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Insurtech funding soars in second quarter

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Insurtech funding surged to $985 million in the second quarter of 2017, a 248% increase over the first quarter that was fueled by a record number of transactions and big investments in startups, Willis Towers Watson P.L.C. said Thursday.

The 64 transactions recorded in the second quarter nearly doubled the 38 completed in the first quarter of this year, according to Willis Towers Watson’s InsurTech Briefing.

“It’s a $170 billion global industry currently controlled approximately 90% by incumbents,” the briefing said. “And it is booming with innovation.”

Technology can help insurers move from a business model focused on payments and cost control to one of claims mitigation and risk management, the briefing said. This will lead to higher client satisfaction and retention, the report predicted, as claims are one of the most critical customer interactions with the insurance value chain.

“The claims management conversation with a client provides the greatest insight and opportunity to improve risk mitigation, making it increasingly core to the evolving, consumer-focused, insurance value chain,” Rafal Walkiewicz, New York-based CEO of Willis Towers Watson Securities, said in a statement. “We believe claims management could assume additional prominence at the expense of other functions including distribution, underwriting and capital management. Effectively harnessing this conversation through technology, whether developed internally or through partnerships or acquisition, will be a key source of differentiation for incumbents going forward.”

The research is produced by Willis Towers Watson Securities and Willis Re in collaboration with New York-based venture capital database CB Information Services Inc.