Hartford Insurtech Hub Gives 10 Startups Shots at Partnerships with Insurers

April 23, 2018

Emerging from a 10-week accelerator program, 10 technology-powered insurance startups presented their ideas for enhanced customer engagement, cyber security, digital health, smart home products and supply chain management at the first annual Demo Day sponsored by Hartford InsurTech Hub last week.

The startups, which were chosen from more than 1,000 applicants worldwide, completed a 10-week program during which they worked with insurance and technology experts to develop their ideas. They were rewarded with $25,000 each, along with mentorship, partnership and pilot opportunities with leading insurance carriers within the Hartford community.

Several of the startups have decided to establish offices in Hartford.

This was the Hartford insurance community’s first accelerator. “Hartford was the insurance capital of the world for a long time. We are about bringing the next generation of risk takers to Hartford for the next gen center of insurtech innovation in the country and world going forward,” remarked Mayor Luke Bronin as he shared his vision for the city’s new insurtech ecosystem.

Travelers is among the carrier active in the program. “Innovation is critical to remaining competitive and relevant, and the insurtech accelerator in Hartford is an exciting endeavor. It’s already infused new ideas into our industry that we believe will, ultimately, benefit insurance consumers,” said Beth Maerz, vice president of Customer Experience and Innovation for Personal Insurance at Travelers.

Maerz said Travelers has been experimenting with a number of startups in this process whose “high level of engagement and the potential to quickly develop concepts into viable products and services in such a short period of time is impressive and encouraging.”

A recent analysis of insurtech locations by Carrier Management and Venture Scanner found that Hartford has work to do to reclaim the title as insurance capital. With insurance technology companies launching in the U.S. in places like Silicon Valley, New York and Chicago, and abroad in London, Singapore and Shanghai, it’s not clear that any one city can claim the honor.

Venture Scanner’s data shows London, New York and San Francisco have the highest number of insurtechs. Based on concentrations of funding dollars, London sinks to 12th place, with Palo Alto and San Francisco, Calif., commanding the two top spots—each with over $2 billion. Hartford is not among the leaders in the number of insurtechs or in the amount of funding.

(While Hartford and the state of Connecticut may not be insurtech leaders, a 2017 report by PwC and the Connecticut Insurance & Financial Services Initiative (2017 Connecticut Insurance Market Brief: Ready Set Innovate) describes a history of insurance for startups’ consideration. For example, Connecticut ranked third in the U.S. in direct written premiums in 2016, with 1,449 insurance companies and the state ranks first nationally in insurance carrier employment as a percentage of total employment (2.6 percent). Connecticut also has the highest concentration of actuaries in the U.S.)

Hartord’s Newest 10

The 10 startups that emerged from the first Hartford accelerator — all of which are looking for additional funding and partnerships with insurers— are:

Aureus Analytics
Country of Origin: India
Founders: Anurag Shah, CEO; Ashish Tanna, COO; Nitin Purohit, CTO
Established: 2013
Description: Aureus is a customer intelligence and experience company that enables insurance carriers, brokers, and MGAs to deliver superior customer experience, leading to greater retention, loyalty, and lifetime value. Aureus does this using predictive analytics and machine learning to deliver insights in simple English at the point of decision. “Our solution improves conversations by analyzing and visualizing the journey of every customer to measure sentiment, understand them better, predict behavior and deliver decisions in simple English.” Aureus Analytics announced a pilot with Travelers and a second large insurer, and is establishing an office in Hartford.

Boundlss
Country of Origin: Australia
Founders: Mike Kruger, CEO; Jonah Cacioppe, Director
Established: 2016
Description: Boundlss accelerates insurance company transformation from payers to long term preventative health partners. The artificial intelligence (AI) health and conversation platform uses biosensor data and artificial intelligence to deliver scalable fitness and wellness programs through a unique, blended AI-human conversational experience. Its AI health assistant and conversational platform helps insurers deliver highly engaging, scalable preventative health, sales and claims conversations. Boundlss developed virtual health coach, Cleo, while in Hartford specifically to aid in workers’ compensation by “speeding up the claims process and getting workers back to work faster” through daily interaction and “inspiring kick in the butt personal coach nudging.” Boundlss launched its first pilot with Travelers and is now hiring in Hartford.

