Cloud Stocks: Lemonade and Root Disrupt the Insurance Industry
I’m publishing this series to discuss a topic that I follow closely — cloud stocks, trends, strategy, acquisitions, and more. I like fundamentals-focused business building, and outline the principles of fundamentals-focused business building in my free Bootstrapping course.
Insurance is one of the largest industries in the world. Property, casualty, and life insurance premiums amount for nearly $5 trillion globally, and account for 11% of the GDP in the United States. Given the regulations and the financial risks involved in the industry, most insurance players are large, enduring businesses. In the United States alone, 12 of the Fortune 100 companies are insurance companies, with an average age of about 125 years. But the industry is no longer immune to digital transformation. Lemonade (NYSE:LMND) and Root (NASDAQ: ROOT) are two InsureTech players that went public in 2020.
New York-based insurance tech company Lemonade was founded by Daniel Schreiber, Shai Wininger, and Ty Sagalow in 2015. The company was founded with the objective of making insurance a less morose and a more delightful, affordable, precise, and socially impactful process. Lemonade leverages data, AI, contemporary design, and behavioral economics to digitize insurance end-to-end.
Lemonade has been set up as a certified B-Corp. public benefit player. It works rather differently from traditional insurance players. Traditional insurance companies make money by retaining the amounts that they don’t pay out in claims with themselves. This makes it difficult for quick and full payment of claims. Lemonade, on the other hand, treats premiums differently. It allows the consumer to return unclaimed remainders in the form of donation for causes the policyholders care about. The amount given back is known as ‘Giveback’.
Lemonade consolidates people who care about the same causes as virtual groups of ‘peers’. Premiums collected from each peer group are used to pay for the group’s claims, and any money leftover after claim settlement is donated to their common cause. This way, its customers enjoy insurance while conducting a social good. By reimagining the traditional business model, Lemonade has minimized volatility while maximizing trust and social impact. The company currently offers insurance for homeowners, renters, and pet health insurance in a few states.
Lemonade earns revenues by keeping a fixed percentage of all premiums. This fee helps keep the consumer interest safe. The company recently reported its third quarter results where revenues grew 40% to $17.8 million. It ended the quarter with a net loss of $0.57 per share.
Lemonade expects revenues of $18-$19 million for the current quarter and expects to end the current year with revenues of $91-$93 million.
Its stock is trading at $183.26 with a market capitalization of $10.37 billion. Lemonade was privately held till July of last year when it raised $319 million at a valuation of $1.6 billion by selling stock at $29 apiece. Prior to the listing, Lemonade had raised $480 million in funding from investors including Asian Cowboy, G Squared, Inventure Partners, OurCrowd, eBrands.vc, Allianz, SoftBank, General Catalyst, Thrive Capital and GV.
Columbus, Ohio-based Root is another InsureTech player that went public in October 2020. It was founded by Alex Timm and Dan Manges in 2015 as a technology company that wants to deliver a fair pricing model and modern customer experience to revolutionize personal insurance. It was founded on the belief that the services people need for everyday life should serve them better.
Root Insurance is the country’s first licensed insurance carrier that is powered entirely by mobile. Root leverages AI and data analytics to measure risk, based on the performance of the individual. It collects data and feeds risk scoring models to assist it in identifying the riskiest 10–15% of drivers.
It decided to address the $266 billion US auto insurance industry first. It used data and technology to derive premiums based on how people actually drive, instead of who they actually are. As a result, consumers get a highly customized car insurance quote that works best for good drivers by providing them better rates and an easy-to-use mobile app experience.
Customers need to download the Root app on their phone and drive for a few days for Root to give them a fair quote. Root claims that the service has saved hundreds of dollars in premiums for drivers. It does not measure the premium based on the characteristics like the consumer’s zip code, but relies on their driving behaviors gathered from the app to determine the premiums. In the past few years, Root has expanded beyond auto to enter insurance as well.
Root recently reported its third quarter results. Q3 Revenues declined 36.5% to $50.5 million and loss was $2.20 per share. Root did not provide an outlook for the rest of the year.
Root’s stock is trading at $18.52 with a market capitalization of $4.82 billion. It had touched a 52-week high of $29.48 in October soon after listing, and had fallen to a 52-week low of $13.75 in December. Root went public in October last year when it raised $724.4 million at a valuation of $6.7 billion and by selling stock at $27 each. Prior to the listing, Root had raised $527.5 million in five funding rounds from investors including DST Global, Scale Venture Partners, Redpoint, Ribbit Capital, Coatue, Drive Capital and Tiger Global Management.
Disclosure: All investors should make their own assessments based on their own research, informed interpretations and risk appetite. This article expresses my own opinions based on my own research of product-market fit, channel execution, and other factors. My primary interest is in product strategy. While this may have bearing on stock movements, my writings tend to focus on long-term implications. The information presented is illustrative and educational, but should not be regarded as a complete analysis nor recommendation to buy or sell the securities mentioned herein. I am not a registered investment adviser and I am not receiving compensation for this article.
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