ACORD Partners with Global Insurance Accelerator to Promote Insurance-Centric Entrepreneurship

As a result of the partnership, the first semi-final event for the 2016 ACORD Insurance Innovation Challenge will be held in Des Moines in conjunction with the Global Insurance Symposium.

(Skywalks in downtown Des Moines, home of the Global Insurance Accelerator. Photo credit: DSMSpence.)

ACORD (Pearl River, N.Y.), the insurance industry’s global data standards and services association, has struck a partnership with the Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA), a global business accelerator focused on developing and growing innovative insurance-centric startups. As a result of the partnership, the first of this year’s ACORD Insurance Innovation Challenge (AIIC) semi-final events will be held during the Global Insurance Symposium at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines on April 26.

Brian Hemesath, Managing Director, Global Insurance Accelerator.

Brian Hemesath, Managing Director, Global Insurance Accelerator.

“The Global Insurance Accelerator is doing work that can be appreciated across the insurance industry,” comments Bill Hartnett, head of innovation for ACORD and AIIC executive sponsor. “The AIIC was designed to bring new ideas to the table via an equal footing platform. A partnership with the GIA and co-locating one of our semi-final events at the Global Insurance Symposium benefits everyone interested in innovation in the insurance industry.”

Promoting Entrepreneurial Talent

ACORD and the GIA share the goal of discovering and promoting entrepreneurial talent building solutions for the insurance industry, notes Brian Hemesath, managing director of the GIA and emcee of the Global Insurance Symposium. “The AIIC program is an excellent opportunity for early-stage companies to gain exposure to insurance companies and the broader insurance ecosystem. This partnership is a tremendous opportunity for us to leverage their efforts and vice versa,” he comments.

In 2015, the AIIC brought in more than 100 submissions which were narrowed to a semi-final field of 12 innovators who pitched live during the ACORD2015 event last November, ACORD reports. This year, individuals and companies submitting for the AIIC Des Moines semi-final event will pitch in front of a panel of judges comprised of insurance company professionals, analysts, entrepreneurs and thought leaders, as well as attendees to the Global Insurance Symposium who will have complimentary access to the event. All AIIC qualifying pitches will have the opportunity to get feedback prior to the event, answer questions from the judges, and be graded on impact, ingenuity, applicability to the insurance industry, and quality of the presentation.

The submission process for the AIIC Des Moines semi-final event is open now through March 14 at, leading up the April 26 pitches which will take place just prior to the opening reception of the Global Insurance Symposium at the Iowa Events Center. Early-stage startups are encouraged to submit a well-defined concept for a product or service that demonstrates the potential to disrupt or transform traditional approaches to all aspects of the insurance business and the industry at-large.

Bill Hartnett, Head of Innovation, ACORD.

Bill Hartnett, Head of Innovation, ACORD.

Winners of the AIIC Des Moines semi-final event will have the opportunity to join other semi-finalists to present to a panel of judges before a live audience at the ACORD2016 event, November 1-3 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida. The winners, selected based on a ranking derived from a combination of responses from the live audience and the judging panel, will receive a prize package valued at $25,000.

ACORD invites Insurance Innovation Reporter’s readers to click here to watch an interview about the AIIC with ACORD CEO & President Greg Maciag and ACORD Head of Innovation Bill Hartnett. Readers may click here to follow the AIIC LinkedIn Showcase page.

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, 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 or (503) 936-2803.

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