A window into the future of insurance

Startups, mentors, investors and insurance and tech industry representatives worked together for five months in InsurTech Hub Munich’s Innovation Programme. At the grand finale 600 attendees were able to witness the next big thing in insurance, as keynote speaker Carsten Maschmeyer remarked.

It was not your average accelerator – in more than just one way: When the fifth edition of InsurTech Hub Munich’s (ITHM) Innovation Programme kicked off in February 2020, it was designed to mark a turnaround compared to its predecessors. More time for business development, more investors, a redefined curriculum, a ‘concierge service’ approach, a stunning number of 300 top-notch mentors. Then COVID-19 hit, requiring every aspect of the on-site, in-person programme to be moved to digital. And it worked. How it worked! Demo Day and Investor Showcase, the grand finale events, showed that not only the Innovation Programme in itself but everyone involved – from founders to partner companies – is crisis-proof. “We have succeeded in building the epicentre of corporate innovation, insurance technology and entrepreneurship”, proudly announced Demo Day host Marco Affonseca, ITHM’s Head of Global Innovation. “And the virtual nature of this event allowed us to be joined by even more people from all over the world.”

13 out of 39 startups (see list below) made it through the in-programme selection process and to the final pitches, presenting to more than 50 VCs during Investor Showcase and more than 500 corporate representatives, industry experts, scholars and the media on Demo Day. “These two events serve as a window into the future of the insurance industry”, commented the keynote speaker, entrepreneur and investor Carsten Maschmeyer. He recognized ITHM for having helped grow some of his portfolio companies, Nect, Neodigital and Thryve – the latter being a participant in the current batch. “Even in times of headwind”, Maschmeyer said referring to the Corona situation, “there are gold-medal winners”.

During Demo Day several of ITHM’s 20 partners from the insurance and tech industry disclosed working on POCs (Proof-of-Concept) with participating founders: ADAC is involved in pilot discussions with no less than five startups and Markel has performed a POC at record speed within only three weeks. “You have to adapt to the new reality”, declared Maschmeyer, and this message clearly resonates with insurance industry innovators who see a tremendously rising demand for digital solutions, ignited by what both businesses and customers are experiencing during the crisis.

And ITHM is there to facilitate the increasing cooperation between incumbents and startups, as ITHM Chairman of the Board and Global Head of Innovation with Munich Re, Tom Van den Brulle, underlined. Demo Day co-host Ben Shaw, Director Strategy and Programmes at ITHM, pointed out: “With our ‘concierge business development’ services we make sure the scene is set, everyone builds meaningful relations and we do add value for all parties”. He stresses the importance of de-risking startups – and consequently their insurance partners. “We’re not playing ‘innovation theatre’, but talking straight business”, Affonseca chimes in and backs up ITHMs efforts with data: “Through us, entrepreneurs reduced sales cycles to insurers by half, they are better able to identify who their target customer is and how to provide a product that suits customer needs.”

The team has divided startup pitches into four strategic pillars – mobility, health, digital insurance and enterprise 2.0 – and invited prominent international speakers such as Snejina Zacharia (Insurify), Christian Wiens (Getsafe), Carolin Gabor (Joonko) or Ben Davey (Barclays Ventures) to discuss trends in these fields. “We want startups to walk out of this programme being able to grow a sustainable business model and upgrade existing insurance offerings”, comments ITHM’s Acting Managing Director, Christian Gnam. “Mission accomplished”, explaims his teammate Shaw and stops a high-five mid air, his arm receding. “Let’s hope our next format running in the second half of 2020, H+ Digital Health Innovation Programme, gives us all some opportunity to meet in person again”.

Text: Markus Walter

Anansi Technology (UK): Zero admin insurance for e-commerce merchants

Bdeo (Spain): Visual intelligence for the insurance industry

Convaise (Germany): Helping institutions simplify their bureaucratic communication processes

Fusionbase (Germany): A data hub for external data

Interviewer.AI (Singapore): Default interviewing platform for customer-facing roles

NeoSound Intelligence (Netherlands): Turn emotions into data! AI tech company providing call centres with speech analytics solutions

Nui Care (Germany): Intelligent care assistant for family care givers

Parloa (Germany): Enabling enterprises to use best in class conversational AI

Pathmate (Germany): Personalized digital health coaches for chronic diseases

Peregrine Technologies (Germany): The next generation of real-time traffic video analytics

Pyoneer (Germany): Product Management SaaS with AI-powered insights from customer feedback

Thryve (Germany): The single health API

Wetterheld (Germany): Don’t be afraid of bad weather. We protect your business!