In a new episode of Close Quarter on The Insurer TV, Cuscó pointed to a slowdown in VC investment in the insurtech space, driven by a host of macroeconomic factors putting pressure on less traditional forms of investment.
“We’ve seen all the VC investments slow down because of the many reasons we know – because the changes in the economic policies are driving investments to more traditional sources of investment and profit,” Cuscó said.
He continued: “That means that liquidity in the venture capital scene is getting harder to achieve, and if you combine those factors with the complexity of the current economy, with wars happening, with instability because of the long tail of the pandemic in some regions, plus the uncertainty in the behaviour of the markets beyond that capital, in all those scenarios, it makes sense that we are seeing a slowdown in these investments.”
Cuscó spoke to The Insurer TV following the release of a report to which Mapfre contributed. According to this report, global insurtech funding was down 50 percent in the first quarter of this year.
But despite the slowdown in VC investment, the opportunity within insurtech continues to flourish.
According to the report, there is a $6trn opportunity in the global insurtech market, making it “heavily underfunded” compared with other sectors such as fintech, health and mobility.
And while there has been a notable drop in VC investment – from its $4.7bn peak in Q3 2021 to below the $2bn mark in Q2 2022 – early-stage investments remain attractive.
The same report noted just six so-called mega rounds of more than $100mn in Q1 2022, compared with four in Q2 and a peak of 14 in Q2 last year.
Mapfre’s Cuscó is optimistic that insurtech start-ups will continue growing, albeit at a slower pace. But companies are also undergoing “very drastic corrections” in valuations in what he considers a consolidation phase of the market.
“We are at a 50 percent chance of having a global economic recession and venture capital will be impacted by that. But I’m sure that the insurtech scene is reaching consolidation phase, and this cycle won’t be stopped because the insurance market will keep transforming,” Cuscó noted.
Figures produced by The Insurer’s in-house research team indicated a drop of 48.7 percent in its insurtech composite index in the first half of this year, as previously reported by this publication.
The drop in the insurtech composite exceeds the broader market correction, which saw the S&P 500 index drop by 20.6 percent in H1 2022.
ESG on the agenda
The report also pointed to a focus on the transition to net zero and ESG among insurers and insurtechs.
But according to Cuscó, there is a discrepancy between the technological progress the insurance industry is making and the demand from clients around net zero and ESG solutions. As he explained, the investment in clean technology is there, but the demand from clients is lagging.
“There needs to be a viable business model for insurers to go and accompany our clients through this net-zero and full ESG transition because sustainability is not only about the environment, it’s also about doing good for society,” Cuscó added.
He also pointed to the need for a “healthy ecosystem” and that companies are increasingly understanding their role in running sustainably while still providing value to their stakeholders.
During the interview, Cuscó discusses the following topics:
- Factors driving the insurtech P&C space
- Opportunities for insurtech businesses
- Venture capital investment into this part of the market
- How insurtechs are tackling ESG challenges
- Mapfre’s technological priorities
- The outlook for next year