Norton Rose To Invest In ‘Hyperconnected Marketplace’ Riskbook, After Insurathon Prize Win

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright is to make a small investment in Riskbook, the winner of its Insurathon 2019 competition.

Riskbook describes itself as ‘a hyperconnected reinsurance marketplace enabling digitally native brokers to share risks with a worldwide audience of underwriters’. Or in short, it’s a digital marketplace to help find businesses that will back insurance policies.

Nine entrants out of 20 in total were selected as finalists to pitch for the InsurTech prize, consisting of:

·         £25,000 by way of an equity investment from Norton Rose Fulbright, subject to contract, diligence and Norton Rose Fulbright Investment Committee’s approval.

·         £25,000 of pro bono UK legal and regulatory advice from specialist lawyers within Norton Rose Fulbright’s market-leading corporate and regulatory insurance practice.

Although it’s a small investment, it ties the global firm to the InsurTech company and no doubt will mean some of its lawyers pay its growth plenty of attention.

Insurance is an especially interesting area for law firms that are exploring tech-based solutions. We have seen a number of firms in this space developing new capabilities around claim analysis and outcome prediction to help insurance clients – which tend to be both receptive to new tech and which also seek to drive innovation to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

While InsurTech companies themselves are not actively dealing with legal issues, they do often overlap with the legal world. The investment therefore shows a high level of interest from Norton Rose in keeping close to the winning company, which no doubt can then be introduced to the global firm’s many insurance sector clients.

The Insurathon is a Norton Rose Fulbright event which aims to bring together ‘the finest start-up and scale-up technology businesses looking to develop a business concept in the insurance space’, the global firm said.

The list of InsurTech companies that competed in the pitch event also included (some of which are at a very early stage) –

·         BirdsEyeView

·         Caura

·         Earthscope

·         hlthie

·         hyperexponential,

·         Portabl

·         Onceand1

·         Portabl

Nicholas Berry, a corporate and regulatory insurance partner at Norton Rose, who leads the Insurathon event, said: ‘We had a record number of applications this year, which indicates that the UK and London continue to be centres for supporting businesses driving innovation in the insurance sector.

‘Our judges were impressed by the calibre of the finalists’ pitches and it’s fantastic to have heard from such a wide range of strong start-ups. We congratulate Riskbook on its win and look forward working with Jerad and the other members of the Riskbook team.’

Jerad Leigh, CEO and co-founder of Riskbook, concluded: ‘At Riskbook we are building a global reinsurance marketplace that enables brokers to easily share their risks with a worldwide audience of underwriters, who are in turn empowered to search and filter for risks that match their appetite.

‘We are honoured and delighted to have won the support of world-leading law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, whose expertise and international network will help us deliver ‘Reinsurance Reimagined’ for the ever-growing Riskbook community worldwide. We look forward to working together to radically improve the daily lives of reinsurance brokers and underwriters.’

The event was judged by a five-member panel from Norton Rose Fulbright:

·         Eva-Maria Barbosa, partner

·         James Bateson, partner 

·         Rod Harrington, chief operating officer

·         Jeremy Coleman, head of innovation

·         Peter McBurney, head of technology consulting

Previous Insurathon winners include Concirrus, Pluto Travel, Mackenzie Intelligence Services, Flock Cover and Nexus Mutual.

When considering the finalists for the Insurathon 2019 pitch event, the judges used the following criteria:

  • Genuine insurance-related innovation. There must be a genuine innovation that the judging panel feels have a significant impact on the (re)insurance market.
  • Originality and complexity of legal or regulatory advice required. The business idea may include a new or complex legal or regulatory issue or challenge that needs to be overcome before the idea can be implemented.
  • Maturity of concept. Business concepts should be sufficiently mature and have (or at least be in the process of putting in place) the necessary arrangements for them to be viable businesses, for example, a minimum viable product, pilots, some commercial traction.
  • Team and execution capability. Teams that have the experience to execute the business model.

And, for those who keep an active interest in such issues, here is the prize’s text on IP:

Intellectual Property: The Insurathon brand and derivations of it will remain the property of NRF and cannot be used by any party without NRF’s written consent. You agree and confirm that all material presented by you at the Pitch Event is your own work.

By taking part in the Pitch Event, you grant us your consent on a worldwide, non-exclusive, irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free, transferable licence (with right to sub-license) basis to use, host, store, reproduce, edit, cut, translate, create derivative works, publish, distribute and communicate materials you present at the Pitch Event in part or as a whole in any and all media including any social media channels such as the NRF Twitter and Facebook accounts, whether now known or hereafter developed, without payment or liability to you.

If you do not agree to the materials you present at the Pitch Event being distributed and communicated on a social media site you must let us know at the time of entry by contacting insurtech@nortonrosefulbright.com.

You represent and warrant to us that (i) you have the right, including through obtaining all relevant permissions, to submit the materials you present at the Pitch Event and give the above consent, (ii) the materials you present at the Pitch Event do not infringe any third party’s rights including intellectual property and data privacy rights, and (iii) the materials you present at the Pitch Event are not hateful, defamatory, discriminatory or do not constitute a breach of confidence or any law or which it is unlawful for you to possess in the country in which you are resident, or which it would be unlawful for us to use or to hold.

You agree that NRF may disclose your identity to any third party who claims that any materials you uploaded at the Pitch Event infringes their rights. By taking part in the Pitch Event, you agree to irrecoverably waive to the extent permissible at law any moral rights in the materials you present at the Pitch Event arising under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 or similar rights arising under the laws of any jurisdiction.

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