Insurance can be a difficult world to break into, but, with no shortage of transformation requirements on the horizon, there is always a need for innovative entrepreneurs and insurtech solutions.
Accelerators and incubators provide a perfect springboard for fledgling founders, giving access to investors and allowing space for startups to perfect their business model. Here are some of the top insurtech accelerators currently open to newcomers.
10. InsurTech NY
There are more than 100 insurtechs headquartered in New York City – including Policygenius, Dayforward and Cover Whale – so, clearly, it is already a captive market for insurtech innovation. The InsurTech NY programme aims to capitalise on that by giving founders valuable insights and connections to prospects and partners, with no equity requirements, meaning they don’t have to worry about giving away some of their business. It has previously worked with some of the biggest insurance carriers and brokers in the US, providing a pathway for previous alumni like Goose Insurance, Relay, Insurmi, and Steadily.
Quesnay is a New York-based business consultancy that supports financial institutions, insurance companies, telecom providers, media companies, automotive companies and retailers with their innovation journey from strategy through to implementation. It makes sense, then, that the business runs a number of innovation challenges and competitions. They include a Female Founders in InsurTech competition that was launched in collaboration with Farmers Insurance in 2018 with the aim of fostering insurtech innovation and providing female founders with a place to incubate their insurtech ideas.
As the largest country in Western Europe, Germany has an addressable insurance market numbering over 80m people. InsurLab Germany is based in Cologne – a city of about 1m residents with top graduate prospects on its doorstep and just 90 minutes by train from the country’s financial centre, Frankfurt. The accelerator connects insurance companies, startups and research institutions to drive collaboration and innovation within Germany’s insurtech sector, helping to nurture the next generation of insurance success stories. Previous startups to emerge from Germany include Wefox (Berlin), Hepster (Rostock), Getsafe (Heidelberg), and Clark (Frankfurt).
Located in Hartford, Connecticut, the Hartford InsurTech Accelerator is part of Hartford InsurTech Hub – a city-convened initiative to create a prosperous insurtech community locally. The scheme boasts partners including HSB, Travelers Insurance and Nassau and puts on several events a year, including pitch events, innovation challenges, networking evenings, and keynote addresses. The hub elevates its profile both domestically and overseas by putting on forums throughout the US and further afield, and it organises an annual symposium that brings together some of the brightest minds in the field of insurance technology.
6. XL Innovate
The XL Group first launched its venture capital initiative, XL Innovate, in 2015, several years before the group’s acquisition at the hands of fellow insurance industry titan AXA (which completed in 2018). The primary aim was to invest in companies that have a focus on developing new capabilities in the insurance sector, creating partnerships outside the traditional underwriting space to find ways to underwrite uninsured risks. The Tom Hutton-led vehicle would provide not only investment, but advice and guidance too, usually taking an equity position in the companies into which it was investing.
A subsidiary of the European reinsurance giant, Munich Re Digital Partners works alongside insurtech entrepreneurs to help bring innovative new experiences to market. As one of the biggest names in the industry, Munich Re is able to bring a significant amount to the table – including insurance capacity, support with nurturing an idea and building a business plan, room to experiment with products or pricing models, and even venture capital financing. Unlike other accelerators, which are billed as a fixed-term programme, Munich Re Digital Partners presents itself as a longer-term business partnership – and it has already helped to bring the likes of Next Insurance and Simply Business to the fore.
When you think of American insurtech, you usually think of the usual financial centres – Manhattan, Chicago, Silicon Valley. But, for insurtech founders, the accelerator experience is more about honing their proposition and business model than it is being in the heart of the action. In Des Moines, Iowa – which it calls the insurance capital of the US – the Global Insurance Accelerator is building up early-stage insurtechs with the mentorship and resources they need to be successful. It has already welcomed on board Allstate as a headline sponsor and investor, something which bodes well for graduating startups.
Part of an esteemed network of industry-specific accelerators, Startupbootcamp InsurTech works with promising early-stage insurtech startups to help them grow and generate value both for their businesses and for the broader insurance ecosystem. Every year, the London-based scheme selects 10 of the most promising insurtech startups from around the world to work with. Participants get access to programme partners, mentors and past alumni; exposure to over 200 angel investors and venture capitalists; plus three months of rent-free office space in which to refine their proposition and get their idea off the ground.
Named after a unit of measuring light, MetLife’s LumenLab is helping insurtech luminaries to shine brightly. Launched in 2015, it was described at the time as a “disruptive innovation centre”. It included a 7,800-square-foot physical workspace as well as a business incubator with access to dedicated innovation experts, helping insurtech entrepreneurs to get the most out of their seeds for an idea. LumenLab was established to develop disruptive new business models in the areas of wellness, wealth, and retirement that could then translate into a competitive advantage for MetLife – a corporate strategy that has become increasingly prevalent in recent years across the accelerator scene.
Plug and Play Tech Centre’s insurance accelerator is one of the best known in the industry, intent on turbocharging insurtech innovation and modernising what it describes as an “ancient” industry. Plug and Play works with some of the largest insurers – including Zurich, State Farm, Nationwide and Aon – to foster exciting insurtech solutions in the fields of P&C, Life and Health, and General Insurance. The programme runs four separate accelerator schemes based in major regional insurance hubs – Munich, Singapore, Tokyo and Beijing – and has helped to nurture well-known insurtech brands including Tilt, Mulberri, Tapoly and Bdeo.
Please also take a look at our upcoming virtual event, InsurTech LIVE, coming on 18-19 October 2023.
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