Insurance Journal – Why It’s a Good Time for Insurtechs to Be Thinking About Mergers
Executive summary :
The drumbeat for insurtechs to pursue a merger, acquisition or partnership is getting louder, with the number likely to substantially grow in the months ahead, an insurance industry expert believes.
It’s good to talk
“Insurtech is reaching a point where [startups] must decide whether they are better off on their own or need to find a partner,” said Adrian Jones, SCOR’s deputy CEO of P&C Partners in charge of ventures & strategic partnerships.
Jones, speaking during a session for InsureTech Connect’s ITC Global virtual annual meeting, predicts that these arrangements will happen a variety of ways: between two insurtechs, insurtechs sold to incumbents [older carriers] or with insurtechs buying troubled assets themselves.
“The bottom line – if you’re not discussing M&A, it is a great conversation to start to have,” Jones said.
The reason is, according to Jones, that startups reach a point in their development where they pursue growth that builds on, and adds to the capabilities they started with.
Startups want growth
According to Jones, the same rules apply to insurtech startups as for older insurers.
“Ultimately, M&As are driven by companies seeking more growth than the market provides … businesses are ultimately collections of people, and people want to grow,” Jones said. Similarly, he noted, startups are going to also pursue growth by accessing new markets through M&A, and build their capabilities in the process.
While insurtechs – many launched over the last few years – may be organically reaching the point of M&A or a partnership, Jones said that the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the process.
M&As are accelerating startups
Acquirers, he said, “are starting to see the value of insurtech during COVID,” a period where customers began leaning heavily on all things digital rather than in-person transactions.
A number of acquisitions have already closed in recent months, conducted by startups including Buckle, Coalition and Hippo. In those situations, “these are deals where incumbent assets have been sold to startups who are using them aggressively to build out new businesses,” Jones said.
He added that this type of M&A is letting insurtechs accelerate their market presence and exploit the “cost-of-capital” advantages.
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