More VCs Investing in Insurance Startups as Lending Fades

Source: PitchBook

As the rush of venture capital money into online lending dissipates, VCs have turned their attention to another fintech sector: online insurance startups. Venture capital investments in insurance startups rose 50% to $1.4 billion in 2016 from a year earlier, even as money flowing into lending startups fell by more than half to $2.1 billion from $5.6 billion in 2015, according to new data from research firm PitchBook.

Like lending, insurance is heavily regulated, capital-intensive and has changed little in the past hundred years. That makes it ripe for disruption by startups, both in how insurance is marketed to consumers and in how claims are assessed. But some VCs are nervous that valuations may already be getting too rich.

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Another risk is technological change in industries being insured. Lemonade co-founder and CEO Daniel Schreiber, for instance, doesn’t intend to expand into auto insurance. “It’s too competitive and self-driving cars might kill its business model,’’ Mr. Schreiber said in an interview

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