(Skyline of Des Moines, home to EMC and the GIA. Photo credit: Tim Kiser.)
EMC Insurance Companies (Des Moines) and Markel Corporation (Richmond, Va.) have confirmed annual investments in the Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA), which help fund a seed investment in insurance technology (InsurTech) startups accepted into the GIA program. As investors, EMC and Markel will also commit staff and company expertise to help mentor startups through the critical early stages of business growth, potential launch situations, recruiting and onboarding initial customers, and seeking additional funding, the GIA reports.
The full group of insurers now investing in the GIA is as follows:
- American Equity Investment Life Holding Company
- Delta Dental Plans Association
- Farm Bureau Financial Services
- Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance of Iowa
- Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company
- IMT Insurance Company
- Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company
- Principal Financial Group
- EMC Insurance Companies
- Markel Corporation
Modeled after horizontal technology accelerators, the GIA is focused solely on the insurance industry. Now in its third year, the GIA is backed by insurance company investors from across the U.S. The GIA is based in Des Moines, Iowa, which is home to more than 80 insurance companies and tens of thousands of insurance professionals. More than 200 insurance companies are based in the state of Iowa overall.
The InsurTech startups selected to participate in the GIA’s annual “cohort” are invited to Des Moines for a 100-day program, which provides hands-on business support, education and assessment from program mentors, and exposure to insurance company professionals, industry influencers and potential additional investors as well, the GIA reports. The program culminates each year in April by providing startups the opportunity to pitch live onstage at the Global Insurance Symposium.
Financial Stake and Influence on Evolving Startups
Among the benefits to investors that the GIA appeals to in its outreach is both the opportunity to acquire a financial stake in some of the top InsurTech startups in the country and to participate as mentors and help to shape the startups’ business and product evolution. The GIA notes that investors also enjoy exposure to the newest industry-specific technology trends ahead of competitors, and, are therefore better able to evaluate future engagement with, and potential investment in, emerging technologies.