Lemonade files to go public and reveals Nephila as reinsurer

Artemis | Steve Evans | Jun 9, 2020

lemonade - Lemonade files to go public and reveals Nephila as reinsurerLemonade, Inc., one of the highest profile insurtech start-ups that had been funded by Softbank among others, has filed an initial public offering (IPO) registration statement in which it has also revealed that one of its reinsurers is the largest ILS fund manager in the world Nephila Capital.

Lemonade is targeting a listing on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “LMND” with the IPO targeting a minimum $100 million, but commentators have suggested the insurtech could target up to $300 million.

Already backed by some $480 million of funding raised across seven rounds of capital raising, Lemonade’s filing makes clear that for an insurtech start-up targeting high-growth, access to reinsurance capital is one of the key levers it has at its disposal.

With the capital raised from this IPO, Lemonade is expected to continue to drive forward its European expansion and seek greater market share in the U.S. as well.

Lemonade has entered into a new multi-year quota share reinsurance arrangement that incepts at July 1st 2020.

Reinsurance is one of two “ballasts” that Lemonade has at its disposal, the company explains in its S1 filing, allowing the insurtech to offload excess claims to reinsurers, rather than retaining them at the balance-sheet level.

Reinsurance helps to “largely eliminates the bottom-line volatility inherent in traditional insurance companies” Lemonade says.

The insurtech highlights that wild swings with losses can make insurance companies more capital intensive, while using reinsurance can help to buffer against that and make revenue and profitability more predictable.

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The quota share has been entered into with seven reinsurers, with three-quarters of these contracts set to run over a three-year term.

This new proportional reinsurance arrangement will see Lemonade ceding 75% of its premiums to the panel of seven quota share reinsurers, in exchange for which they will pay a 25% ceding commission.

“This arrangement mirrors our fixed fee, and hence shields our gross margin, from the volatility of claims, while boosting our capital efficiency dramatically,” Lemonade explained.

Thanks to the quota share, Lemonade will have roughly 55% of its portfolio reinsured on a three-year term, the rest on an annual basis.

The company highlighted that, “We believe that staggering the terms this way provides the appropriate balance between maximizing predictability, and enabling us to capture more margin over time.”

In addition, Lemonade has non-proportional reinsurance contracts in place with eight reinsurers, in a combination of per risk reinsurance and facultative reinsurance arrangements.

This will minimise the size of losses for Lemonade, meaning no single loss can ever cost it more than $125,000.

“We believe our reinsurance structure achieves important goals: making us capital-light, buffering our gross margins from the vicissitudes of claims, and leaving room for our gross margins to grow,” the insurtech said.

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The aim is to maximise results and minimise the downside, using the quota share to ensure claims are buffered significantly and provide capital efficiency, while the non-proportional reinsurance covers avoid large losses and optimises margins.

Given Lemonade is looking at reinsurance capital as a key operational lever for its business, it’s no surprise to find that the insurtech is already sourcing some of this from a capital markets source.

Lemonade lists insurance-linked securities (ILS) fund manager Nephila Capital as a reinsurer, through the companies Lloyd’s of London syndicate 2357.

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