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Report: SoftBank wants to boost digital insurance investments

SoftBank Group Corp.'s venture capital arm, the Vision Fund, intends to increase investment in the insurance sector, a fund executive told Reuters.

"We are going to have to place several bets," Vision Fund dealmaker David Thevenon said. He added that "technology and how data is used, processed and collected is going to transform insurance."

SoftBank's insurance investments to date have included Chinese online insurance distributor ZhongAn International and two units of Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd., including its Ping An Good Doctor online health portal. SoftBank also led investments in digital insurers PolicyBazaar, Lemonade and Nauto in the past year, and has been involved in six of the 12 largest insurance investments in the year to June, Reuters said.

The company views insurance both as an investment opportunity in its own right and as a way of supporting companies in other sectors in which it has also invested, including autonomous vehicles.

SoftBank has also held talks with big insurers regarding partnerships to offer underwriting and regulatory guidance to the new-model insurance companies within its portfolio. Thevenon added that Softbank keeps looking for ways to speed up the digital restructuring of the insurance industry, including tie-ups with certain reinsurance companies.

Talks for SoftBank to take an up to $10 billion stake in Swiss Re AG earlier in the year ended with no agreement reached.