Prudential to Buy Insurance Tech Startup for $2.35B

The insurance giant said Assurance IQ will help it target difficult-to-reach markets.
Lauren MuskettSeptember 5, 2019

Prudential Financial agreed to acquire three-year-old direct-to-consumer insurance platform Assurance IQ for $2.35 billion, the companies said.

Prudential said the acquisition would be modestly accretive to earnings per share and return on equity starting in 2020. It would generate cost savings of $50 million to $100 million per year by 2022. It said it would use a combination of current cash, debt financing, and equity to fund the acquisition, which is expected to close early in the fourth quarter.

Under the terms of the deal, Prudential will pay up to $1.15 billion in additional cash and equity if Assurance IQ meets certain growth objectives.

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Prudential, which is 144-years old, is the largest life insurance company in the country by assets. Assurance IQ uses a tech-focused approach and sales agents to market life, health, Medigap, and auto policies online, often to customers whose business is too small for traditional agents to target.

Assurance would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Prudential. Co-founder Michael Rowell would remain CEO of Assurance, and co-founder Michael Paulus would remain president. Rowell will report to Andrew Sullivan, who will become executive vice president and head of U.S. businesses, effective December 1.

Assurance will add a large and rapidly growing direct-to-consumer channel to Prudential’s financial wellness businesses, significantly expanding the total addressable market of both companies.

“Assurance accelerates the strategy and growth potential of Prudential’s financial wellness businesses, bringing us closer to more people across the entire socioeconomic spectrum to better serve the full picture of their needs,” said Prudential chairman and CEO Charles Lowrey.

The deal comes as more traditional life insurers partner with smaller tech-driven insurance companies to target new markets.

In April, SoftBank Group led a $300 million investment round for Lemonade Insurance. Earlier this year, venture capitalists invested $500 million in San Francisco-based startup Clover Health, which sells Medicare Advantage health-insurance plans.

Prudential shares were up 2.8% in midday trading.