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助力金融科技创企Neos Aviva或将拉开行业并购大幕

Aviva正大举投资智能家居保险创企。该举迎合了保险公司在技术方面的最新意愿。Aviva透露,未来可能进一步拓展,购入一家小型技术公司。

去年刚成立的伦敦科技公司Neos不久前刚刚成功完成500万英镑A轮融资,而领投机构正是Aviva旗下的一家风投机构。

Neos除向客户提供保险外,还为其在住宿四处安装摄像头及传感技术,可监测非法闯入或泄露状况,并直接向手机发送警报。Neos方面表示,新获资金将助其将该模式推广至主流用户,Aviva也将能使用其物联网平台。慕尼黑再保险(Munich Re)同样会为Neos核保承保。

Aviva Venture此前还投资了两外两家智能家居企业,它们分别是位于利兹的智能家居摄像头及传感器制造商Cocoon及网络地产创企Cocoon。

2016年初,Aviva在霍尔顿广场创建了自己的“数字车库”,其中包括约250名设计师、数据科学家及其他技术专家,致力于为消费者打造新的产品与服务。

Aviva首席执行官Mark Wilson表示,该公司计划到年底使专注数字领域的工作人员总数增加到600至700人。他还透露,保险公司每年在此新业务的投入至少为1亿英镑,但就整体商业来看,在数字基建上的投入还要更多。

Wilson称,除投资Neos等企业和与之合作外,Aviva还考虑“小战略性”地在科技领域发动收购。今年早些时候,Aviva与中国互联网巨头腾讯签订了协议,以在线方式在香港售卖其产品。

 

据悉,Aviva目前正在就另一项业务模式进行模拟测试:用户可拍下其贵重物品与票据,并核查其是否投保。该功能采用了图像识别功能,减少了用户填写信息的烦恼。该功能拟在今年晚些时候于MyAviva应用上线。

据了解,Aviva目前已经对大数据、人工智能、机器人技术、数字健康、网络安全及自动驾驶汽车等多个领域展示出了投资兴趣。

Aviva is splashing cash on a startup focusing on insurance for connected homes in the latest signal of the insurers intent when it comes to technology - and it may even stretch to buying a small tech firm in future, it has revealed.

The venture arm of Aviva has led a £5m series A funding round in Neos, a London-based tech firm founded last year.

Neos offers customers insurance premiums along with cameras and other sensor technology around the home which can detect things like break-ins or leaks, with incident alerts sent directly to your phone.

The company said the fresh cash will help it expand into the mainstream and Aviva will also gain access to the startup's Internet of Things (IoT) platform. Munich Re will also provide underwriting to Neos.

“We’ve built a completely new type of home insurance product. Never before have we see an insurance company offer to proactively protect your home from the threats of water, fire and theft," said co-founder and chief executive Matt Poll, who was previously a director at MoreThan.

"The investment from two respected insurance brands, Aviva Ventures and Munich Re, cements our belief that what we’re doing is the future of insurance, given their leadership in innovation. When you combine this with our distribution partnership with Zoopla, and Hiscox, we’re excited about the benefits we will be bringing to consumers at full market launch later this year, through positively disrupting the market," he said.

Insurance goes digital

Aviva Ventures has previously invested in two other smarthome companies: Leeds-based connected home camera and sensor maker Cocoon and online property startup Opun.

Aviva's efforts to adopt digital technology in the traditional world of insurance are taking place in Hoxton Square, where it houses around 250 designers, data scientists and other digital technology experts working on creating new products and services for customers.

The so-called "digital garage" was set up at the start of 2016 as a consciously separate part of the business. Aviva plans to grow the number working on digital to around 600 or 700 by the end of the year, said chief executive Mark Wilson. He also revealed the insurer is spending at least £100m a year operationally on this new part of the business but more is being spent in terms of digital infrastructure in the wider business.

He said the UK's largest insurer would consider "smaller tactical" acquisitions in the tech space in addition to investments such as Neos, as well as partnerships. Aviva earlier this year signed a deal with Chinese internet giant Tencent to sell its products online in Hong Kong.

Wilson said he has even fielded calls from top Silicon Valley tech executives interested in what it's doing, and which he insisted "isn't a lab".

"It's a business and the objective is to make money," he said.

A new feature currently being tested is a virtual vault where people can take pictures of valuables and their receipt to check if their item is covered. It uses image recognition technology to reduce the hassle for users of filing in information. It plans to roll it out on the MyAviva app later this year.

Areas of interest for the company are big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, digital health, cyber security and automated cars.

"It [insurance] smells like a market absolutely ripe for disruption," said Wilson. "It [the digital garage] is a game-changer."


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