Startupbootcamp InsurTech celebrates its third year, demonstrating increased collaboration between startups and incumbents
25 May 2018
Startupbootcamp (SBC) InsurTech London is a global insurance accelerator, supported by 18 partners, including PwC. SBC brings together early stage startups with leading insurance companies and investors, to shape the future of insurance. On 17th May, Startupbootcamp hosted a Demo Day for their third cohort of startups. In front of an audience of over 500 insurance professionals, investors, mentors and entrepreneurs, the ten startups pitched their businesses, showing the progress they have made over the 14 week programme and how their propositions are changing the insurance industry.
The theme of the event was “Converge”, highlighting that InsurTech startups, investors and industry experts have joined together to solve problems in the insurance industry, and respond to innovation beyond it. The event showcased a few key innovation trends in InsurTech:
Data, data and more data
There have been great shifts in technology, such as AI, the Internet of Things and machine learning, that are enabling insurers to not only obtain better insights from higher quality data, but also from new forms of data that have not yet been used in the underwriting process. Of the ten startups presenting, four are primarily focussed on providing insurers with insights on existing and new data for use in underwriting and claims- CyStellar, Zasti, Flowenum and vHealth Lab
CyStellar’s big-data analytics and decision support platform improves the quality of large scale data. Currently working in agriculture and logistics, they have implications for insurers in underwriting and, due to their near-live data, they can also provide support in the event of a catastrophe.
Insurers’ maturity to engage
What was also apparent in the pitches, was the great number of partnerships between startups and incumbents. This engagement can be seen in personal, commercial and speciality lines and across all elements of the value chain.
Tshidi Hagan, SBC Programme Director, highlighting the transition that InsurTech has made over the last three years said “Insurers have shifted away from superficial experimentation towards impact driven collaboration that solves genuine business problems.”
Zeguro, a cyber insurance and virtual cybersecurity officer for SMEs, announced their partnership with Munich Re and Hartford Steam Boiler. This partnership allows Zeguro to underwrite cyber insurance in all 50 states in the US. PwC research, 2017, shows that only 14% of small businesses have cyber insurance, with insurers estimating this is even lower. Polywizz announced the success of a pilot with AIG which has now converted into a commercial partnership.
Another SBC partner sticking their head above the parapet is Zurich, with 3/10 startups referring to them in their pitches. Flowenum, an incident prediction and prevention platform for commercial real estate, discussed working with Zurich to implement predictive maintenance for a large property owner; whilst vHealth Lab, an AI powered platform supporting cardiovascular patients to better improve their health, is in early discussions with Zurich to develop a life insurance pilot. Zurich was reference by PicUP, who also announced a pilot with Old Mutual and discussions with AZA, Admiral, TMobile, American Express and IBM.
These are just some of the partnerships announced on the day and there are clearly many others going on behind closed doors which will come to light in the coming months. One thing is for sure, insurers are keen to continue to work closely with startups.
As well as supporting the existing value chain, several of the startups highlighted the impact innovation outside insurance is having on the insurance industry. Deemly and ForestCar, demonstrated the implications that the sharing economy is having in insurance. ForestCar is a sharing economy platform that offers car owners free airport parking in exchange for renting out their vehicles while they’re away; Deemly is a reputation and social verification software platform for peer-to-peer platforms. vHealth and vDexi demonstrated the advances in health technology, and connected vehicles respectively, and the implications these have for insurance.
The day was a celebration of the pace at which these startups have grown, refined their insurance use cases, and developed partnerships. Jonathan Howe, PwC partner and global insurTech leader, commented “For those of us involved with insurtech from the beginning this event really brought home how things have changed, or pivoted, and matured. Three years ago the hype around startups was about disruption and taking customers and market share from incumbent insurers. Now the talk, and increasingly the reality, is about startups and insurers creating meaningful partnerships. They are working together to solve problems within insurance and reacting to the changing outside world.”
Victoria Newton, PwC Consultant, Advisor in Residence at SBC