LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) - British drone insurer Flock has
raised $17 million from investors in early-stage funding led by
venture investor Chamath Palihapitiya's Social Capital, Flock
said on Thursday.
Flock started out insuring commercial drones, and added car
and van fleets last year. It provides so-called usage-based
insurance, adjusting premiums according to real-time information
such as weather conditions and distance travelled.
Trends such as ride-sharing and same-day delivery require
new types of insurance, CEO Ed Leon Klinger said, as the world
also looks ahead to driverless cars.
"These customers are changing very, very quickly but the
world of insurance hasn't really adapted."
Flock, which started in 2018, said its drone insurance book
made up more than 35% of the UK commercial drone market, with
clients including the BBC, Netflix and the National Health
Service. Motor insurance clients include Jaguar Land Rover.
"Flock has the potential to help unlock and enable a truly
autonomous world, and even save lives," said Social Capital CEO
Palihapitiya, who is also the chair of space tourism firm Virgin
Klinger declined to give a valuation for Flock but said it
was growing rapidly and may seek further funds from investors
The COVID-19 pandemic had spurred demand for its product, as
fleet managers were able to save on insurance costs when
business lockdowns left cars unused, Klinger said.
Flock currently has around 20 staff but is hiring 60 more,
and plans to expand its motor business into Europe, he added.
Insurtech, a fast-growing segment of the financial
technology, or fintech, industry, has benefited from investor
interest in startups, with the traditional insurance industry
considered slow to change and to adopt technology.
Global insurtech funding exploded to $7.4 billion in the
first half, making 2021 a record funding year already, insurance
broker Willis Towers Watson said on Thursday.
Existing Flock investors Anthemis and Dig Ventures also
participated in the series A funding round.
(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn
Editing by Mark Potter)