InsurTech venture capital financings in the pipeline appear to be going forward, but the likelihood of future deals could be an open question in light of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an industry expert.
Matteo Carbone, an InsurTech expert and founder/director of the IoT Insurance Observatory, said that at least a few more financing deals should come through in the coming weeks, despite the pandemic and the resulting financial uncertainty that has followed.
“It seems that deals that were almost closed have not been stopped, even if the formalization process was not completed,” Carbone said via email. “So I’m expecting a few more deals to pop up in [upcoming] weeks.”
Newer investments in upcoming months could be much less frequent, however, in light of coronavirus-related uncertainty, he added.
“I’m not expecting that anyone is going to commit to new investments before there is some visibility about what is going to happen with the coronavirus issue,” Carbone said.
One possible outcome: Carbone said that in the near future, optimistic investors may be able to invest in InsurTechs “at a cheaper price as soon as the target will be short of cash.”
For now, investors such as Erik Ross, head of Nationwide’s venture capital arm, said that investments are proceeding, coronavirus or not. Nationwide’s investment portfolio includes InsurTechs such as Insurify, an insurance price comparison shopping website; Betterview, a data and risk analytics platform for property insurers; and Next Insurance, an online insurance provider for small businesses.
“Nationwide continues to be supportive of the portfolio, makes follow-on investments and focuses on new deals as well,” Ross told Carrier Management. Still, that doesn’t mean that Ross and Nationwide aren’t taking into account the coronavirus crisis as they manage their portfolio companies.
“We are staying in close contact with many of our [InsurTech] founders as they weather the storm so that we may provide guidance that may be helpful and access Nationwide’s resources such as our chief economist and others to help provide a view of the coming weeks and months,” Ross explained.
Some InsurTechs may end up seeing the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity. Christian Wiens, the CEO and founder of the InsurTech MGA, issued a statement recently touting InsurTechs’ “mobile first approach, technical infrastructure and direct sales” approaches that could be an advantage during a period where face-to-face contact must be avoided due to virus concerns.