SFM Mutual Joins Global Insurance Accelerator as Investor, Board Member

The GIA reports that it has steadily added new investors throughout 2016 and 2017, and recently completed what it calls its most globally-diverse cohort to-date.

(Des Moines Art Center. Photo credit: Des Moines Guy.)

The Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA; Des Moines, Iowa), the world’s first business accelerator focused solely on innovation and technology for the insurance industry, is pleased to announce that  SFM Mutual Insurance Company (Bloomington, Minn.), a workers’ compensation specialty insurer, will join the GIA Board of Directors as part of support for the company’s recent annual investment.

Bob Lund, president and CEO, SFM Mutual Insurance.

“We see participation in the GIA as a fitting expression of our long-standing culture of innovation,” comments Bob Lund, president and CEO, SFM. “Harnessing technology to better serve the needs of our customers is one of the ways we deliver long-term value, and the GIA presents a vital dialogue around that commitment.”

The GIA operates an annual program by which it invites InsurTech startups to its home city of Des Moines for a 100-day, immersive insurance experience, during which program mentors provide business coaching as well as exposure to insurance company operations, focused line of business (LOB) insight, and access to potential additional investors. Each April, cohort companies graduate by pitching onstage in front of Global Insurance Symposium attendees.

Mike Happe, SVP and CMO, SFM Mutual Insurance.

“Our industry-leading, 95 percent policyholder retention rate is a key indicator of our commitment to delivering long-term positive results for our customers,” comments Mike Happe, senior VP and chief marketing officer, SFM. “We look forward to offering our mentorship and encouragement to those seeking meaningful ways to embrace technology to make the world a better place.”

The GIA reports that it has steadily added new investors throughout 2016 and 2017, and recently completed what it calls its most globally-diverse cohort to-date. SFM joins the GIA’s existing investor group in offering program mentors, in advance of the annual InsurTech Week in Des Moines which will take place October 23-27, introducing an additional 15 InsurTech startups to the GIA network.

“SFM is joining the GIA at the perfect time,” comments Brian Hemesath, managing director for the GIA. “Not only are we looking forward to their participation in board discussions and leadership, but InsurTech Week offers an opportunity for their best people to engage with InsurTech startups in a 1:1 way almost immediately. This is a great way to launch our work together and to boost to their already thriving internal culture of innovation.”

Brian Hemesath, Managing Director, GIA.

As a part of the GIA, insurer investors are often exposed to the newest industry-specific technology trends ahead of formal product launches, and, are therefore better positioned against modern competitors operating in the same markets. While the startups included in each of the GIA’s annual cohorts are typically early-stage, those participating in InsurTech Week vary widely in stages of business and product development.

The GIA’s investors not only have an opportunity to acquire a financial stake in some of the top InsurTech startups in the world, but can also expect to influence the early business and product evolution of cohort companies. As a part of the GIA, insurer investors are often exposed to the newest industry-specific technology trends ahead of formal product launches, which can give them an edge against modern competitors operating in the same markets.

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For over a decade he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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