February 28, 2017 / 5:33 AM / 3 years ago

Swiss insurer Baloise strikes partnership to back tech startups

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Swiss insurance group Baloise Holding has joined forces with digital financial services venture capital and advisory firm Anthemis Group to invest in insurance and risk management technology startups, the latest sign of large, traditional insurers seeking to become more tech-savvy.

As part of the deal Baloise has committed 50 million Swiss francs ($49.57 million) to Anthemis Baloise Strategic Ventures, which will invest in young companies in Europe and the United States, that may be able to help the insurer improve its technology.

Baloise, which has about 50 billion Swiss francs ($49.55 billion) in assets under management, provides a range of insurance and banking services in Switzerland, and is also active in Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg.

The move makes it the latest established financial services company to set up a formal investing initiative for financial technology - known as fintech - as older and larger firms look to increase collaboration with innovative companies in the sector.

The most recent corporate venture launches in finance include global exchange operator Nasdaq Inc and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. [NMLIC.UL]

The launch also underscores how insurance companies have turned their attention to becoming more digital-savvy, from using advanced data technology to calculate risk better to automating more of the claims management process.

At the same time, a growing number of young companies are looking to use newer technology to modernize the $4.7 trillion global insurance market, which has traditionally been less of a focus for startups than banking and capital markets.

London-based Anthemis also has investment partnerships with South African insurer and asset manager MMI Holdings Ltd and Italian banking group Unicredit.

Reporting by Anna Irrera; Editing by Bill Rigby

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