Why have the markets spurned public neoinsurance startups?

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We’ve spent quite a lot of time of late wondering just what the heck is up with the valuations of insurtech startups that went public in the last year. Keep in mind that we’re discussing neoinsurance providers like MetroMile and Hippo, not insurtech marketplaces like Insurify or Zebra.

There was a stream of insurtech exits in 2020 and early 2021. After Lemonade’s firecracker IPO, MetroMile and Hippo and Root also went public. Since those debuts, we’ve seen their valuations erode significantly.


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But Oscar Health got somewhat lost in our larger analysis of the space. An investor pointed out to The Exchange this weekend that we were a bit early in wondering just what investors were thinking when Oscar was going public — its IPO price range felt incredibly high, and we said so. Then, Oscar Health priced above that $32 to $34 per share interval, kicking off its life worth $39 per share.

Today’s it’s worth $13.58 per share.

We could call it another data point in our larger analysis, but it’s a bit more than that as Oscar Health expands the list of insurance types that startups tackled, scaled, took public and then saw fall out of investor favor. The companies that we are examining cover a number of industries, from auto insurance (Root, MetroMile), to home and rental insurance (Hippo, Lemonade), and, thanks to Oscar Health, health insurance as well. All are taking a whacking by the market.

Why? Happily, I think I’ve figured it out. More precisely, a CEO of a neoinsurance company in a different niche talked The Exchange through one particular hypothesis that makes rather good sense.

Show me the money metrics

Last week, I chatted with Pie Insurance co-founder CEO John Swigart. Pie sells SMB-focused insurance, with a focus on workers’ comp coverage. In Swigart’s view, small businesses have historically been overcharged and underserved for insurance. With a bit of tech, his company can offer coverage to smaller companies than many traditional insurance providers found attractive, and at better price points to boot.

Pie raised a $118 million Series C in March, with Crunchbase tallying $306 million in external capital for the company thus far. We’ll talk more about Pie at a later date.

What matters for our needs this morning is what Swigart said when I asked him what in the flying fuck was going on with public insurtech share prices. Given that he is building a related company, I was hoping that he would be both up to speed and have a take. He did.

Source: TechCrunch


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