(Photo credit: Hakilon.)
The FinTech Innovation Lab New York, a 12-week program co-founded by Accenture (New York) and the Partnership Fund for New York City (New York), has launched an InsurTech track to meet rising demand for innovation among insurers and increasing numbers of entrepreneurs developing new solutions for the insurance industry. The co-founders describe the The FinTech Innovation Lab as a program for entrepreneurs that are developing disruptive, pioneering enterprise technologies for the financial services sector.
The FinTech Innovation Lab is sponsored by senior technology leadership from the financial sector and helps early- and growth-stage FinTech companies accelerate product and business development, according to the founding organizations, which invite FinTech and InsurTech companies to apply for a spot in the 2018 class at www.fintechinnovationlabnyc.com. Applications are due by December 1, 2017, and an information session will be held for applicants on November 8.
Investment in North American FinTech innovations for the insurance sector is outpacing investments around the globe, according to Accenture’s analysis of CB Insights data. More than $7 billion has been invested in InsurTech globally through more than 700 deals since 2010, with $5.4 billion invested from 2015 through the first half of 2017 alone. North America remains the largest market for InsurTech investment, securing 83 percent ($1.35 billion) of all global investment dollars and 60 percent (128) of all global deals in 2016. In the first half of 2017, North America continues on a steady trajectory, with more than $600 million in InsurTech investment funding for 46 deals, Accenture reports.
The FinTech Innovation Lab’s new InsurTech track’s organizers are specifically looking for technology companies developing solutions that leverage new sources of data and artificial intelligence (AI) for underwriting/claims; automate business processes; enable new distribution models and products; address emerging/underserved risks; tackle core infrastructure tools, and use blockchain for insurance, according to a statement from the founders.
The Lab also seeks innovations in data and analytics, including AI-driven predictive and visualization tools, alternative data sources; credit/underwriting tools; digital client engagement; employee engagement/HR; enterprise DevOps and multichannel deployment; RegTech; security; blockchain for smart contracts; virtual/augmented reality, and wealth management tools, according to the statement.
‘InsurTech Is Next’
“The new InsurTech track of the FinTech Innovation Lab provides a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to engage with senior executives at some of the largest insurance companies that are actively looking for new technology to transform their businesses,” comments Maria Gotsch, President and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City and co-founder of the Lab. “The willingness of our corporate and investment partners to mentor and provide substantive product feedback to cutting-edge entrepreneurs has been an important driver in the growth of jobs and economic activity in New York City’s FinTech sector. InsurTech is next.”
Accenture and the Partnership Fund explain that chief technology officers and senior technology executives from the 38 participating financial institutions will select up to 10 of the applying Fintech companies to participate in the Lab through a competitive process.
Among requirements for applicants is that they must have at least a working beta version of their technology that is ready to be tested for either the institutional or retail market. The Lab, which begins in April 2018, will partner the selected fintech entrepreneurs with senior-level bank and insurance executives, who will help them fine-tune and develop their technologies and business strategies through a series of workshops, panel discussions, user-group sessions, networking opportunities, one-on-one meetings, and presentations. The Lab culminates in June 2018 with Demo Day, a presentation by this year’s cohort to an audience of venture capitalists and financial industry executives, which will be hosted at the Bank of America Tower at Bryant Park.
“FinTech innovation has become embedded in the strategic plans for financial institutions looking to compete – not only with tech giants but also with incumbents, as they strive to provide the best and most relevant experiences to consumers,” comments David Treat, a managing director in Financial Services, Accenture, which co-founded the Lab. “The Lab has a unique role in helping make that possible by helping the industry identify innovations that can automatically improve services and efficiencies. We look forward to helping this year’s class develop a new round of innovations in 2018.”
“Whether it’s through AI, IoT, blockchain or big data, insurers recognize that they need to increase their pace of innovation, and fintech represents an opportunity to make that happen,” says John Cusano, a senior managing director in Accenture’s Insurance practice. “As investment in insurtech continues to gain momentum, the New York FinTech Innovation Lab is at the forefront of providing mentoring and guidance to ventures targeting the insurance industry.”
Selection Committee for 2018
Of the 39 participating financial institutions providing mentoring and guidance, the following will serve on the selection committee for this year’s applicants: Ally Financial; American Express; American International Group, Inc.; Bank of America; Barclays; BlackRock; Capital One; Citi; Credit Suisse; Deutsche Bank; Goldman Sachs; The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America; JPMorgan Chase & Co; Morgan Stanley; New York Life; and Wells Fargo. In addition to the aforementioned long-supporting companies, new insurance partners include: The Hartford, Marsh & McLennan Companies, MetLife, XL Catlin and Zurich Insurance. Supporting venture-capital firms include Bain Capital Ventures, Canaan Partners, Contour Venture Partners, Nyca Partners, Rho Ventures, RRE Ventures and Warburg Pincus.
Since its founding in 2010, the New York FinTech Innovation Lab has provided entrepreneurs from 47 technology companies with mentoring and access to more than 35 leading bank CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, venture capitalists and technology luminaries. Previous participants have created nearly 500 jobs and have raised more than $510 million in venture financing after participating in the program; four participants have been acquired.