Foto Nikolas Samios Speaker e1635854503637

Is climate insurance property’s next frontier?

Real estate is “absolutely insufficiently prepared” for climate change risks, PropTech1 Ventures told PlaceTech as it closed its €50m inaugural fund with backing from an insurance investor.

The European VC firm said that the risks faced by real estate from expanding green regulation has pushed its focus on products that combine insurtech and proptech.

A spokesperson said: “We find this topic to be very exciting in the context of the new climate change risks, since the real estate industry is, in our view, up to this point absolutely insufficiently prepared.”

The fund received backing from Basler Insurance, a subsidiary of Swiss insurance company Bâloise, which has a history of dipping into real estate innovation.

Last year, Bâloise partnered with UBS, off the back of UBS’s mortgage brokerage platforms Atrium and key4, to develop digital services for homeowners across financing, insurance and maintenance.

For PropTech1, EU regulations around sustainability are a driving force in the insurtech market as the bloc aims to hit net zero by 2050. The company told PlaceTech that it is about to complete an investment in the sector.

But staying on top of a rapidly expanding regulatory environment is a global concern, and investors from around the world have piled into the fund.

Anja Rath, managing partner at Proptech1, said: “The first fund launched by PropTech1 already features a large number of international investors, who have created a network for us and our startups from Trondheim in the north of Norway to Sofia in the southeast of Europe, as well as between San Francisco in the southwest of the USA and Montreal in the northeast of the American continent.”

Examples of insurance proptech

  • Billy: a Brooklyn-based construction insurance company, which helps developers verify that subcontractors have the insurance they need
  • Jones: used by JLL, the “friction-free compliance platform” gives users an understanding of their properties’ exposure to liabilities and tools to manage them
  • Obie: claiming to “reinvent the insurance process”, Obie is a US brokerage that offers instant property insurance quotes

‘Thematically diverse’

While insurance is an area of focus for PropTech1, managing partner Nikolas Samios emphasised that its fund is a varied one: “We were also able to implement our initial plan of uniting as thematically diverse investors as possible in one fund.

“Thus, the spectrum ranges from real estate banks, global consultants, insurance and pension funds to numerous medium-sized real estate companies and top entrepreneurs.”

PropTech1 will focus on further expansion in its portfolio this year, Samios added, before considering launching further funds.

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