TechNation: Customer Churn Rates for Israeli Cellular Providers Plunges

Government plan envisions Haifa as Israel’s first cyber-protected smart city | Leumi CEO named one of world’s 10 most innovative bankers | Peer-to-peer insurer Lemonade seeking 46 U.S. state licenses


Customer churn rates for Israeli cellular providers plunges

Customer churn rates in Israel’s cellular market plummeted this year, a sign that stiff competition after reforms were implemented in 2012 has started to ease, according to figures obtained by TheMarker. High levels of subscribers’ movement from one provider to another is typically a sign of a competitive market where companies are fighting for business with lower rates and other incentives. But in 2016, the three big companies – Cellcom Israel, Partner Communications and Pelephone – lost a net 36,000 subscribers to rivals during the year, compared with a net 313,000 in 2015. Hot Telecom was the biggest gainer, enlisting a net 70,000 during 2016. However, the figure was down sharply from 160,000 the year before. Golan Telecom lost big as subscribers made nervous by the company’s financial health and abortive merger with Cellcom fled to other providers. Golan lost a net 70,000 users to churn this year, turning around from a 130,000 net gain in 23015. (Amitai Ziv)

Government plan envisions Haifa as Israel’s first cyber-protected smart city

Haifa will become Israel’s first cyber-security-protected smart city, under a plan scheduled to be presented to the cabinet on Sunday that also calls for strengthening its status as a center for the high-tech industry. Under the plan, part of a wider program to spend money to develop Israel’s north, the National Cyber Security Authority will work with the Social Equality Ministry on a program to safeguard the city against hackers and other dangers as it moves to a system of remote operation of critical infrastructure and policing, and more online services starting in 2018 with a budget of 7.5 million shekels ($1.9 million). A second interministerial team, working with the Israel Innovation Authority, will devise plans for fortifying Haifa as a major tech center over the next four years, building on its being the home of the Technion Israel Institute of technology and other institutes of higher education as well as hundreds of high-tech companies. (Ora Coren)

Leumi CEO named one of world’s 10 most innovative bankers

Bank Leumi CEO Rakefet Russak-Aminoach was named one of the world’s 10 most innovative bankers this week by Bank Innovation. The fintech website cited Leumi’s new all-mobile bank Pepper – a startup incubated within the bank and based on a Temenos platform – which be Israel’s first mobile-only bank when it launches shortly. Bank Innovation said Russak-Aminoach was inspired to start Pepper by her daughter’s reaction when told she had to go to a bank branch to open her first account and asked, “When I open a Facebook account or a Paypal account, I don’t need to go anywhere. Why do I need to GO somewhere to open a bank account?” the CEO recalled. “It was then I realized that I have a new mission: To be a part of changing the face of banking.” Bank Innovation also cited Russak-Aminoach’s policy of shutting branches and moving more and more of the bank’s resources to the digital side of things. (Michael Rochvarger)

Peer-to-peer insurer Lemonade seeking 46 U.S. state licenses

Lemonade, the American-Israeli peer-to-peer insurance startup, said last week it has filed for licenses in 46 states and the District of Columbia. The company, which won only one its first insurance licenses in New York State three months ago, said its Lemonade hoped to become available to 97% of the U.S. population over the course of 2017. ”Staffing Lemonade with bots instead of brokers allows for rapid expansion” said CEO Shai Wininger. “The cloud is accessible from anywhere, our datasets are nationwide, and our network of contractors span all 50 states.” Lemonade offers homeowners and renters insurance at rates starting at $35 and $5 a month, respectively, and allows them to submit claims on their mobile devices. The company pools the premiums of customers on the basis of the charity they choose, takes a fixed 20% the premiums at the start and pay their claims out of that pool. Anything left at the end of the year goes to the charity. (TheMarker Staff)