FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Swiss Re SRENH.S and carmaker Daimler DAIGn.DE announced a joint automotive and mobility insurance venture on Monday, seeking to tap into a wealth of new data generated by highly automated vehicles to help insurers to calculate risk.

FILE PHOTO: The Daimler logo is seen before the Daimler annual shareholder meeting in Berlin, Germany, April 5, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

The reinsurer and Daimler, parent of the Mercedes-Benz passenger car brand, set up Movinx, a Berlin-based intermediary they will co-own equally, the companies said in a statement.

As connected and autonomous cars generate live data about traffic flows, vehicle reflexes and driver behaviour, the companies expect new opportunities will arise to customise automotive and mobility insurance products.

“Even before cars come off the manufacturing line, we know the specific features and how that car would react in an emergency situation and we can provide a score to insurance partners to better underwrite the risk,” said Pravina Ladva, Swiss Re’s digital transformation officer.

Swiss Re already offers to price risk by looking at the number of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) fitted to a car, calculating a car’s capability under various traffic conditions considering safety as well as the cost of repairs.

Daimler, which has spent decades refining advanced driver assistance systems, sees an opportunity for monetizing its know-how about vehicle safety.

Ingo Telschow, chief executive of Daimler Insurance Services, said his company was “going deeper into the value chain of insurance business, having more influence on product development and pricing.”

Aside from technological advances in the area of automated and connected vehicles, customer behaviour is also shifting from long-term ownership to short-term usage, creating new insurance challenges in the area of pricing and claims handling.

Movinx will position itself as a so-called Managing General Agent (MGA) to help insurers

The newly-listed Siemens Energy has signed a memorandum of understanding with Siemens Mobility to “jointly develop and offer hydrogen systems for trains.”

Announced on Monday, the partnership is the latest example of companies attempting to ramp up and expand the use of hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

The collaboration will look to produce “a standardized hydrogen infrastructure solution for fueling the hydrogen-powered trains of Siemens Mobility.”

In addition, the idea is that the products of the partnership will be offered to external customers in order to “promote the hydrogen economy in Germany and Europe and support decarbonization in the mobility sector.”

The broad aim is to link up Siemens Energy’s work on the production of green hydrogen – a term that refers to hydrogen produced using renewable sources such as wind and solar – with Siemens Mobility’s specialism in transportation.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), hydrogen is a “versatile energy carrier.” Generating it does have an environmental impact, however.

The IEA has said that hydrogen production is responsible for roughly 830 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. It’s within this context that the idea of green hydrogen is so attractive.

“Working together with Siemens Mobility, we want to drive sector coupling by developing, among other things, an electrolysis and fueling solution for the fast fueling of hydrogen-powered trains,” Armin Schnettler, who is executive vice president of Siemens Energy’s New Energy Business, said in a statement.

Siemens shareholders voted to spin off the industrial giant’s energy business back in July. The standalone firm, Siemens Energy, made its debut on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange last week. Its largest shareholder is Siemens. Siemens Mobility remains part of the larger Siemens organization.

Hydrogen fuel-cell plane

Elsewhere, trials of a hydrogen-powered train in the U.K. got underway at the end of September, while

Neuron Mobility, a Singapore-based e-scooter rental startup, announced today that it has added $12 million to its Series A. Led by Square Peg, an Australian venture capital firm and GSR Ventures, this increases the round’s new total to $30.5 million. The company, which operates in Australia and New Zealand in addition to Southeast Asian markets, first announced its Series A in December 2019.

Part of Neuron Mobility’s growth plans hinges on the increased adoption of electric scooters and bikes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are using their cars less frequently because they are working remotely or there are movement restrictions where they live. When they do go out, electric bikes and scooters offer an alternative to public transportation and ride-hailing services for short trips.

Neuron Mobility’s chief executive Zachary Wang said the company raised a Series A+ instead of moving onto a Series B because more cities are “opening up to the possibility of micromobility, particularly rental e-scooters as they present an individual transport option that takes pressure off public transport and allows people to continue social distancing.”

“We’ve been experiencing tremendous growth in ANZ and the pandemic has made us fast track our plans,” he added.

Though Neuron Mobility currently does not operate in other Southeast Asian countries besides Singapore, Wang said it is “constantly evaluating opportunities across APAC.”

The new funding will be used to speed up Neuron Mobility’s expansion plans in Australia and New Zealand, where it claims to be the leading electric scooter rental operator. The company is currently present in nine locations, including Auckland, New Zealand, and Australian cities Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Canberra and Townsville. Neuron Mobility plans to expand into five new cities over the next two months and part of that involves hiring 400 more people in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.