From 1970s startup to global champion: InsurTech Hub Munich wins SAP as a new partner
The InsurTech Hub Munich (ITHM) is expanding its role as a facilitator not only for startups and insurers, but also related industries: Since September 1, 2020, software group SAP is a new partner in the ITHM network, which already has over 20 members. “Like hardly any other company, SAP stands for trend-setting and internationally leading tech solutions made in Germany. That’s a great asset for our ecosystem,” says Christian Gnam, Acting Managing Director of ITHM.
“We know very well about the opportunities of working with founders,” says Thilo Liebermann, Head of Customer Advisory Service Industries at SAP, “after all, our company was an archetypal startup at the time”. Founded in 1972 by five former IBM employees under the name ‘Systemanalyse Programmentwicklung’, SAP today employs over 100,000 globally. The listed software group is still headquartered in Walldorf, Baden-Württemberg.
Startup spirit revisited
“Dietmar Hopp, one of the founding fathers of SAP, once noted that the company had more than a decade to grow out of its startup infancy in the 1970s and 80s,” says Liebermann. “Development cycles like these are hardly imaginable today. And in view of today’s abundant potentials of digitization – which we are significantly helping to shape with our central data management solutions – they are not desirable either. But it is part of our DNA to believe that good ideas deserve long-term attendance and persistent support. “
ITHM Managing Director Gnam underlines the importance of the technical integration of startup solutions into an insurer’s existing systems: “An essential part of our innovation programmes are the business development sessions, in which we thoroughly check the fbusiness models of the participating founders. Representatives of our partner companies keep asking: ‘Is your solution compatible with the applications that we use in-house?’ No wonder that SAP frequently is mentioned. “
Successful ITHM formula expanded
“77% of all transaction sales worldwide go through or touch SAP systems,” says Liebermann, “which means that SAP works closely with every industry.” He continues: “The insurance industry is not known to make rash decisions or to follow short-lived trends. However, if innovation happens here – and this is currently being felt very strongly – it has massive effects. ITHM acts as a seismograph for these changes. And with its process optimization expertise, SAP can help to let transformation happen as smoothly as possible for all sides involved. “
Johannes Wagner, Member of the ITHM Board and Head of Startup Cooperation at Versicherungskammer Bayern, agrees: “The Corona crisis acts as a strong accelerator for digitization in our industry”. He adds: “At the center of everything is the user experience, the satisfaction of customers. They have changed their reservation towards the usage of digital tools within a few months and are increasingly asking for remote solutions. We very much welcome SAP adding an additional dimension to ITHM’s successful formula of startup-incumbent cooperation.”
Download: Press Release in German language
Text: Markus Walter