In SoftBank's (SFTBY +1.5%) pursuit of up to a third of Swiss Re (SSREY +1.4%), observers have pointed to the likelihood of Masayoshi Son emulating Warren Buffett, in using a cash-flow-heavy business to help fund an ambitious empire elsewhere.
Bloomberg's Alex Webb points to another connection: Helping to usher in driverless cars.
One thing linking seemingly unrelated Son investments is his backing of ride-hailing giants, Webb notes (including Uber (Private:UBER), Didi Chuxing (Private:DIDI), Ola (Private:OLAC) and Grab (Private:GRAB)) -- and it happens that reinsurers' most important business line is the $700B motor insurance market.
As autonomous driving threatens to upend both primary insurance and reinsurance for motor vehicles, it would be a pricing advantage for Swiss Re to be swimming in data from the vehicles; meanwhile, risk data from Swiss Re could be a boon to the ride-hailers in deploying fleets.
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