Pentation Analytics
Country of Origin: India
Founders: Anirban Roy, Director & CEO; Kamal K. Das, Director & COO
Established: 2015
Description: Pentation Analytics is a big data analytics company that enables insurers and intermediaries to better engage with policyholders by providing predictive intelligence and process automation tools to address the core insurance use-cases of increasing retention, cross-sales and optimizing claims. Pentation’s solution provides “customer level intelligence for timely interventions and service.” By providing agents and carriers insights into what is going on within the customer base, staff can prioritize and interact with policyholders with a “clear view of the road ahead.” The startup is currently solidifying two pilots with Connecticut-based carriers and is establishing an office in Hartford.

Rozie AI
Country of Origin: United States
Founders: Dr. Sudha Meghan
Established: 2016
Description: Rozie AI offers an AI platform to design personalized customer engagement and robust business intelligence services for insurers of all sizes. The product is designed to deliver reasoned responses to customers, automating simple customer questions while simultaneously enabling customer service representatives with contextual knowledge and proactive care and engagement guidance. Conversations are designed with the human brain in mind with a goal of helping insurers “build lasting relationships with their customers and engage in a manner that always remembers the narrative.” Rozie AI has collaborated with both CIGNA and Travelers on special projects and is currently working with Crawford.

SecureHome
Country of Origin: United States
Founders: Khurram Chaudry, CEO; Salim Ajmeri, COO
Established: 2017
Description: SecureHome’s technology provides protection against cyber criminals attacking smart homes and small offices. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning the product can accurately pinpoint abnormalities on all devices connected to the network. With SecureHome, insurers can launch new personal lines of business for cyber protection, proactively manage their payout risks for property/casualty policies, and collect key smart home data while delivering value to consumers very early in the customer acquisition cycle. Proof of concept is being finalized with three insurance carriers.

StaTwig
Country of Origin: Singapore
Founders: Sid Chakravarthy
Established: 2016
Description: StaTwig employs blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) technology to provide real-time, tamper-proof, end-to-end tracking that identifies problems and inefficiencies in any supply chain. With direct access to real time data for shipment tracking,through smart contracts, insurers can trace shipments for proof of losses and offer risk reduction service. Using blockchain, StaTwig envisions a solution for auto insurance as well.

TrueDime
Country of Origin: United States
Founders: Kaushik Tiwari, CEO; Saumik Tewari, CTO
Established: 2016
Description: TrueDime provides self-employed individuals – including freelancers, sole proprietors and small business owners – with a benefits platform that meets their unique needs. The free application’s primary objective is to provide ease in invoicing and accepting payment with the added feature to offer gig-applicable insurance that meets the needs of the user. Gathering analytics on the user enables the insurer to customize the policy offered. TrueDime offers a new channel to reach the “less motivated, scattered market” where the firms says 47 percent of the Millennials are now working.

Ubios
Country of Origin: Canada
Founders: Mathieu Lachaîne, CEO; Daniel Landry, Eng. Dir.
Established: n/a
Description: Ubios’ smart solution integrates IoT with AI to automate a building’s water security and energy usage. Individual smart valves installed at each water main within a multi-unit building, control and monitor water usage. Partnerships with insurers will result in improved claims experience and guaranteed protection for property owners and their tenants. Lloyd’s has recognized the business model.

ViewSpection
Country of Origin: United States
Founders: Jim Gardner, CEO; Liz Murray Carrier & Agency Relations
Established: 2012
Description: ViewSpection is an app and web platform that enables a policyholder to perform his/her own property inspection, and then delivers a detailed, interior property survey to an agent or carrier within days, compared to weeks using the traditional loss control inspection model. Beyond delivering a faster, more cost effective inspection report, ViewSpection creates a deeper connection between the carrier, agent and the policyholder, involving them in the process and removing friction. Offering inspections at 20 percent of the cost of traditional inspections, the product offers a “new touch point” for insurers to connect with their policyholders to discuss valuables and property issues not captured by the paid inspector in a much shorter time frame. ViewSpection has secured pilots with multiple insurance companies in the area.

Yaxa
Country of Origin: United States
Founders: Kalpesh Sheth, CEO; Ramesh Gupta, CTO
Established: 2012
Description: Yaxa provides a real-time risk monitoring and threat remediation platform for enterprises seeking to actively detect and block malicious behavior. Yaxa provides protection against user behavior driven threats by understanding the individual user’s normal data access patterns (file activities, login time, data base, ssh, web apps etc.) and taking automatic action when users deviate from past patterns. Yaxa solution has utility for insurers to understand the client’s cyber risk from inside, before underwriting cyber insurance policy for better risk and loss control. Two program partners are in the pipeline for pilots.

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