-electric, zero-emission self-driving vehicles. This first-of-its-kind insurance program was brokered by Marsh.
Based in San Francisco, Cruise offers all-electric, shared, autonomous ride-hail services, as well as delivery in Arizona. The announcement marks an important milestone as Cruise prepares for commercialization. Cruise, together with General Motors, is also seeking approval from US regulators for permission to build and deploy a self-driving vehicle without human controls like steering wheels or brake pedals.
Launched in October 2020, Mobilitas Insurance is a spin-off from CSAA’s first commercial product for vehicle subscription services, that was created in the company’s innovation lab. Starting out with a partnership with ridesharing firm Lyft, Mobilitas is now developing risk solutions for electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles alongside vehicle subscription products.
Future Innovation – Research & Ventures
Start-up Accelerator: MAPFRE’s start-up call to focus on health and wellness, climate risks, and cybersecurity for SMEs.
MAPFRE’s start-up incubator insur_space has launched a new fast-track-to-market program in its fourth edition that will focus on three verticals: health and wellness, climate risks, and cybersecurity for SMEs.
Aimed at early-stage or growth companies that already have a product in the insurance market, the program offers startups the possibility of launching a pilot in less than six months together with any MAPFRE organization globally, including the Group’s digital brands: Verti and Savia. The startups participating in the program will also have access to MAPFRE’s 26 million clients and nearly 80,000 agents and brokers worldwide and anonymized historical data.
The insur_space program is part of MAPFRE Open Innovation which is the company’s strategic commitment to drive client-centric transformation through partnerships and by using emerging technologies that have a positive impact on business and society.
Venture Investment: Tokio Marine invests in radar satellite operator ICEYE
Tokio Marine Holdings has made a strategic investment in ICEYE, a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data provider and expert in NatCat solutions, as it looks to develop new insurance products and services that utilize satellite data. The announcement is part of ICEYE’s Series D funding round which raised a total of $136M.
As of January 2022, ICEYE has launched a total of 16 in-house SAR satellites, the world’s largest number of satellites in the private sector. These satellites provide high-precision data to governments and companies around the world, regardless of the weather conditions or time of the day.
Tokio Marine is an ICEYE partner since December 2020, and the two firms have jointly developed a solution for accelerated claim payments and support for flood risks. With this latest investment, the two companies will focus on three key initiatives: