How QBE Ventures is embracing the InsurTech evolution
Brought to you by QBE Ventures
In its early days, InsurTech was largely focused on the potential disruption of a sector that had, admittedly, lacked any sustained or meaningful investment in innovation for a number of years.
However, as with technology in many sectors, InsurTech has matured over recent years.
There’s a focus on collaboration, with InsurTech providers joining forces with the industry to solve complex business and customer problems, and with new emerging technologies like large language models (LLMs), the movement has evolved to present some tremendously exciting opportunities along the value chain.
At QBE, creating value throughout the entire insurance value chain is important to us – as is creating a more resilient future, and helping those around us build strength and embrace change to their advantage.
And technology is central to enabling that.
After all, insurance is an industry built on data, so learning how to harness that data to create insights that help us create that future is paramount.
QBE Ventures – developing InsurTech
As a business, we recognise the importance of looking externally and partnering with early-stage companies to access novel ideas, emerging technologies and talent to help us deliver on our strategic priorities, including portfolio optimisation, modernisation and growth.
With that in mind, in 2017, we launched QBE Ventures - our venture investment and development arm - with the intention of investing in and developing start-up businesses that have the potential to deliver long-term benefits in the insurance industry.
QBE Ventures takes a multi-pronged corporate venture capital (CVC) approach. We not only invest, but also build alongside early-stage technology companies, with the objective of creating long-term, strategic partnerships that add value to both organisations – as well as our broker partners and customers.
We have been conscious to define strategic focus areas to ensure we’re aiming to solve known business or customer problems, and not invest in new technology that is looking for a problem to solve.
If a business has the potential to contribute greater strategic value, QBE Ventures will invest, as well as provide additional support to the founding team and QBE stakeholders.
QBE Ventures has three domains of expertise: investment, emerging technology, and strategy and partnerships, and operates as a multidisciplinary, global team spread across the US, UK, and Australia.
A few members of the QBE Ventures team (left to right): Mattias Hallersbo, Lynn Thompson, James Orchard, Alex Taylor and Mia Sturt.
While QBE Ventures is a multi-stage fund, the preference is to invest in early-stage companies to whom we offer QBE’s global expertise and market strength, along with access to customers, connections, and insight from across the world.
In turn, partnering with early-stage companies gives us the best chance of forming a strategic partnership whereby QBE can gain exposure to cutting-edge ideas, and help influence the development of this IP alongside the start-up.
The future of InsurTech
As of August 2023, we have 12 active investments in our ventures portfolio, all of which have the potential to significantly benefit QBE and the wider insurance industry. The heightened use of data, analytics, and AI from incumbents and start-ups alike will increasingly contribute to the entire insurance value chain.
And this is only going to grow, with technology set to become even more pivotal in the insurance profession over the coming years, with stand-out performers embedding capability throughout their business.
The industry is facing cost pressures, ever-evolving customer expectations, and global and climate volatility, and we expect the current pattern of brokers, insurers and reinsurers all partnering with InsurTechs to continue for the foreseeable future, as it means each industry participant can focus on their strengths.
The ongoing exploration, development and application of InsurTech is essential to the development and evolution of the insurance industry – and we’re excited for the possibilities it holds.
QBE Ventures’ portfolio
CLARA Analytics improves claims outcomes in commercial insurance through artificial intelligence. Its ability to understand claim complexity early in the claims process – and suggest ways to mitigate risks – has become essential in portfolios such as workers compensation.
Cytora helps commercial underwriters target, select and price risk more quickly by evaluating risk against a business’ underwriting strategy.
Demex helps insurers and corporates quantify and transfer financial risks related to non-catastrophic weather events, such as heat waves, droughts, and storms.
Geosite enables the easy integration of geospatial data to make day-to-day operations and management processes more efficient. Geosite’s curated and ready-to-use geospatial products have potential for pre-CAT early detection, reserving, the claims supply chain, and improving the accuracy of underwriting and pricing.
Hyperscience turns documents into data by automating manual data entry and transforming structured, semi-structured and unstructured data into digitised and actionable information.
Iluminr is a platform which helps mid and corporate market businesses build organisational resilience. By engaging with customers prior to loss, exposures can be reduced.
Jupiter provides data and analytics to better predict and manage risks caused by medium to long-term climate change. It analyses 11,700 metrics across multiple climate perils and 22.3bn locations to help businesses understand the risks they face.
LeaseLock provides lease insurance, eliminating security deposits from the rental housing industry while removing complexity for residents and operators.
Tensorflight combines superior satellite, aerial and street-level imagery technology with a proprietary AI engine to automate commercial property inspections. Tensorflight has already helped us rapidly filter exposures to buildings with flammable cladding and target physical inspections, saving weeks of work and cost.
YellowBird connects businesses to vetted environmental, health and safety professionals by deploying its internal algorithm to provide a good match.
Visit the QBE Ventures website to learn more about our investment portfolio.