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Insurance M&As and partnerships: September 2021

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Here’s a round-up of September 2021’s insurance industry-related M&As and partnerships.

Amazon partners with NEXT, Marsh 

Amazon launched an online network for small business insurance called Amazon Insurance Accelerator which provides Amazon sellers easy access to purchase product liability coverage. Amazon partnered with NEXT, which is currently the only U.S.-based carrier offering policies directly through the network, as well as Marsh, the world’s leading insurance broker and risk advisor. In addition to the deployment of this new program, Amazon will require third-party sellers to secure product liability coverage after reaching $10,000 sales in one month on the platform. 

Argo AI, Ford and Walmart team up to launch autonomous delivery 

Self-driving startup Argo AI, Ford and Walmart announced that they will launch an autonomous vehicle delivery service in Miami, Austin and Washington D.C. Walmart customers will be able to place online orders for autonomous delivery, with initial testing expected to begin later this year. 

Cambridge Mobile Telematics partners with Verizon 

Cambridge Mobile Telematics partnered with Verizon to bring features like teen driver monitoring and scoring and crash detection to the Verizon Smart Family App. Parents subscribed to Smart Family Premium can see a driving score based on their teens’ last week of trips, access individual trip views to see where and when risky behavior occurred and get notifications of accidents. 

Chubb partners with Snorkel AI

Snorkel AI, a data-centric company is deploying its Snorkel Flow platform at Chubb, enabling the carrier to manage several labelers and developed workflows efficiently. Snorkel Flow is the first data-centric AI platform that makes it feasible for data scientists and non-technical experts to build applications by programmatically labeling the data, shortening the development cycle and improving application quality.

Enterprise partners with Microsoft

Enterprise Holdings is collaborating with Microsoft to bring connected car technology to Enterprises’ car rental, exotic vehicles and commercial truck rental fleets. By using Microsoft’s analytics technologies, the rental car company aims to streamline the rental process for consumers while creating efficiencies within the business. Enterprise plans to equip 350,000 vehicles with this new technology by the end of this year and expects to fully convert its fleet to connected vehicles over the next five years. 

Farmers to deploy claims robot

Farmers is collaborating with Boston Dynamics to customize “Spot,” a robot dog, to help with claims handling and inspections. Because the robot is equipped with sensors, 360-degree cameras and site documentation software, Farmers plans to use the tool to assist in catastrophe claims and assess damages. 

Ford joins LexisNexis

Ford is the latest automaker to share telematics data with LexisNexis’ telematics database –  owners of 2020 or newer Ford and Lincoln vehicles who opt into usage-based insurance arrangements will have their car data automatically ported to LexisNexis’ Exchange platform. LexisNexis currently works with 95 of the top 100 U.S. auto insurers. 

Hippo partners with homebuilders

Hippo Insurance launched its Builders Program, a new automated home insurance application platform that streamlines the application process for buyers of new-build houses. The insurer spent two years testing the program with Lennar and Hovnanian Enterprises and successfully sold tens of thousands of policies. The carrier suggested that the program could drive a 10% boost in sales during the mortgage process. 

HiRoad begins expansion

State Farm’s usage-based platform fully built around the smartphone app experience HiRoad is now officially selling policies in Arizona and Rhode Island. The startup aims to reach younger customers who are comfortable using apps to interact with companies and rewards mindful choices behind the wheel with discounts. 

Insurtech Marshmallow becomes unicorn company

Marshmallow raised $85 million, reaching a value of more than $1.25 billion, making it one of the first British Black-founded unicorn companies in the industry. The company underwrites its own insurance and has expanded its staff by more than 200% in the past year. The tech-focused insurer plans to use the funding to expand into overseas markets and into other types of insurance beyond auto. 

Liberty Mutual partners with APOLLO

Canada’s leading online insurance provider APOLLO, announced a partnership with Liberty Mutual to add retail store insurance to APOLLO’s portfolio of digital insurance products. This new partnership will allow the provider to offer customers Commercial General Liability, Property, Equipment Breakdown and more. 

Metromile partners with Tokio Marine Group, Dwolla

Tokio Marine Group, Japan’s largest insurance group, is now using the AI fraud-detection product Metromile DETECT across its property and casualty lines of business across the country to detect suspected fraudulent claims and reduce insurance fraud. Tokio Marine integrated Metromile’s program with its existing claims infrastructure in just four months. 

In addition, Metromile Enterprise announced an integration with Dwolla, a modern payments platform, into its no-code claims automation platform Metromile STREAMLINE. With this partnership, insurers can offer digital claims payments, transfers and disbursements within the platform, helping to resolve claims more quickly and accurately. 

Nationwide invests in Fortellix, Upstream Security 

Nationwide recently backed Foretellix, a Tel Aviv-based developer and testing and testing-verification technology for autonomous vehicles and automated driving assistance systems. The startup draws on hyper-automation, big data and AI to create, test and analyze all possible scenarios autonomous driving systems are likely to encounter.

The leading carrier also participated in a second funding round for Upstream Security, an Israeli cloud-based cybersecurity and data analytics startup aimed to protect connected vehicles. 

Pacaso raises $125 million

Pacaso, a startup offering shared ownership of vacation homes, raised $125 million in its most recent round of funding. By forming a property-specific LLC that allows split ownership with multiple buyers, all customers have to do is pay their share to own the property. 

Rivian files to go public 

EV startup Rivian filed to go public with a traditional IPO and is seeking a valuation as high as $80 billion. The startup is set to deliver its first vehicle, the R1T electric pickup truck around the same time, and hopes that going against the SPAC trend will court big-name investors and strategic partners along the way. The IPO date is expected to happen towards the end of this year.

Swiss Re launches BlaBlaCar Coach

Swiss Re is partnering with carpooling company BlaBlaCar and insurance specialist L’olivier Assurance to debut BlaBlaCar Coach in France, a smartphone app that offers car insurance to BlaBlaCar customers. The app activates when the journey starts, analyzes driving behavior and recommends safer driving practices at the end of the ride. 

USAA launches SafePilot in 34 states, partners with Chubb

Due to increased demand, USAA launched its telematics app in the majority of states. Daily driver enrollment year-to-date is 203% higher than 2020, with almost half of new policyholders opting into the program. SafePilot gives policy discounts of up to 30% for safe drivers.

The insurer also announced a collaboration with Chubb’s Blink to offer personal cyber insurance protection to USAA members and their families. The two companies are also providing policyholders with educational resources on how to protect themselves and their families from cyber threats. 

Volkswagen launches EV car subscription

Volkswagen launched AutoAbo in Germany, a flexible subscription offering that is mid-way between leasing and car-sharing. Customers can opt into a three-month or six-month subscription and test out the newest EV models, with the contract covering 800 km per month and a full-service package with registration, road tests, insurance and maintenance. The manufacturer is making more than 2,000 nearly-new used cars available via the model, making it one of the largest subscription models in the country. 

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Jasmine KimB2B Content Manager

Jasmine is The Zebra’s newsroom content writer. With a background in journalism, she reports on breaking news, trends, mergers and acquisitions, and financial reports related to the insurance industry.