Ohio-based digital insurer Root Insurance (NASDAQ:ROOT) is generating buzz as the company just had its initial public offering (IPO). The Root Insurance IPO could be the biggest IPO in Ohio’s history.Source: Shutterstock
Much like Lemonade (NYSE:LMND), which I discussed last month, Root Insurance offers a new angle on insurance. Indeed, this up-and-coming company has the potential to modernize and thereby disrupt the traditional insurance market as we know it.
Granted, Lemonade was first out of the gate this summer. So at least in terms of neo-insurance IPOs in 2020, Root Insurance doesn’t have the first-mover advantage.
Still, Root Insurance is worth keeping an eye on as there should be room for more than one successful “insure-tech” start-up.
A Closer Look at the Root Insurance IPO
Root Insurance, founded by Alex Timm and Dan Manges in 2015, reportedly declared its objective in September of an IPO valuation between $5 billion and $6 billion.
The timing of this IPO certainly seems appropriate. After all, with many people choosing to stay home during the novel coronavirus pandemic, more consumers are probably researching and buying insurance through digital platforms.
On Oct. 20, Root Insurance released its IPO stock issuance and pricing guidance. Specifically, the company planned to sell 24.16 million shares of its stock for $22 to $25 per share.
Undoubtedly, some traders are hoping for a repeat of what happened with Lemonade stock. It was priced by Lemonade at $29 during its IPO. By Oct. 26, Lemonade stock was trading for more than $50 per share.
So far, the Root Insurance IPO doesn’t necessarily appear to be on the same trajectory as Lemonade stock. ROOT shares started trading at $26 on Oct. 28 and declined below $25 on the morning of Oct. 30.
Still, it’s early in the game and only time will tell where ROOT goes from here.
Taking Root in a Huge Market
There’s certainly no guarantee that Root Insurance’s shares will perform like Lemonade stock did. Still, it’s exciting to consider the potential for gains by Root.
The folks at Root Insurance certainly view insure-tech as a wide-open market with their company poised to gain market share.
Thus, the company asserts, “We are still in the very early days of Root. As we look to the future, we believe the opportunity in front of us is massive and that we have the opportunity to create a historic, market-defining company.”
With the U.S. auto insurance market valued at $266 billion and the pandemic pushing people to shift to tech-enhanced methods of shopping, it’s easy to envision companies like Lemonade and Root Insurance finding a small but steadily expanding niche within that market.
For prospective investors, then, the most apparent difference between Lemonade and Root Insurance is that the former company’s stock has already gone up considerably, while the latter company’s shares aren’t trading yet, leaving open the possibility of a similar moon shot.
An Important Difference
But are the companies themselves fundamentally different from each other? They’re both involved in the tech-enabled insurance business. Yet there is a key difference between them.
Lemonade does not appear to offer automotive insurance at this time. This could certainly change in the future. I could easily envision Lemonade jumping into this niche market at some point.
Yet, Root appears to have a head start in this highly lucrative market. Plus, the company has a unique angle on automotive insurance as it uses leading-edge, data-insight-driven technology.
“Our technology platform collects vast amounts of data from disparate sources, including telematics and claims,” explains the company. “We aggregate this data into an integrated set from which we derive proprietary insights about our customers’ driving performance, most importantly around the driving behavior that causes claims.”
Thus, even if Lemonade were to expand into the telematics-enhanced auto insurance business today, it wouldn’t be the first mover as Root is already innovating in this area.
The Bottom Line
All in all, the Root Insurance IPO could be a game changer even if it’s not the first insure-tech IPO of 2020.
Even if we don’t see a repeat of the share price performance that we witnessed with Lemonade stock, there’s still room for both companies to thrive in an increasingly tech-enhanced insurance marketplace.
On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
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