Google is eager to invest in other insurance technology companies well beyond its newly announced minority stake in Applied Systems, a principal investor with the global search engine giant said on Oct. 17.
“We really like the market,” said Jesse Wedler, a principal with CapitalG, the growth equity investment fund of Google’s parent Alphabet. “We will definitely be looking for additional investments in the insurance technology space.”
Wedler, speaking during a second conference call held to discuss CapitalG’s new investment in Applied, said he didn’t want to define the scope of CapitalG’s insurance technology investment search “too narrowly.” However, he said the search would be for other businesses like Applied, ones “that add insurance technology to the market.”
“Broadly speaking, the software businesses addressing the insurance market are interesting to us,” Wedler said.
He emphasized, however, that potential investment targets won’t be rivals of Applied, an Illinois-based provider of insurance technology and cloud-based software to independent agencies.
“We will never invest in anything that is competitive with Applied,” Wedler said.
On Oct. 16, Applied announced that CapitalG had purchased a minority stake in the company. While financial terms aren’t being disclosed, Applied CEO Reid French said that the investment is “not small.” The deal allows for Applied to gain access to Google technology in areas including artificial intelligence, machine learning and digital marketing. Affiliates of Hellman & Friedman will keep majority ownership.
French insisted on Oct. 16 that Google won’t tap into any of Applied Systems’ insurance data residing in the cloud or within various customer applications.
During the Oct. 17 conference call, Wedler echoed comments French made the day before asserting that the deal reinforces the merits of insurance agencies, many of which are Applied’s customers.
“Our investment is only going to do well if the agency channel goes well,” Wedler said. “I am not a spokesperson for Google’s insurance strategy overall, but that is 100 percent the case—we are believers in the agency channel.”
Wedler and French said that discussions between the two companies are in their early stages about where specifically to collaborate, with a preliminary focus on how to free up insurance agents’ time to make their lives easier.
“It is too early to say the specifics, but there are a lot of ideas … We’re really excited,” Wedler said.