Hartford, Connecticut has a big insurance industry and its mayor Luke Bronin wants to keep it that way. That’s why he is attending Insurtech Connect 2018.
“We’ve been home to many insurance companies for over a hundred years,” he said.
Bronin is looking to connect with executives from big insurance companies, of course. But he and his colleagues, like Michelle Cote, Managing Director for the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, are also looking to promote the city as a great place for insuretch start-ups and later stage companies. Oliver Wyman had a chance to sit down with Luke at ITC 2018 to find out more on how he's expanding the insurance ecosystem in Hartford.
Last year, the mayor’s office collaborated with several insurance companies, including Cigna, Travelers and The Hartford Financial Services Group, to create the Hartford Insurtech Hub . It’s a three-month program where ten insuretch companies are awarded $25,000, free workspace for five months, and access to local insurance executives and regulators.
“We have program mentors, who have been in the industry for 20, 30 or even 40 years,” said Bronin. So far the program has accepted 20 companies into the hub - ten each year. And in 2019 it hopes to double that and include 20 companies in the program. This year six Hartford Insurtech Hub companies were represented in the ITC Expo Hall: SecureHome, Pentation Analytics,
Boundless, Rozie AI, Yaxa and Aureus Analytics. Boundless, for example, has artificial intelligence that provides healthcare coaching through smart phones. The company was an obvious fit for Cigna, which specializes in health insurance, but it turns out that Travelers developed an interest in the company, too. Travelers saw a use for the technology in the world of workman’s compensation.
“When workers are on disability, their daily routine changes. There is no intellectual stimulation or social interaction,” said Cote, adding that the virtual coach can reduce some of the effect of isolation and help people get back to health more quickly.
Pentation Analytics is another great example of a Hartford Insurance Hub company. A data analytics company from India, Pentation helps insurers learn more about their customers, specifically if they were pleased with their insurance products and if they might be interested in the carriers’ other offerings. But because regulations are different in India and the US, the hub has hooked them up with local regulators who can explain the legal hurdles the company may face.
As the busy two days at ITC showed, insuretech has become a focusing force for disparate players across the insurance and technology ecosystems. Add the component of collaboration with an energetic Mayor and a city steeped in insurance experience, and you have a truly fascinating combination.