Launching a venture-capital (VC) fund has become commonplace for many health insurers, even smaller ones, industry insiders tell AIS Health. They typically do not disclose returns — and many of these funds are so new that there haven’t been enough exits to judge performance. But the investments pay dividends for insurers in the ability to influence the strategic direction of their vendors, get preferred contracting terms — and hopefully still make some money.
There are a lot of reasons that insurers launch VC funds, says Ari Gottlieb, a principal at consulting firm A2 Strategy Group. “They don’t have the pure profit motive that a traditional venture fund has, which is just making sound investments,” he says. “They’re not designed, though, to lose money.”