Insurance

Root raises $350 million to drive auto insurance change

illustration of road made out of a dollar sign
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Root Insurance, a tech-enabled auto insurance upstart that lives among the legacy giants in Columbus, Ohio, recently raised around $350 million at a $3.5 billion valuation, Axios has learned from multiple sources.

Why it matters: VCs are valuing Root more as a tech company than as an insurer, arguably more because of high growth rates than the actual tech component. We've seen this elsewhere in the insurance sector (e.g., Lemonade), and in all sorts of other consumer-facing areas (eyeglasses, razors, mattresses, etc.). The the jury remains out on the sagacity of such classifications.

Expert Voices

Energy transition prompts more insurers to back away from coal

cooling towers of a coal-fired power plant
Cooling towers of a coal-fired power plant. Photo: Federico Gambarini/picture alliance via Getty Images

Earlier this month, Chubb became the first U.S. insurance company to limit coal-related underwriting and investing, expanding a global trend that has seen 15 companies — underwriting a total of $313 million in premiums — announce new policy restrictions.

Why it matters: The proliferation of coal-exclusion policies at globally significant financial institutions — 113, according to the the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis — is leading large, diversified mining and utility companies to reduce their exposure to coal, and in some cases to exit the coal industry altogether, to avoid losing access to finance.