A lot of cash and little love: An insurtech story
August 06, 2021 at 10:50 AM EDT
The players in the space that we can name and track are generally cash-rich and market-sentiment poor.
Hippo began to trade earlier this week after completing its SPAC combination. The home-focused U.S. neoinsurance provider initially stuck close to its $10 per-share pre-combination price before plummeting yesterday during regular trading.
But Hippo’s declines don’t appear to be of its own doing. Lemonade, another U.S. neoinsurance player — albeit one more focused on rental coverage — posted slightly better-than-expected Q2 results earlier in the week. After its report, Lemonade’s value dropped sharply, and it appears it dragged Hippo down with it.
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The trading volatility is interesting on its own, but what matters more is that the drop in the value of several neoinsurance companies is part of a larger trend. This week’s declines are not incredibly surprising — the market has negatively repriced tech-enabled insurance providers in recent quarters, which can be an uncomfortable situation for a category that previously basked in warm attention from public investors.
At this juncture, we’d typically riff on the new values of public neoinsurance companies and use that data to work our way into a guess concerning what the price declines might mean for related startups. Taking public-market data and using it to better understand private markets is pretty much the national pastime of this column.
Not today. Instead, we’re going to look into an interesting dynamic among neoinsurance companies that may matter a bit more for our comprehension of the private markets. Namely that the players in the space that we can name and track are generally cash-rich and market-sentiment poor.
Public markets are cutting the value of neoinsurance stocks, but the companies behind the valuation declines are rather wealthy. This makes their enterprise values smaller than you might guess from a quick glance at their market cap figures. But do Lemonade or Hippo really care if the stock market decides from one quarter to the next that their businesses are worth plus or minus 10%? Do they have enough cash to pursue their long-term visions, regardless?
Let’s unpack all the numbers, discuss an interview The Exchange held with Hippo CEO Assaf Wand earlier in the week and consider what Lemonade had to say during its earnings call.