Insurtech investment hit an all-time high in 2019, according to a new report from Willis Towers Watson. Total worldwide funding commitments in the insurtech sector totalled US$6.37 billion in 2019. That’s a third of the historic total funding for the sector. The fourth quarter alone saw US$1.99 billion invested in 75 projects.
Eight “unicorn-making” investment rounds happened last year, according to Willis Towers Watson’s Quarterly InsurTech Briefing. The rounds led to the creation of five new unicorns – privately held start-ups valued at more than US$1 billion. Only 10 insurtechs have ever reached that threshold. Last year also saw a 90% spike in investment rounds exceeding US$40 billion.
Property-casualty start-ups took a larger share of total insurtech investment than life and health companies, continuing a trend that started in 2016, according to Willis Towers Watson.
“2019 was the year when individual insurtechs began to come to the fore to lead in specific parts of the market, whether in certain lines of business or in the use of particular technologies,” said Dr. Andrew Johnston, global head of insurtech at Willis Re.
“For example, UK-based Concirrus is now clearly the forerunner in behavioural-based analytics for the specialty markets. But while insurtech news is awash with the huge valuations and postulations of the art of the possible, there is also a very real story that is not so positive – individual insurtech cessations. The number is very difficult to calculate, but our data indicates that during the past three years, approximately 184 funded insurtechs might have closed their doors.”