Ping An Launches $1 Billion Fund to Invest in Financial, Health-Care Technology

BEIJING –  Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. said Thursday it is launching a $1 billion fund to invest in financial and health-care technology globally, in a bid to further expand its business outside the domestic market.

The Shenzhen-based insurer also appointed Jonathan Larsen, a former banker at Citigroup, as Ping An’s innovation officer and chief executive of the new fund, “Ping An Global Voyager Fund,” according to a company statement.

Ping An has previously invested in Chinese online lender Lufax and health app Ping An Good Doctor.

Write to Grace Zhu at grace.zhu@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 04, 2017 01:09 ET (05:09 GMT)

Powered by WPeMatico

Next Insurance raises $29 million for online platform that targets small businesses with tailored plans

By Paul Sawers for Venture Beat

Next Insurance, an online insurance platform that targets small to medium-sized businesses, has raised $29 million in a Series A round of funding led by Munich Re/HSB Ventures, Markel, and Nationwide, with participation from other existing investors.

Founded out of Palo Alto, Calif. in 2016, Next Insurance is the latest in a long line of insurance tech startups to garner VC funding, with the likes of New York-based Lemonade raising one of Sequoia’s largest-ever seed rounds back in 2015, while Insurify recently closed a $4.6 million round for its auto insurance comparison bot, and last month Trov closed a $45 million round. Notably, German insurance giant Munich Re also led that round of funding through its HSB Ventures offshoot.

Unlike fledgling insurance companies such as Lemonade, which is licensed to issue its own policies, Next Insurance partners with existing insurance providers to actually issue the policies, with Next focusing on packaging the policies within its technology platform.

Next Insurance says that it creates a “direct link” with targeted small business owners and focuses on specific industries, such as “yoga insurance,” “landscaper insurance,” and “janitorial insurance.” Indeed, Next Insurance actually partnered with Munich Re back in December to launch an insurance product that targets commercial photographers.

“The small business sector is vast and extremely varied, yet the small business insurance market is digitally underserved,” explained Next CEO and cofounder Guy Goldstein. “This is especially true for independent business owners like photographers and personal trainers that we’re already serving. Next’s platform is able to overcome significant challenges by simplifying and expediting the insurance sign up and engagement process for the small business owner and channeling advanced data analytics to create policies that are tailored to the unique needs of different classes of business.”

Today’s news comes a little more than a year after Next raised a $13 million seed round of funding ahead of its official launch. And with an additional $29 million in the bank, it says it will now double down on building out its insurance products and expanding into new sectors.

Powered by WPeMatico