2016年，全球保险业继续维持着上一年的强劲势头。2015年12月，p2p的保险公司Lemonade获得由红杉资本募集的1300万美元种子资金，这也是该家VC进行的最大规模的种子轮融资。保险比较网站PolicyGenius则在今年1月的B轮融资中融到了1500万美元，总募资额更是达到了2100万美元。Intuit公司在2014年以3亿6000万美元收购了移动支付初创公司Check旗下的保险初创公司Next Insurance，后者也宣布在本月早些时候募集到了1300万美元。而另一家较为低调的保险初创公司Slice Labs也募集了300到400万的种子轮资金。Slice首席执行官Tim Attia，证实了此项协议，但拒绝透露具体细节。
风险投资公司Canaan Partners的Brendan Dickinson也表示，保险业的另一个问题是糟糕的用户体验。对于生活和家庭保险，许多必要的数据已经登记在册，问题就是如何进行汇总和分析。数字产品不足或者体验不佳，让保险业流失了很多年轻客户。而创新者的想法就是简化和数字化。例如，Next Insuranc正为小企业定制个性化和自动化的保险，而这在传统保险业中都是通过纸张办公完成的。
虽然许多初创公司都在探索这条路线，Schreiber说，他看到一些与保险巨头合作的问题。 “我们不能将我们的公司建立在100年历史的公司之上，”他说。 “我们需要从头开始。”
For years, startups trying to disrupt financial services have focused on areas like payments and lending—things customers do frequently that companies can take a slice of.
But those industries are getting crowded—tech giants like Apple, Google, and Samsung have all developed mobile wallets, and big banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, are getting into the digital lending space.
Now, Silicon Valley venture capitalists are turning to a different area of finance: the trillion dollar insurance industry.
Last year, VCs poured $2.65 billion into insurance startups globally, according to research firm CBInsights, up from $740 million in 2014.
Fundraising ended the year strong and has kept the momentum. In December 2015, Lemonade, a peer-to-peer insurance company, raised $13 million in seed funding from Sequoia Capital—the VC’s biggest seed funding round ever. Insurance comparison site PolicyGenius secured $15 million in funding in January in a Series B round, bringing its total funding to $21 million. Next Insurance—an insurance startup led by executives from Check, a mobile payments startup acquired by Intuit in 2014 for $360 million—announced it raised $13 million earlier this week (March 15). And sources say secretive insurance startup Slice Labs raised a seed round last month of around $3-$4 million. Tim Attia, Slice’s CEO, confirmed a deal to Quartz but declined to discuss specifics.
Insurance is a highly antiquated, regulated, and entrenched industry, which make it both appealing and problematic for startups. VCs and entrepreneurs see three key problems in the insurance world that make it ripe for a shakeup, Lemonade’s Daniel Schreiber told Quartz. First, it’s a simply massive market. Second, they believe it’s broken—the business model focuses on eliminating risk, not helping customers when they need it. And, lastly, it’s remained untouched. At its core, insurance today is similar to how it was 50 years ago.
Another factor is the abysmal user experience, Brendan Dickinson of VC firm Canaan Partners, told Quartz. For life and home insurance, Dickinson explained, much of the necessary data is already out there; it’s just a matter of aggregating and analyzing it. The lack of digital products, or ones that work well, is a turn off for younger customers, too. The idea is to simplify and digitize. For example, Next Insurance is trying to personalize and automate insurance for small businesses, a traditionally paper-based niche.
But capital is a major barrier to entry. A startup would need licenses in every state in the US, a time-consuming and expensive process. Also, companies would need to have money in order to pay out any potential claims.
Big insurance companies can be allies in this regard, through what’s known as a managing general agent relationship. In this scenario, the startup doesn’t have to hold the risk on its own balance sheet, essentially outsourcing it to a larger insurer. The startup can then focus on developing its product and acquiring young customers, which have proven difficult for traditional insurers to land.
While many startups are exploring this route, Schreiber says that he sees some issues with working with insurance giants. “We can’t build our company on top of 100 year old company,” he said. “We need to build it from scratch.”