University of Iowa Partners with the GIA to Develop Early-Stage InsurTechs           

The University’s Tippie College of Business will work with the Global Insurance Accelerator to share insurance expertise and entrepreneurial knowledge with startups.

(Image source: Tippie College of Business homepage.)

The University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business has announced a partnership with the Des Moines-based Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA) aimed at developing innovative new insurance technology businesses, the latest step in its ongoing support of the state’s insurance industry.

Amy Kristof-Brown, Dean, Tippie College of Business.

“This partnership will help support entrepreneurial ventures in insurance technology to help strengthen an industry that’s vital to the Iowa economy,” comments Amy Kristof-Brown, dean of the Tippie College of Business. “We are bringing our insurance expertise and entrepreneurial knowledge to help develop this important industry.”

“We’re looking forward to tapping into the resources that Tippie can offer our start-ups, and at the same time provide experiential learning opportunities that University of Iowa students can’t get anywhere else,” says Jim Lewis, a director of the GIA.

The partnership is the latest in Tippie’s expanding connections to the state’s insurance industry. The college says it will start a new risk management and insurance major this fall. The institution is also a part of the Insure Your Future program with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, which gives Iowa students an opportunity to intern with insurance companies in the state.

Now entering its 10th year, the GIA selects and hosts six to 10 startup businesses in a 100-day program that provides a $50,000 investment and key insight from a powerful ecosystem of insurance professionals and other alumni founders who provide advice and connections to their future customers. Lewis characterizes the Accelerator as focusing on insurance technology businesses that will push the industry forward and prepare it for the future.

Jim Lewis, Alumni Director, Global Insurance Accelerator.

Lewis adds that the incubator has spun out 65 companies from around the world that now employ thousands of people. The next cohort runs from January to April 2024 and online applications open in July.

The entrepreneurs in the GIA will be able to tap the college’s expertise in risk management and insurance through the Vaughan Institute of Risk Management and Insurance and entrepreneurial expertise through the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center(Iowa JPEC).

Lewis says the college’s resources will be especially useful because the start-ups in the accelerator often need help that students can provide during internships and class projects. For example, a business may need market research that they don’t have the capital to do on their own that can be helped by Tippie’s student-staffed Marketing Institute.

Helping Founders Fill Key Gaps

Dave Wingert, EVP, COO, Grinnell Mutual.

“The resources of the Tippie College of Business, the Vaughan Institute and Iowa JPEC will help our founders fill some of the key gaps to speed up the validation of product market fit,” comments Dave Wingert, EVP, Grinnell Mutual Insurance and GIA board chair. “The insurance industry needs bold ideas, innovative teams and a new generation of employees. This opens the eyes of the future talent pool to the InsurTech industry that is making the world safer and smarter.”

“We’re thrilled to be involved with this organization that is truly putting the state of Iowa at the epicenter of the InsurTech industry and we look forward to supporting so many of these ventures,” says Kristof-Brown.

Global Insurance Accelerator and State of Iowa Collaborate to Improve Insurance

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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